Maharashtra’s Abhishek Pradhan edged Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (Tamil Nadu) 3-2 in a riveting men’s singles semi-final contest to sit one step away from glory in the ongoing 77th SRFI Senior National Squash Championships.
In the Abhishek-Harinder duel, the former blinked first, comfortably pocketing the opening game 11-6. Experience mattered little for the 26-year-old from Mumbai, who gained a 2-0 lead with a thrilling 12-10 success in the following game. Put behind, Harinder was furious with himself and a few on-court calls but turned the match on its head.
In the third and fourth games, the Tamil Nadu representative came out on top in the crucial points, much to the delight of the home fans. Just when it looked like all the momentum was on Harinder’s side, Abhishek delivered when it mattered the most, clinching the final game 11-7 to enter the summit clash.
In the women’s section, top seed Joshna Chinappa (Tamil Nadu) and Delhi’s Tanvi Khanna made it to the title decider in contrasting styles. While Joshna sent youngster Sanya Vats (Delhi) packing in straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-4), Tanvi defeated second-seeded local lass Sunayna Kuruvilla (Tamil Nadu) 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10 in another nail-biter.
Tanya and Sunayna, both of whom were part of India’s silver-winning team at the 2018 Asian Games, traded blows to win two games each after the conclusion of four. With the stage set for a frenetic finish, Tanvi outwitted her rival by the finest of margins to seal a berth in the women’s singles final.
Results: Semi-finals: Men: Saurav Ghosal , TN, beat Abhay Singh [5/8], TN 11-9, 11-1, 11-8; Abhishek Pradhan , MH, beat Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu [3/4], TN, 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7.
Women: Joshna Chinappa , TN, beat Sanya Vats [5/8], DL, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4; Tanvi Khanna [3/4], DL, beat Sunayna Kuruvilla , TN, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10.