Describing the title triumph at Macau Open as the “biggest win” of her career, India’s top squash player Dipika Pallikal on Tuesday said it’s a stepping stone in her quest to be the world number one.
Pallikal won the biggest title of her career at Macau this Sunday - the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Silver band event - having beaten the formidable Grinham sisters - former world number two Natalie and former world number one Rachel.
“Yes for sure (the biggest win of my career). This is my first silver tournament win. So it does feel great. My aim is to get to world No.1 and this is just a route,” Pallikal told PTI in an e-mail interview from Shanghai where she would be playing in the $50,000 China Open.
Pallikal got the better of Rachel 12-10, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9 in a hard-fought summit clash that lasted 42 minutes, while in the semifinal she overcame a 2-1 deficit to stave off a stiff challenge from top seed Natalie 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9 in a marathon 68-minute encounter.
The 22-year-old from Chennai credited her success to sports psychologist Ken May and said the improvement in her game has come as a result of self confidence and mental toughness.
“Ken May is an incredible guy. He trained Sarah and now he’s working with me. There were a lot of stuff we have to erase or go back in time to remove it. It’s about making me a new person on court and it’s slowly helping. He’s an absolute phenomenal guy and I’m so happy that I have him on my team,” she said.