After winning twin titles in the PSA Tour in May this year, Mohali squash player 28-year-old Harinder Pal Sandhu took a two-week break to spend time at his Mohali residence and also the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai before rejoining the circuit. On Saturday, Sandhu, whose father Harpal Singh Sandhu is an SP with Punjab Police, won the eighth PSA title of his career with an 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 win over Rhys Dowling of Australia in the South Australian Open Squash Championships in Adelaide. Prior to this, Sandhu defeated top seed Piedro Schweertman in the semi-final.
“This is my first ever PSA title in Australia and it feels really good after a hard week. It was Rhys Dowling’s third final in a row and to break his winning run means a lot. I told myself to refocus and win point by point. The conditions here in Australia are cold at this time of the year and I am not used to playing in the cold. So, I had to hit the ball with a lot of pressure. The break after the two PSA titles in May was good for me and I will be playing in Melbourne next week,” said Harinder Pal Sandhu while talking with Chandigarh Newsline.
Winner of three PSA tour titles in 2014 and the national champion the same year, Sandhu suffered a back injury last November. The Mohali player spent time at the David Palmer Academy in USA last year and also trained under Indian Squash team’s new coach, Egyptian Ashraf El Karagui. Sandhu won the title in the PSA Malaysian Squash Tour IX in May before winning the 2nd Nissan Open Squash Championships in Philippines two weeks later. Sandhu is currently ranked 77th in the world. The player now wants to aim for more wins at the PSA circuit to break into the top 48 to get direct entry into the world championships to be held in Manchester, UK, this December.
“I have been working on my technique for more than a year since I went to train under David Palmer. I have been working on shortening the swing with quick feet movement from the centre and keeping a strong upper body while hitting each shot. I will be playing the world doubles in Manchester in August before playing in the senior nationals. Playing in Manchester will also help me to adjust to conditions ahead of the world championships in December. And, I am also working on how to hit the attacking shots with the guidance of our new coach at the Indian Squash Academy, Ashraf El Karagui,” shared Sandhu.
Squash coach Satinder Bajwa, former mentor and manager of eight-time world champion Jansher Khan and former director of the Harvard University squash programme, believes that Harinder’s game has been constantly improving and he can soon break into the top 50. “To win in Australia is a big thing for Harinder as Australian grass root squash is very good. Harinder has very strong basics and with time, he has learnt to manage the front end well and finish off the points with dominance. He has the potential to break into the top 50 and then he should also concentrate on playing in East Europe and then in France, Netherlands and UK. He will be eager to win more PSA titles this year,” said the Chandigarh-based Bajwa.