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Mohali squash player Harinder Pal Sandhu had to wait for 12 years to grab a $10,000 PSA tour title. On Sunday, the 28-year-old player won a title in the Victorian Open M 10 event at the PSA World Tour in Melbourne, Australia. Sandhu scored a 3-1 (12-14, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7) win over top seed R Hedrick of Australia in the final. “
“This is the biggest win of my career and I have always dreamt about winning a M 10 event on the world tour. I have been playing in Australia for the past two weeks and after winning the South Australian open last week, I wanted to finish the Australian tour with a high. Hedrick is a physically strong player and my target was to play to my strengths and put him in pressure situations. It has been a hectic fortnight for me but winning doubles points than the regular M5 events will also help my rankings,” said Sandhu, whose father Harpal Singh Sandhu is an SP with Punjab Police.
Sandhu, whose current world ranking is 77, dominated against world number 57 Hedrick on Sunday”. “I had a lower back injury in November last year before suffering a hamstring injury in February and I missed some events on the PSA Tour. Winning against any of the top-60 players in the world will help my world rankings and I will aim to play more M10 events this year. Of course the target is to break into the top-50 and then top-25 which helps a player to play more even”s,” said Sandhu, who had become a national champion in 2014.
It all started with Sandhu’s win over D Prasagam in the first round of the Malaysian Squash Tour IX event in May, followed by the title win in the event where he defeated H Leung in the final. He then notched up titles win in the 2nd Nissan open Squash Championships in May, followed by South Australian Open in Adelaide last week.
Sandhu will now return to the Indian Squash Academy, Chennai, to train under Indian squash team’s new coach Egyptian Ashraf El Karagui and will attend a camp ahead of the world doubles championship to be played in Manchester, England, in August. Sandhu is also hoping to break into the top-48 players for the world championships in December failing which he will play the qualifiers for the event.”
“Ashraf Sir has spent a lot of time with Egyptian players and his focus has been to make us play the Egyptian way. And it has been helping our game. Playing in doubles is more challenging as the tin is 13 inch high and the court is wider. Seeing my PSA ranking, I am expected to pair up with Mahesh Mangaonkar for the world doubles and it will be important tournament ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games,” said Sandhu, who was a part of the Indian squash team that won the gold medal in 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.