Third-seeded Saurav Ghosal marched into the semifinals of the Asian squash championships, ousting a couple of Pakistan players even as three Indian men fell by the wayside.
He will meet the top seed, Malaysia's Mohd. Azlan, in the semifinals. The second men's semifinal will be an all-Pakistan affair between Aamir Atlas Khan and Yasir Ali Butt.
Playing at the Indian Squash Academy here on Sunday, Saurav took care of Waqar Mehboob in the morning, winning 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 in a 35-minute pre-quarterfinal.
Later, in the evening, it was time for Farhan Mehboob, who was shown the door in the quarterfinals as Saurav played consistently above the level of his opponent. Farhan sulked over a few calls in the third game, but all he had to blame was an erring backhand that hit the tin more times than not.
Meanwhile, the remainder of India's spine in the men's tournament cracked as Ritwik Bhattacharya, Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Siddharth Suchde went down in their respective last-16 clashes.
Suchde, in fact, frittered away a two-game advantage against Malaysian Mohd. Nafiizwan to lose in five games spread across almost two hours on court.
The men's and women's top-seeds and defending champions — Mohd. Azlan and Nicol David — also reached the last four.
Azlan saved multiple gameballs in the first and third game against Kuwaiti southpaw Abdulla Almezayen before wangling a 13-11, 11-7, 12-10 win. In the last quarterfinal, Yasir Ali Butt caused a major stir by upsetting second-seeded Ong Beng Hee 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9.
In the women's event, Nicol David set up a semifinal against local lass Dipika Pallikal, who removed Japan's Misaki Kobayashi from contention in just over half-hour.
Nicol had an even easier outing, against an opponent ranked 45 places below her, needing just 24 minutes to beat Korea's Song Sun Mi 11-4, 11-7, 11-7.
The other women's semifinal will be played between compatriots — Rebecca Chiu and Joey Chan of Hong Kong. Chiu, ranked 18, sweated through four games on Sunday before putting it across India's Joshna Chinappa, who was outclassed barring a spirited resurgence in the second game.
The results: Men: Quarterfinals: Mohd. Azlan (Mas) bt Abdulla Almezayen (Kuw) 13-11, 11-7, 12-10; Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Farhan Mehboob (Pak) 11-7, 11-1, 11-7; Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Mohd. Nafizwan (Mas) 12-10, 11-8, 11-5; Yasir Ali Butt (Pak) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas) 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9.
Pre-quarterfinals: Ong Beng Hee (Mas) bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind) 11-7, 11-8, 11-6; Yasir Ali Butt (Pak) bt Harinderpal Singh Sandhu 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7; Mohd. Nafizwan (Mas) bt Siddharth Suchde (Ind) 11-13, 11-13, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8; Farhan Mehboob (Pak) bt Ivan Yuen (Mas) 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8; Abdulla Almezayen (Kuw) bt Max Lee (Hkg) bt 11-7, 11-6, 11-4; Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) bt Dick Lau (HKG) 11-5, 11-6, 12-10; Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Waqar Mehboob (Pak) 11-9, 11-5, 11-5; Mohd. Azlan (Mas) bt Anson Kwong (HKG) 11-2, 11-4, 11-2.
Women's: Quarterfinals: Nicol David (Mas) bt Song Sun Mi (Kor) 11-4, 11-7, 11-7; Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 12-10, 11-8, 11-6; Rebecca Chiu (HKG) bt Joshna Chinappa (Ind) 11-5, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6; Joey Chan (HKG) bt Delia Arnold (Mas) 11-4, 11-4, 11-6.