Saurav, Suchde set up title clash

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SOLID SHOW: Dipika Pallikal (left) cruises past Anwesha Reddy in the semifinals of the ICL-National squash championship.
SOLID SHOW: Dipika Pallikal (left) cruises past Anwesha Reddy in the semifinals of the ICL-National squash championship.

S.R. Suryanarayan

Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal in women’s final

CHENNAI: Siddharth Suchde emerged the challenger for the defending champion Saurav Ghosal in the men’s section, while in the women’s, there were no surprises as Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, the top two seeds, lined up for the title clash as the semifinal rounds were completed in the ICL-National squash championship here on Friday.

Suchde, the Harvard boy, who has not spent much time on the court in recent times because of his studies, is making every effort to catch up.

Well equipped in the sport and endowed with a good height, he exhibited his capabilities in a stand-out show to dismantle the second seed Gaurav Nandrajog of New Delhi in straight games.

Rarely did Suchde, seeded three, put a wrong foot. If his overhead backhands to the corners were a delight then his variations, keeping the ball close to the tin and at times driving it far, had Gaurav going in rounds.

That Gaurav was left mumbling to himself over his disappointing outing is testimony of the supremacy Suchde had right through.

Touch of class

The other semifinal between Saurav and Harinder Pal Singh provided a touch of class.

For once Saurav was tested and how well he could suppress the young and promising Harinder was the key to the defending champion’s success.

Unlike on Thursday, Harinder played uninhibited. He was prepared to match his famed rival in the drops and the power-packed drives.

But Saurav’s consistency stood out. The way he finished off rallies was a reflection of the growing stature of this professional. Still, the sight of Harinder running from one corner to the other and at times coming up with breathtaking returns provided delightful viewing.

In the end, Harinder must have won the hearts of the spectators for his gritty show, even if Saurav was the unquestioned winner. Compared to the men’s competition, the women’s semifinals suffered for want of closeness in the contests.

Joshna played at half-pace, even allowed several balls to run away from her, but she was never under pressure against Surbi Misra.

Impressive start

The Rajasthan girl started off impressively, getting a few drops in place and more than once sending Joshna the wrong way.

But before long, her fight melted away. Just 22 minutes and Joshna earned her passage to another title round. Anwesha, on the other hand, made some late efforts to contain the flow of Dipika to trigger a ripple around.

But it came too late in the day. For a girl who has the game, Anwesha could have been a little imaginative in her stroke selection. As it happened, Dipika needed just 20 minutes to complete her work.

The results:

Semifinals: Men: Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Harinder Pal Singh (TN) 9-3, 9-3, 9-4; Siddharth Suchde (Mah) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (Dli) 9-2, 9-1, 9-0.

Women: Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt Surbhi Mishra (Raj) 9-5, 9-1, 9-4; Dipika Pallikal (TN) bt Anwesha Reddy (TN) 9-1, 9-3, 10-8.

Professionals: Balamurugan (TN) bt Kalimuthu (TN) 9-2, 9-4, 9-6; Dalip Tripathi (WB) bt Sanjay Pawar (Mah) 9-7, 9-5, 9-5.

Above-40: Rohit Thawani (Mah) bt Ashun Bahl (Ser) 8-10, 7-9, 9-0, 9-1, 9-7; Deepak Moolani (Mah) bt Chetan Ladiwala (Mah) 3-9, 6-9, 10-8, 9-7, 9-0 (retired).

Above-35: Niraj Shrgaonkar (Mah) bt Mohanish Sawant (Mah) 9-5, 9-7, 9-5; Raja Parthasarathy (Mah) bt Jehangir Surti (Mah) 9-2, 9-6, 9-3.

Above-50: B.I. Singh (Dli) bt V. Laxman (TN) 9-7, 9-5, 9-6; Vaman Apte (Mah) bt Chandrakant Pawar (Mah) 9-4, 9-0, 9-2.

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