It was curtains for India in the team squash events of the Commonwealth Games after fourth seeded pair of national champions Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa went down fighting to the Malaysians duo of Nicol David and Beng Hee Ong in the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles category here on Tuesday.
The Indian pair gave a glimpse of their fighting abilities before going down against the third seed Malaysian pair 5-11 11-7 7-11 in almost an hour contest at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
The capacity crowd present at the all-glass court arena cheered relentlessly for the Indian pair but that did not prove sufficient to raise the confidence of Ghosal and Chinappa.
The pair had claimed a place in the last eight of the Mixed event after a final qualifying round win over Scottish pair Frania Gillen-Buchert and Alan Clyne and a bye in the prequarters on Monday.
David,women’s singles Commonwealth gold medallist,and Beng Hee had suffered the surprise early pool defeat against English pair of Sarah Kippax and Adrian Grant before bouncing back in the contest to reach the last eight stage.
“Both of us played well today but that was not enough to secure a win. Team events are altogether a different ball game. There were few things where we could have done better but we fell short of expectations today,” said a disappointed Ghosal.
“There were some talks that Joshna did not play well on Tuesday and committed few errors but she was not at all weak with her game. It’s not that if I had played with Dipika (Ghosal’s original partner in the mixed doubles),results would have been different. One need to understand Joshna’s strength are different from that of Dipika.
“I don’t want to use Dipika’s excuse for losing the game. We played well but it was not our day,” added the 24-year-old from Kolkata.
Malaysia’s David said,”It’s always tough to play against these guys. They are good and I had to pick my game up at several junctures. As part of the strategy,the Indians were attacking me and we were attacking Joshna.
“Joshna made few errors and we got few lucky points. Ghosal was great with his speed and angular shots. Overall it was a tough game,” admitted David.
In the first game,the Malaysian pair was severly tested by the Indian duo,bidding to win country’s first squash medal.
Ghosal,who was classy in his approach and execution of shots and dead drops for winners,never let his opponents make the contest one-sided.
At one stage,the game was locked 4-4 but few error of judgement and the Malaysians raced away to a 10-5 lead and settled the issue on 11-5 points.
At the break,national coach Cyrus Poncha was seen discussing some shots selection with Ghosal and Chinappa,to remedy specific weaknesses and validate their ideas.
That brief interaction worked as the Indian pair showcased certain patterns of shots and made excellent use of both forehand and backhand sides before taking the second game on 11-7 points in 21 minutes.
The third game saw some excellent volleys and good ground strokes from both the sides but the fourth seed pair failed to rise on the occasion and went down fighting in a keenly-played decider.
After the match,the crowd gave a standing ovation to the pair for their never-ending effort and dedication.
On Monday,the Indian challenge had come to an end in the men’s and women’s doubles events with the pre-quarterfinal exit of the players.
In the men’s doubles event,the eighth seed pair of Gaurav Nandrajog and Siddharth Suchde went down fighting to sixth seed Malaysian pair of Mohd Azlan Iskandar and Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 9-11 7-11 in 56 minutes while the 11th seed pair of Sandeep Jangra and Harinder Pal Sandhu was no match to fifth seed Scottish pair of Alan Clyne and Harry Leitch and lost 5-11 5-11 in 32 minutes.
In the women’s doubles,the unseeded pair of Anaka Alnkamony and Surbhi Misra was made to run from one corner to another by third seed pair of Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro before losing 6-11 1-11 in 18 minutes.
Meanwhile,the day also witnessed other top seed pairs progressing to the next round.
England’s women’s doubles pair of Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro advanced to the final of the event with a 2-1 victory over Australia’sKasey Brown and Donna Urquhart. The pair won 6-11 11-5 11-4 in 54 minutes.
“As soon as we won I went a bit goose-pimpley. It’s our first tournament together but we felt quietly confident. We have been saying the whole time that anyone in the England team can play together. We have got such a good understanding,” Duncalf said.
New Zealand’s mixed doubles pair of Martin Knight and Joelle King also secured a place in the semifinals with a fluent 2-0 victory over their team-mates in the quarterfinals of the event. They defeated Campbell Grayson and Jaclyn Hawkes 11-6 11-9 in 50 minutes.
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