Mahesh Mangaonkar and Kush Kumar kept the Indian hopes alive by moving into the semifinals of the British Junior Open squash under-19 and under-17 boys’ categories in London late on Friday. Mahesh accounted for Shehab Essam of Egypt but not before losing the first game, while Kush survived a slip in the second game before taking control.
Earlier, Aparajitha squandered a two-game advantage against higher-ranked and home favourite Victoria Temple-Murray. Aparajitha played superbly but could not show the same sharpness in converting her leads in the deciding third game. The British girl won the next three games for a good win.
The Indian had on the previous day defeated the 3/4-seed Salma Esmat of Egypt to reach the quarterfinals.
Overall, it was a good show by the Indians with five of them making it to the quarterfinals for the first time, according to Cyrus Poncha, the National coach who is accompanying the team.
Quarterfinals: Boys: U-19: Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind) bt Shehab Essam (Egy) 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9; U-17: Kush Kumar (Ind) bt Mohd. Syafiq Kamal (Mas) 11-3, 11-13, 11-9, 11-8; U-15: Mohammad Alsarraj (Jor) bt Velavan Senthilkumar (Ind) 12-10, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8
Girls: U-19: Mariam Metwaly (Egy) bt Lakshya Ragavendran (Ind) 11-5, 11-9, 11-7; Victoria Temple-Murray (Eng) bt Aparajitha Balamurukan (Ind) 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9.