Malaysian men stop the Indians in last four
The Indian women reached the final of the Asian team squash championships with a 2-0 win over Korea on Friday, making it the second occasion, after 2002, that the country had progressed this far in the event.
India's opponent in the title round will be Hong Kong China which shocked top-seeded Malaysia in the other semifinal.
The prime seed and defending champion in the men's team event, Malaysia, was spared a double blow when it scraped through with a 2-1 outcome against India. Saurav Ghosal's inspired performance against individual champion Mohd. Azlan went in vain as Harinderpal Singh Sandhu and Siddharth Suchde went down fighting in their fixtures.
As a result, Malaysia will vie for top honours against Pakistan who emerged a 2-0 winner over Kuwait in their semifinal.
Easy for Anaka
Earlier, in the women's event, India had it easy against Korea. Anaka Alankamony put the host ahead with a 20-minute win over Kim Ga Hye, who was good for eight points in the first and third game, but little more.
Joshna Chinappa took on Sun Mi Song in the second match and the conclusion appeared cut and dried after just the opening exchanges. Not once in the entire match did Joshna trail her opponent, emerging an 11-2, 11-4, 11-8 victor to give India a place in the final.
The other semifinal, between Malaysia and Hong Kong China, was not as straightforward. Low Wee Wern took a game off Joey Chan before submitting in four, setting the stage for World No. 1 Nicol David to equalise the tie 1-1 with a ritualistic flogging of Rebecca Chiu.
Annie Au decided things Hong Kong China's way in the third match when she culled out an hour-long win in four games against Delia Arnold.
Malaysia and India played out a gut-wrenching men's semifinal. Harinderpal ceded to Mohd. Nafiizwan in an opening match that played out tighter than a stopper knot.
And the end for India appeared nigh when Saurav was thrashed 11-2 by Azlan in their first game. The World No. 27, however, brought about a startling turnaround, winning the next three games at eight, two and four, to get the host back on track.
The decisive third match, between Siddharth and Ong Beng Hee, oscillated for five games across 75 minutes before India's hopes were shut out of the men's event for another couple of years.
The results: Semifinals:
Men: Malaysia bt India 2-1 (Mohd. Nafiizwan bt Harinderpal Singh Sandhu 12-10, 11-9, 13-11; Mohd. Azlan lost Saurav Ghosal 11-2, 8-11, 2-11, 4-11; Ong Beng Hee bt Siddharth Suchde 11-6, 8-11, 14-12, 4-11, 11-2).
Pakistan bt Kuwait 2-0 (Yasir Ali Butt bt Salem F. Moahammad 11-9, 11-4, 12-10; Aamir Atlas Khan bt Abdulla Almezayen 11-8, 6-11, 15-13, 11-1).
Women: India bt Korea 2-0 (Anaka Alankamony bt Kim Ga Hye 11-8, 11-3, 11-8; Joshna Chinappa bt Sun Mi Song 11-2, 11-4, 11-8).
Hong Kong China bt Malaysia 2-1 (Joey Chan bt Low Wee Wern 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8; Rebecca Chiu lost to Nicol David 3-11, 8-11, 11-5; Annie Au bt Delia Arnold 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7).