India’s medal run at the Asian Games 2018 continued on Saturday as Dipika Pallikal, Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal clinched bronze medals in singles squash matches after losing their respective semifinal matches. Dipka lost her semifnal to defending champion Malaysia’s Nicol David. The 26-year-old suffered a defeat in straight sets against the former World number one 3-0 (7-11, 9-11 and 6-11). Chinappa failed to match up to the level of her 19-year-old opponent Sivasangari Subramaniam losing 1-3 (10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11). And to end the day, Saurav let go of a 2-0 lead before going down 2-3 (12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 6-11, 6-11) against Chung Ming Au of Hong Kong China.
Dipika had defeated Japan’s Kobayashi Misaki in straight sets on Friday to reach the quarters. But against the three-time Asian Games Champion, the Commonwealth Games 2018 women’s double silver medallist Palliakal could do little to counter the pressure and make way into the final.
With Pallikal’s win, India secured their 26th medal at the Asian Games 2018. It is Pallikal’s third medal at the Asian Games. She won a silver in 2014 in Women’s team squash event and a bronze in Women’s singles event at the same event.
Dipika led 5-2 and 4-1 in the first two games but Nicol had enough experience to race away with the win. Dipika said playing against former world number one Nicol, currently ranked ninth, was not easy. “She is experienced and knows how to handle every situation, thrown at her. She was world number one for 10 years for a reason. I am happy I played well. It’s unfortunate that I was in top-half to play with Nicol,” she said.
“We have a gold to achieve in team event. you can’t think much about what has happened in the singles. It’s hard to regroup and comeback but we have to do it. We don’t want to celebrate as yet, we have a bigger target to achieve,” she said.
Asked if a few calls which went against her perturbed her, Dipika said, “We are used to it. It’s part and parcel of the game. She has been playing Asian Games for a long time, she is very experienced. I think you have take positives out of it. I am only 26, I have few more Asian Games to go. Hopefully I welcome back strong.”
Nicol is 35 years old and still going strong. Dipika said it’s Nicol’s time and she will have to wait for her time. “Squash is about how fit you are, how much you enjoy the game. We can see she really enjoys the game. This is only my third Asian Games. Let the older one win here and we will comeback after four years and win.”