India slips out of contention

K. Keerthivasan
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CALLING THE SHOTS: Australia's Rachael Grinham (right) was in complete control against Dipika Pallikal, winning in straight games. — Photo: V. Ganesan
CALLING THE SHOTS: Australia's Rachael Grinham (right) was in complete control against Dipika Pallikal, winning in straight games. — Photo: V. Ganesan

India's hopes of making it to the semifinals of the JSW-SDAT-WSF squash World Cup vanished into thin air as it lost rather tamely to Australia 3-0 in a Group ‘B' contest at the Indian Squash Academy here on Wednesday.

Top seed Egypt defeated Sri Lanka and France by identical 3-0 margins to top Group ‘A' with an all-win record. India next plays Mexico in its last group match.

Egypt qualified for the semifinals while France plays Malaysia on Thursday to decide the second team from the group. Australia will take on England to decide the Group ‘B' topper after both teams qualified for the knock-out stage.

Different player

After the loss to England, India pinned its hopes on Saurav Ghosal to give it a head-start against the Aussies. Ghosal, who had defeated Cameron Pilley in the Punj Lloyd tournament in Mumbai two years ago, could not repeat his feat as the Aussie was a totally different player this day.

He went on to win 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 in an hour and 12 minutes.

Ranked 12 places above Ghosal at 12, Pilley kept his composure whenever the situation seemed to be spiralling out of control.

Ghosal fought back in the second game after being 8-10 down, but Pilley was awarded a stroke at 11-10. The Aussie sewed up the game immediately.

The Indian went on to lose the third game too but played wonderfully well in the fourth, coming up with fine drops and boasts to take the match to the decider. The fifth game, however, turned out to be one-sided with Pilley dominating the show.

“I knew I had to win to give the team any chance (of winning). I gave my best. Everybody knows about Pilley's lethal forehand and it was fantastic today,” said Ghosal.

Rachael routs Dipika

In the second tie, Dipika Pallikal was no match for Rachael Grinham as she lost 11-3, 11-8, 11-4.

Though Dipika put up a semblance of a fight in the second game, Rachael, the current World No. 4 and former World No. 1, was superior in all aspects. In the dead rubber, Aaron Frankcomb defeated Harinder Pal Singh 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 to complete the misery for the host.

The results:

Group ‘A': France bt South Africa 3-0 (Yann Perrin bt Stephen Coppinger 11-3, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8; Camille Serme bt Tennile Swartz 11-7, 11-8, 11-9; Mathieu Castagnet bt Clinton Leeuw 11-9, 12-10, 11-5).

Egypt bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (Karim Darwish bt Navin Samarasinghe 11-2, 11-3, 11-7; Raneem Weleily bt Sharya Guruge 10-12, 11-1, 11-6, 11-2; Mohd. El Shorbagy bt Gihan Suwaris 11-8, 11-8, 11-5).

Egypt bt France 3-0 (Ramy Ashour bt Yann Perrin 11-8, 11-7, 11-1; Raneem Weleily bt Coline Aumard 11-3, 11-7, 11-5; Karim Darwish bt Greg Marche 11-4, 11-2, 11-7).

Group ‘B': Australia bt India 3-0 (Cameron Pilley bt Saurav Ghosal 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5; Rachael Grinham bt Dipika Pallikal 11-3, 11-8, 11-4; Aaron Frankcomb bt Harinder Pal Singh 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

England bt Mexico 2-1 (Peter Barker bt Cesar Salazar 11-3, 11-5, 11-5; Laura Massaro lost to Samantha Teran 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11; Tom Richards bt Jorge Baltazar Ferreira 11-7, 11-7, 11-3) .

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