Dipika Pallikal's scintillating show is the host's bright spot
After Dipika Pallikal provided a ray of hope for host India with a scintillating display, much depended on crisis man Ramit Tandon. But he couldn't deliver and Egypt scripted a 2-1 to win the final of the SDAT-WSF U-21 World Cup squash at the Express Avenue mall here on Sunday.
Ramit played his heart out against the cool Karim Abdel Gawad, even grabbing a game in a match that was tense right through.
The ability to win the big points helped the Egyptian while Ramit could provide only flashes of brilliance to keep the gathering in high spirits.
In the end as the points went neck and neck at a painstakingly slow pace it seemed a never ending wait before Ramit failed to clear the tin and Gawad hands went up in joy.
Earlier, Dipika lived up to expectations as India's highest ranked player.
Playing for the first time before the home crowd as World number 14, the Indian started off in a flash against the former World junior champion Nour El Sherbini, who leaves little room for exploitation.
But soon Dipika seemed to lose steam as the steady Egyptian, gaining in confidence and strength, raced away to a two games to one lead.
The drama began there as trailing 6-10 and a point away from losing the match, the Indian discovered her form and resilience.
Clawing back, she put self-doubts into her rival's mind and what happened thereafter was the stuff of dreams. Dipika saved five match points, four on the trot to grab the game and did not look back.
The arena was packed. Every inch inside was occupied even as many spectators stood around. In addition many shoppers were milling around on the various floors of the multi-tiered building.
The ambience was perfect and the host too needed the vocal support; after all this was the first time that India was featuring in a title-match of a world-level championship.
Ravi Dixit showed the tenseness of the occasion and against a wily opponent like Marwan El Shorbagy that did not help. The Egyptian did not rush like Dixit who was intent on keeping the rally going and hoping for his rival to make mistakes.
The lanky Shorbagy showed his reach and anticipation aside from his racket skills in frustrating the Indian. Each time Dixit started with the lead only to surrender it later. Shorbagy, a past master at finding the corners or getting the nicks, left Dixit in despair in the end.
In the tie for the third place, England made amends for the loss in the league phase to put it across France 2-0.
A redeeming feature was the win of Charles Sharpes over easily the best player of the tournament Lucas Serme in five games, the longest match till date.
Emily Whitlock then kept her slate clean with another win to finish off undefeated. Her effort helped England wrap up the tie.
The results: Final: Egypt bt India 2-1 (Marwan El Shorbagy bt Ravi Dixit 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7; Nour El Sherbini lost to Dipika Pallikal 11-7, 4-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-5; Karim Abdel Gawad bt Ramit Tandon 12-10, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8).
Third place: England bt France 2-0 (Charles Sharpes bt Lucas Serme 14-12, 7-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6; Emily Whitlock bt Cyrielle Peltier 11-5, 11-7, 11-7).