Asian Games squash: India assured of two medals in team event

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GUANGZHOU - India assured themselves of at least two bronze medals in squash as their men and women made it to the semifinals of the team event in the Asian Games here Tuesday.

The men blanked South Korea 3-0 and later lost to formidable Malaysia 2-3 to finish second in Pool B. They will now face arch-rivals and Pool A toppers Pakistan in the semifinals.

Malaysia topped Pool B ahead of India, Japan, South Korea, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The women’s team lost to Hong Kong 0-3 and finished second behind them in Pool B. They face top-seed Malaysia in the last four. China and Pakistan were the other teams.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the semifinals.

The men’s team, spearheaded by world no.25 Saurav Ghoshal, easily defeated South Korea before a tough battle against Malaysia later in the evening. It was a battle for the top spot in the Pool standings and meeting easier opponents in the next round.

After Siddharth Suchde, ranked 73rd, lost the decider against no.55 Malaysian Mohd. Nafizwan Adnan 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 4-11, 9-11 in the first singles, the onus was on Saurav to put India back on level terms. And he did not disappoint.

Saurav played an amazing game to shock world no.15 Mohd. Azlan Iskandar 11-2, 11-9,7-11, 11-5 and avenged his loss to the Malaysian in the men’s singles semifinal. The Indian ended up with a bronze.

Harinder Pal Sandhu needed to win the third singles to ensure India reached the top of the pool standings. But he lost another nail-biting five-setter to Chee Wern Yuen 9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 10-12. India lost the match 1-2.

In the women’s event, India proved no match for stronger Hong Kong.

Dipika Pallikal, ranked 36, lost to no.19 Wing Yin Chiu 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 5-11.

World no.37 Joshana Chinappa could not pose a challenge to no.14 Chi Annie Au and lost 7-11, 7-11, 9-11.

Third player Anaka Alankamony picked up a game against Ho Ling Chan but went down 9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11.

The Indians will have a tougher task in hand when they take on Malaysia, which boast of the world no.1 Nicol David and top-20 player Low Wee Wern.

The semifinals will be played Wednesday.

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