Ankita Sharma and R. Lakshya were engaged in a fierce ‘physical' battle in June this year during the selection trials for the World junior squash championship in Boston, USA.
In a match that decided the fourth player for the team event, the two played too close to each other's comfort resulting in minor injuries to both. While Lakshya injured her jaw, Ankita suffered a cracked lip. Incidentally, Ankita went on to win.
“It was like two wild horses competing on court,” recalled Lakshya.
Not as intense
The women's quarterfinal contest between the two players in the 59th senior National squash championships at the Indian Squash Academy was neither as ‘physical' nor as intense.
Ankita of Maharashtra overcame the Tamil Nadu girl 3-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 to set up a semifinal clash with top-seeded Dipika Pallikal.
Lakshya was confidence personified in the first game where she hit winners from the backcourt and produced neat drop shots. The 16-year-old was quick on her feet and her shot selection was spot on.
Ankita (3/4 seed) started to find her rhythm in the second game. Not the best of movers on court, the 18-year-old used her variations on the forehand and backhand to good effect. Lakshya, on her part, committed far too many unforced errors on service returns, hitting many shots at the tin.
Aparajitha Balamurukan (3/4 seed) of Tamil Nadu briefly lost her concentration, but found her bearings to beat Statemate Saai Meera 11-13, 11-4, 11-3, 11-2. Aparajitha will face Anaka Alankamony. The second seed continued her impressive run, defeating Mayuri 11-3, 11-0, 11-2.
In the lone upset of the day, Ravi Dixit (5/8 seed) of Tamil Nadu put it across Mahesh Mangaonkar (3/4 seed) from Maharashtra 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 in 41 minutes and will now meet top-seeded Saurav Ghosal.
Siddharth Suchde of Maharashtra, the second seed, quietly moved into the semifinals with a 14-12, 11-7, 11-0 victory over Sandeep Jangra (Services). Siddharth will meet Harinder Pal Sandhu, who scripted a convincing 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 win over Gaurav Nandrajog.
The results (quarterfinals):
Men: Ravi Dixit (TN) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (Mah) 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8; Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Karan Malik (TN) 11-4, 11-4, 11-2; Harinder Pal Sandhu (TN) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (Del) 11-6, 11-9, 11-3; Siddharth Suchde (Mah) bt Sandeep Jangra (Ser) 14-12, 11-7, 11-0.
Women: Dipika Pallikal (TN) bt Tanvi Khanna (Del) 11-2, 11-1, 11-3; Ankita Sharma (Mah) bt R. Lakshya (TN) 3-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3; Aparajitha Balamurukan (TN) bt Saai Meera (TN) 11-13, 11-4, 11-3, 11-2; Anaka Alankamony (TN) bt Mayuri (TN) 11-3, 11-0, 11-2.
Keywords: World junior squash championship