After a major knee surgery in August last, Joshna Chinappa is slowly regaining form.
Being part of the winning Indian team in the Asian championship in Kuwait recently has certainly boosted her confidence. Playing in only her third tournament this year, Joshna made light work of Salma Hany Ibrahim Ahmed of Egypt 13-11, 11-4, 11-8 in the semifinals of the Chennai Open $10,000 WISPA women's squash tournament here on Friday.
However, her Indian counterpart Anaka Alankamony went down fighting to Sarah-Jane Perry of England 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 in an intense battle that lasted 69 minutes.
It was a lean and fit Joshna who dominated the proceedings against an opponent who looked subdued. There was an air of sureness about whatever Joshna did; her movements, her boast, the drives. It seemed she was playing without any pressure.
Barring the first game, when Joshna had to save a game point, it was a near-flawless performance by the Indian. “After the surgery, I did rehab at the Otters Club with Ritwik Bhattacharya. I still feel a bit of pain sometimes during play, but I think it's only a matter of time before I regain 100 per cent fitness. I am really happy to be playing again after the injury” said Joshna, who is currently ranked 71 in the world.
The Sarah-Anaka contest was a hard-fought affair. Taking a 2-1 lead, Anaka was poised to close out the match in the fourth game when she lead 12-11. But she slipped and fell while going for a forehand shot on match point. Sarah, World No. 60, won the next two points — one through a nice drop and the other by forcing an error from Anaka on the backhand.
Semifinals: Joshna Chinappa bt Salma Hany Ibrahim Ahmed (Egy) 13-11, 11-4, 11-8; Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) bt Anaka Alankamony 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6.