India capped off their impressive run in the Women’s World Junior Team Squash Championship with a seventh-place finish, defeating New Zealand 2-1 in the classification match at the Hasta La Vista Club in Wroclaw, Poland.
Lakshya Ragavendran clinched the issue for the sixth seed India after twice coming from behind to overcome Kiwi Rebecca Barnett in the decider on the final day of the biennial World Squash Federation event which featured more than 160 players from a record 37 nations.
Indian girls found the perfect way to bury the ghosts of Friday’s tight loss against Canada, edging a close and well-fought tie against the eighth seed New Zealand in the final game of the decider.
Sachika Ingale was stung by an incredible turn-around from Abbie Palmer but Harshit and Lakshya ensured there was no repeat of the previous match in sealing a decisive win for the Indians.
Sachika was first up on court against Abbie Palmer.
She dominated the exchanges from the word go and hardly conceded a point to the Kiwi youngster.
Sachika bagged the first two games for the loss of just five points and looked set for an easy win. Palmer, who has been lethargic in the first two games, responded to the dire situation with gusto, running down everything and playing some exceptional shots to win the third game and get herself a foothold in the match.
Sachika took a 5-2 lead in the fourth but that was as good as it got for the Indian No.3 as Palmer saved her best for the last and left the Indian shell-shocked in stealing the match 3-2. Palmer only dropped three points in the final game that put New Zealand 1-0 up in the tie.
India’s top junior, Harshit Kaur once again demonstrated her growing maturity in using short kills and drops to make the lanky Eleanor bend for her shots and stretched the Kiwi to all corners of the court.