Chennai, May 5 (IANS) For the first time in the history of the Asian Squash Championship, India is the men’s and women’s finals.
In the semi-finals here Friday, Indian women beat South Korea 2-0 to set up a title clash with Hong Kong, who overcame Malaysia 2-1.
The Indian men ousted Kuwait 2-0 to take on arch rivals Pakistan, who eliminated Malaysia.
In the women’s semi-final, Anaka set the ball rolling with a command performance, outplaying Yang Yeon Soo 3-1.
Anaka showed great maturity in her game to outrun her more experienced opponent.
In the second singles, India’s No.1 Dipika Pallikal lived up to expectations by cruising past champion Song Sun Mi in straight games.
In the men’s semis, India defeated Kuwait, who were supported by a vociferous crowd.
Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, playing first, handled the tense situation superbly and contained the extremely aggressive Salem Fayez Mohammed.
Both players displayed superb retrieving abilities but Harinder emerged as the winner in straight games with his consistent display.
India’s No.1 Saurav Ghosal, the highest ranked player in the tournament, outwitted the talented Abdullah Al Muzayen 3-1.
Ghosal, an improved and mature player, had a precise plan of pinning Al Muzayen to his weaker backhand side.
This paid off although Al Muzayen displayed his characteristic finishing shots to the delight of the gallery.
“This is a remarkable performance, we are very proud of our players,” said Cyrus Poncha after India’s historic entry into the final.
The results (semi-finals):
Men – India beat Kuwait 2-0: Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu beat Salem Fayez Mohammed 12-10, 11-9, 11-7; Saurav Ghosal beat Abdullah Al Muzayen 12-10, 12-14, 11-9, 11-7.
Women – India beat Korea 2-0: Anaka Alankmony beat Yang Yeon Soo 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-2; Dipika Pallikal beat Song Sun Mi 11-7, 11-8, 11-2.