India's quest for a good women's doubles combination for the Commonwealth Games to be held later this year touched a positive note with the country's top two players, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, winning an exciting final in the ESR International doubles competition held in Manchester on Wednesday.
In what turned out to be a sensational day's play, the Indian pair beat the experienced Australian duo of Kasey Brown and Donna Urquhart 11-10, 3-11, 11-10 in a 72-minute thriller. That the Indians clinched two games via sudden-death reflected the intensity of the contest.
Though the Aussies dominated for most part, the Indians played the big points better. Dipika was particularly sharp in the decider with her ability to find the nick consistently.
On Tuesday, the Indian duo upset top seeds and World No. 3 Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters 6-11, 11-8, 11-4 for a place in the summit round. The English pair had won a medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
In the quarterfinals, Joshna and Dipika defeated another strong English pair of Dominic Lloyd Waters and Laura Briggs 11-4, 11-9. Joshna's flawless backhand and Dipika's perfect supporting role were the highlights of this encounter.
The competition was basically to gain valuable practice for players of various countries with the Commonwealth Games in mind. The other players in the Indian contingent were Saurav Ghosal, Siddharth Suchde, Harinder Pal Singh, Ritwik Bhattacharya, Gaurav Nandrajog and Sandeep Jangra. Major S. Maniam was the coach.
Joshna and Dipika shone in the mixed doubles competition too. Joshna, partnering Harinder Pal, reached the semifinals while the Chennai Open winners, Dipika and Saurav, made it to the quarterfinals.
Other results: Women (semifinals): Kasey Brown & Donna Urquhart (Aus) bt Tania Bailey & Sarah Kippax (Eng) 11-5, 11-8; Quarterfinals: Jenny Duncalf & Alison Waters (Eng) bt Frania Gillen-Buchert & Lisa Aitken (Sco) 11-4, 9-11, 11-3; Joshna Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter & Lauren Briggs (Eng) 11-4, 11-10; Kasey Brown & Donna Urquhart bt Amelia Pittock & Lisa Camilleri (Aus) 11-8, 11-8; Tania Bailey & Sarah Kippax bt Melody Francis & Jaclyn Hawkes (Aus) 11-3, 11-5.
Men (semifinals): Nick Matthew & Adrian Grant (Eng) bt Cameron Pilley & Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 11-7, 11-8; David Palmer & Stewart Boswell (Aus) bt Alan Clyne & Harry Leitch (Sco) 11-5, 11-3; Quarterfinals: Nick Matthew & Adrian Grant bt Saurav Ghosal & Harinder Pal Sandhu (Ind) 11-2, 11-5.
Mixed doubles (semifinals): Alison Waters & Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Nicol David & Ong Beng Hee (Mas) 11-9, 8-11, 11-8; Jenny Duncalf & James Willstrop (Eng) bt Joshna Chinappa & Harinder Pal Sandhu (Ind) 11-4, 11-2; Quarterfinals: Alison Waters & Nick Matthew bt Dipika Pallikal & Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 11-9, 11-10; Joshna Chinappa & Harinder Pal Sandhu bt Melody Francis & Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 9-11, 11-5, 11-7.