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Good day for Indians

In a clash of Indian heavyweights, second seed Saurav Ghosal beat tenth seed Vikram Malhotra 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 to move into the semi-finals of the 19th Asian Squash Championship at the Express Avenue Mall here on Friday. Ghosal will meet fifth seed Leo Au of Hong Kong in the semi-final on Saturday. This will be Ghosal’s first semi-final appearance at an Asian individual championship.

Good day for Indians
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Joshna Chinappa (right) plays a shot against Misaki Kobayashi in the Asian Squash Championship

Chennai

In the women’s section, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa too moved into the semi-finals capping a good day for India. It was Ghosal who set the tempo in the first game by racing to an 8-1 lead, but Vikram bounced back in style with delicate returns and neat smashes. He stretched Ghosal and increased the tempo of the game to draw close at 9-7 but Ghosal outsmarted Vikram with good drop shots to take the first game at 11-7. 

At one point, Ghosal showed his sportsman sprit to turn down a point after the referees made a wrong call and awarded a point to him. 

Vikram showed good intent in the second game to lead 5-3 but Ghosal drew level at 6-6, with some power hitting. He repeatedly placed the ball to the backhand corner on the left of the court making it difficult for Vikram to receive. The second seeded Indian upped the ante and wrapped the game 11-7 to take a 2-0 lead. Vikram was left wanting in all departments of the game as Ghosal completed the proceedings with ease.

Joshna Chinappa beat Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi 11-7, 11-3, 9-11, 12-10 to move into the semi-finals. Joshna took from where she left off in her thirdround match against Jemyca Aribado and looked aggressive as the game went on. Joshna raced to a 9-3 lead and before Kobayashi could catch up with the highest ranked Indian, Joshna wrapped up the first game. The second game too proved to be a cakewalk for the Indian. 

However, Kobayashi came back strong to take the third game and surprised Joshna who looked out of sorts. Her returns fell short and her timing wasn’t good too. Kobayashi ran Joshna close till 10-10 in the fourth game but Joshna held her nerve to advance. 

Earlier, the women’s top seed Annie Au demolished Satomi Watanabe 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 to storm into the semi-final. In the men’s group Malaysia Mohammed Nafiizwan and fifth seed Leo Au moved into the last four in gruelling four-game matches. Nafiizwan was made to sweat by compatriot Yuen Chee Wern 11-9, 116, 6-11, 16-14 while Au beat Yip Tsz Fung’s 10-12, 12-10, 11-6, 11-4. 

Dipika Pallikal Karthik entered the semi-finals with a 11-3, 11-6, 11-6 win over Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz Ling. The Hong Kong’s fifth seed looked all at bay to Dipika’s game and the Indian will meet the top seed Au in the semi-finals.

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