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India bows out in semi-final stage

After stunning host, Malaysia to take on top seed Egypt in Squash World Cup final

India bows out in semi-final stage

CHENNAI: India bowed out of the Squash World Cup in the semi-final stage after it suffered a disappointing 0-3 defeat at the hands of Malaysia in the second last-four tie at the Express Avenue mall here on Friday.

Host India, seeded second, was rattled by fourth seed Malaysia, which set up a title decider date with pre-tournament favourite Egypt. Top seed Egypt was too hot to handle in the first semi-final tie, thrashing the third-seeded Japan by a 4-0 scoreline.

In the second semi-final tie, Sai Hung Ong put the ‘visitor’ 1-0 ahead by edging out Abhay Singh 3-2 in the first match that was closely contested. The Malaysian, who took a 1-0 game lead but was behind 1-2 later in the match, kept his cool when the players were locked at 6-6 (sudden death match ball) in the decider.

Malaysia piled more misery on India as Aira Azman defeated Joshna Chinappa 3-1 to give the ‘tourist’ a 2-0 advantage in the match. Veteran and local hope Joshna, who played a vital role in India’s comeback against Japan in the group stage on Thursday, could not bring the host back on track this time.

The crowd that assembled in and around the central atrium was in for more shock, with Darren Pragasam wrapping up the contest for Malaysia with a 3-1 win over the higher-ranked Saurav Ghosal.

While Saurav equalised at the end of the second game, the 36-year-old, sporting heavy strapping on his right knee, could not keep pace with Pragasam as the match progressed.

After clinching victory, Pragasam said: “Saurav is one of the best Asian players to have graced the sport. He was not at his best tonight (Friday), but fought till the end. I would like to thank the crowd for coming out in large numbers.”

Earlier in the day, Egypt lived up to its billing by clean sweeping Japan. Teenager Fayrouz Aboelkheir stole the show as she defeated higher-ranked Satomi Watanabe in straight games.

Speaking after giving Egypt a 2-0 lead in the tie, the 17-year-old Fayrouz said: “I am really happy with the huge win. I want to thank my coach Mohamed Elkeiy. He is the one behind it all. Before the match, he asked me to keep things simple and concentrate well.”

Egypt will head into the summit clash, scheduled at 2 pm IST on Saturday, as the overwhelming favourite and is expected to retain the coveted title it had won 12 years ago at the same city.

RESULTS:Semi-finals: Malaysia bt India 3-0 (Sai Hung Ong bt Abhay Singh 7-4, 5-7, 1-7, 7-1, 7-6; Aira Azman bt Joshna Chinappa 7-3, 7-3, 5-7, 7-4; Darren Pragasam bt Saurav Ghosal 7-5, 2-7, 7-6, 7-5; there was no match between Xin Ying Yee and Tanvi Khanna). Egypt bt Japan 4-0 (Karim El Hammamy bt Tomotaka Endo 7-1, 7-6, 7-2; Fayrouz Aboelkheir bt Satomi Watanabe 7-5, 7-2, 7-2; Aly Abou Eleinen bt Ryunosuke Tsukue 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-5; Kenzy Ayman bt Akari Midorikawa 7-3, 7-4)

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