Finals : Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa, Champions again
There is no stopping the two leading lights of Indian squash, Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa ,both from Tamil Nadu as they added on more title each to their kitty as curtains came down on the77th Senior National Squash Championship at the ISA courts on Saturday.
It was title number 13 for Ghosal beating Abhishek Pradhan of Maharashtra while Joshna made it to 18 at the expense of Delhi ‘s Tanvi Khanna. Both are already record holders in their respective section for the number of national titles one. On Saturday they swelled it further, perhaps with a touch of comfort. Although that statement would hurt Tanvi Khanna a trifle for if anything she provided the true moments of expectations on the final day against her famed opponent Joshna.
It was perhaps the hardest match for the top seed in the national circuit for a long time and Joshna admitted that when she said “Tanvi can be very good and her pacy approach did make me work up a little.” When the going goes tough, they say, the tough gets going and that is what Joshna did. Experience is her biggest associate but the point is she had to dig into that after Tanvi ran away with the first game. At one stage in the first game the score read 5-0 in the Delhi girl’s favour and then again 6-6 in the second .
Disbelief set in but briefly for Joshna knew how to catch up only she was not prepared for her young rival’s ability to hit the area above the tin with such consistency or face her boasts with a touch of uncertainty.
First game over, Joshna changed tactics, made an effort to control the pace. She added a touch of variety to the returns and most of all tested Tanvi’s agility no end. The pressure worked after a while and Tanvi’s earlier strength on returns dimmed. ‘Strokes’ became frequent for Joshna to move up, not to mention the winning drops and volleys. The winning path had been cleverly laid out and the execution followed flawlessly.
Ghosal that way was spared the blushes for his opponent Abhishek’s skills lay only in prolonging rallies. The senior Pro could not have asked for more in terms of getting a good practice. “Happy things went my way. A good session on the court and that helps as I look forward to some tough challenges in the pro-circuit ahead,” said the champion. Ghosal’s swiftness is well known on the court and Abhishek that way had little clue to unsettle his senior. The Mumbai player clung on but he had to admit there was more to be done which unfortunately was not forthcoming.
There were other winners too in the , professional category and in men over various age groups. The Chief Guest on the final day was Inspector General S. Paramesh, Commander, Indian Coast Guard (Eastern Region), an avid squash player himself. He and SRFI President Mr Debendranath Sarangi gave away the trophies and prizes.
Semis : Engrossing semi-finals provide rich fare
Engrossing was the only word to describe the proceedings of the semi-final and at the end of it the only surprise or upset result was Tanvi Khanna beating the second seeded Sunayna Kuruvilla for her maiden entry into the women’s final of the 77th Senior national squash championship at the ISA courts here on Friday.
Both top seeds Saurav Ghosal, the 12th time champion in the men’s and defending champion and 17th time champion Joshna Chinappa in the women’s section were well on road to add one to their tally with forthright wins over their respective opponents. Abhay Singh did make an effort to match his famed opponent Saurav but beyond the first game he was down to being a player going through the motion. It must be said he seemed to develop a strain his knee towards the end of second game and even went through injury time. But the fight fizzled out there.
Much was expected of Harinder Pal Sandhu against his Mumbai opponent and second seed Abhishek Pradhan but aside from his trade mark fighting abilities the man seemed to struggle for rhythm. Against Abhishek who is keen to make an impact Harinder seemed to miss the trick when needed most. Still by stretching the match to game to five games after being 0-2 down in game-scores, this Chennai player did infuse life into the contest.
On the women’s side, Joshna needed to be at her brilliant only occasionally and when she did produce a classy stroke, there was the cheer all around. Poor Sanya Vats was all energy but against a technically proficient opponent steeped in experience, she needed to do more. Not that this Delhi buckled down, in fact she gave a good account of trading strokes in the first game but Joshna was in a different league.
Perhaps the closest match of the day was also the day’s last involving the newly developing rivals Tanvi Khanna of Delhi and the local girl and and second seed Sunayna Kuruvilla. This was an opportunity for Sunayna to avenge the defeat to the Delhi opponent in the South Asian Games in Nepal and in fact she looked good but in patches only. Unable to be consistent cost her dearly. Tanvi also struggled and as she admitted, glass court was not something she was used to but managed to remain afloat despite the contest extending. Still with a match point in hand, Sunayna was well within winning it off when another error in return ended her dream. Tanvi walked out head high and in a corner of the court sank Sunayna in tears, a poignant sight in the end.
Quarters : Sanya and Harinder impress
Chennai: Youthful exuberance prevailed over experience, as former junior star Sanya Vats from Delhi pushed out seasoned and higher seeded Urwashi Joshi of Maharashtra for the day’s notable upset while ensuring a semi-final berth for herself in the 77th Senior National Squash Championship at the ISA courts on Thursday.
Another notable moment came in the men’s quarterfinal where a steady and smooth moving Harinder Pal Sandhu of Tamil Nadu gave a lesson in stroke-play to the young Goan ,Yash Fadte whose foray into the senior ranks did not prove a happy hunting ground.
Else it was a day when seeds generally had a smooth sailing none displaying this more than the two top seeds Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa.
Left handed Sanya showed a glimpse of her capability when she matched stroke for stroke against Urwashi. Both players traded two games each but what turned things in the Delhi girl’s favour was her ability to send returns that often eluded Urwashi.
This was particularly so in the deciding fifth game where Sanya raced to a 5-0 lead to ensure a comfortable sign off. Harinder on the other hand hardly gave Yash any opportunity to exploit. Not only was this ISA trainee’s returns sharp and accurate but varied in direction that Yash more often showed symptoms of despair. Harinder finished it off in three straight games.