Ritwik, Saurav in final

CHENNAI, DEC. 6. Defending champion Ritwik Bhattacharya (New Delhi) and key challenger Saurav Ghosal (Tamil Nadu) are in the final and ready for what observers believe will be the clash of the ongoing senior National squash championship here on Tuesday.

Expectedly both the semifinals on Monday ended on a sedate note with Ritwik making short work of Vikas Jangra while Saurav gave a lesson in power and precision play to his younger rival Harinder Pal Singh. Both matches ended in straight games.

The women's matches provided a mixed fare but significantly both finalists — Joshna Chinappa and V. Anvesha Reddy — are from Tamil Nadu, a first in the over 50 years of the championship. Also, at 14 years, Anvesha, a student of Churchpark, and the current Under-17 national champion is the youngest finalist in the women's section.

If defending champion Joshna was ruthless in suppressing Dipika Pallikal (Tamil Nadu) then Anvesha charted an uncertain course, despite possessing a richer repertoire of strokes than her rival, Surbhi Misra (Maharashtra) before grabbing a win. Anvesha touched the high and low points quite consistently and that was the inspiration for Surbhi, the national U-15 champion.

The Maharashtra girl showed grit but Anvesha had the skills to tame her, only she heaped agony on herself through self doubts and unforced errors to stretch the match to five games.

Ritwik, just fresh from a knee surgery and not quite competitive trim yet, must have had a good feel of the court through a fighting Vikas. The SSCB player, looked uncertain to start with but once he began to move and exchange strokes and wits, the tussle blossomed. But Ritwik's power and variations stood him in good stead.

Saurav on the other hand, allowed no moments for Harinder to cherish. Returning with aplomb and exploding the drives that zipped past the outstretched Harinder, Saurav time and again struck winners with ease. Conceding just two points in three games, Saurav stormed into the title round in style.

The results: Men: semifinal: Ritwik Bhattacharya (Del) bt Vikas Jangra (SSCB) 9-0, 9-2, 9-5; Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Harinder Pal Singh (TN) 9-0, 9-2, 9-0.

Women: Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt Dipika Pallikal (TN) 9-4, 9-0, 9-1; V. Anvesha Reddy (TN) bt Surbhi Misra (Raj) 9-6, 6-9, 4-9, 9-7, 9-3.

Professional: Mahesh Verma (Mah) bt Santosh More (Mah) 9-1, 9-4, 9-1; Bala Murugan (TN) bt Rohit More (Mah) 9-4, 9-2, 9-3.

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