India’s leading squash players Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal secured hard fought victories to reach the singles quarterfinals at the
Commonwealth Games for the first time.
Fourth seed Ghosal had a narrow escape against Australian Steven Finitsis as he recovered from 6-7 down in the fifth and deciding game to pull off a 11-2, 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-8 victory at the Scotstoun Sports Campus on Friday evening.
With this victory, Ghosal became the first Indian to reach the singles quarterfinals since the sport was introduced in the Games programme in 1998. He next plays 12th seed Campbell Grayson of New Zealand later on Saturday.
“I am really happy I won in the end. It was a really tough match. He (Finitsis) played really well from the third game. It was going neck and neck in the fifth but I managed to string together four points in a row to take the match,” Ghosal told PTI after his gruelling 86-minute pre-quarterfinal.
Asked about his next opponent, the 12th seeded Grayson, Ghosal said: “He is a good player, who plays very well in front of the court. He also holds the ball well.”
Soon after Ghosal’s win, sixth seed Pallikal matched her compatriot’s feat by getting past 15th seed Delia Arnold of Malaysia 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 in a match lasting 40 minutes.
The Commonwealth Games debutant faces England’s fourth seed Alison Waters in the quarterfinals later on Saturday.
“It was a tough match and I am happy to get through in straight games. My plan for the day was to play some solid squash and attack whenever I got an opportunity and I am glad that it worked it out well,” said Pallikal.
On facing the World No.6, the 10th-ranked Indian said: “She has got all the experience. I want to go in there knowing that I have a chance of beating her and would like to believe that I can. Hopefully, I will come out winner,” the Chennai-based player added.
India has never won a squash medal at the Commonwealth Games since its inception at the quadrennial extravaganza.