Indian women made a historic entry into the final beating top seed Malaysia 2-0 while the men, the defending champion went down to Hong Kong 0-2 as an eventful semi-final day in the Squash team event of the Asian Games went by on Friday.
While the men settled for the bronze, the women team comprising Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Karthik, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Tanvi Khanna are now in pursuit of gold as they get ready to play Hong Kong in the final tomorrow. Incidentally this will be a rematch, Hong Kong having beaten India in their last Group league match.
It was an outstanding show by the Indian women. Joshna Chinappa started the winning journey when she ousted the legend Nicol David over five games in what was the closest encounters in recent times. This is only the second time that Joshna had beaten the Malaysian and former world number one, the earlier one also coming in April this year. Expectedly it was not easy but striking the ball well and winning the big points, Joshna unsettled Nicol early to win the first two games. But a minor drop in play saw Nicol climb up. She took the next game but down 9-10 in the fourth game, it seemed all over for the Malaysian. But Nicol won that game. That did not dishearten Joshna who regained the earlier touch, showed her strength in the returns and eventually won the decider and match. Dipika Pallikal karthik next virtually outclassed the former world number 5 Low Wee Wern who is just returning from an injury phase. Giving nothing away, Dipika reeled out three games in a row to win the tie for India.
In the men’s section, Saurav Ghosal just could not contain Lee Ho Yin, also known as Max Lee in the professional circuit, though points went close. Harinder however looked ready for the occasion. He lost the first game close but won the next and led 9-7 in the third, even held a game-point but crucial errors at this stage undid his good work. Once he lost the third game, he virtually fizzled out.
Men: India lost to Hong Kong 0-2 (Saurav Ghosal lost to Lee Ho Yin 7-11, 9-11, 11-13; Harinder Pal Sandhu lost to Au Chun Ming 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 3-11)
Women: India bt Malaysia 2-0 (Joshna Chinappa bt Nicol David 12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 10-12, 11-9; Dipika Pallial karthik bt Low Wee Wern 11-2, 11-9, 11-7)