HCL SRFI Indian Tour Chennai : International PSA Challenger
Finals : Moataz and Harrity triumph
Harrity saw a two game lead over top-seeded home favourite Mahesh Mangaonkar disappear, before whitewashing the Indian number one in the decider to collect his fourth and biggest PSA title.
The semi-finalists are decided in Chennai, with big upsets in the men’s and women’s draws.
Three of the top four seeds – and three Egyptians – are through to the women’s semis, the big upset coming as unseeded Malak Kamal took out top seed Sunanya Kurivilla, setting up an all-Egyptian match with Rana Ismail, the seventh seed who beat fourth seed Sachika Balvani to end home interest in the top half of the draw.
Second and third seeds Hana Moataz and Tanvi Khanna will meet in the bottom half.
Abhay Singh produced a second successive upset as he beat Yahya Elnawasany in five, setting up an all-Indian semi with men’s top seed Mahesh Mangaonkar, with second and third seeds Todd Harrity and Karim El Hammamy meeting in the other semi.
Watch the match replays below …
After a delayed start due to positive COVID tests, the first International PSA Challenger event of 2021 is well under way in Chennai, with the top seeds – including top seeded Indians Mahesh Mangaonkar and Sunayna Kuruvilla – entering the fray in Round Two.
The main upset came as India’s Abhay Singh ousted fourth seeded Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais to join the remaining top seeds in the quarter-finals – which comprise two Indians, one American and five Egyptians.
The top four seeds are safely through to the women’s quarter-finals, which will feature two India v Egypt and two all-Indian matches.
Due to a range of health and safety issues and travel restrictions arising from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the PSA Challenger Tour has been made up entirely of domestic and cross-border participation events since the tour restarted in September, with the last fully international event taking place in March 2020, when the Queen City Open was held in Regina, Canada.
Eight nationalities will be represented across the two draws, with players from Canada, Egypt, France, India, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United States all travelling to Chennai to take part in the tournament.
World No.47 Mahesh Mangaonkar will be the top seed for the men’s draw, while World No.69 Sunayna Kuruvilla will head up the women’s event, with both aiming to be successful on home soil.
Squash Rackets Federation of India President Debendranath Sarangi said:
“The SRFI is pleased to host the first PSA Challenger Tour event, in India, following the lockdown. Although India is a large country, we have started organising smaller domestic events across the country.
“I am delighted that the Indian Squash Academy will once again host PSA events in Chennai. This will be the 17th men’s & 13th women’s PSA event held since 2003 at the academy, which is rightfully known as the ‘Home of Indian Squash’. The growth in Indian squash has been tremendous over the past decade. With 70 registered PSA members from India, we intend to host more ASF (Asian Squash Federation), WSF (World Squash Federation) and PSA events in the coming years.
“Our sincere appreciation and thanks go to the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, the Sports Authority of India and HCL who have totally backed us during these tough times.”
“We are thankful for the hard work of the Squash Rackets Federation of India to make this tournament a reality and look forward to working with them closely over the coming weeks to ensure a successful tournament,” said PSA Tour Director Hannah Ridgard-Mason.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly caused a great deal of disruption to both the PSA Challenger Tour and the PSA World Tour. However, the fact that we’re able to host our first international Challenger event in over 12 months is a positive step towards a busy and thriving schedule of professional squash tournaments.”