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Mahesh Mangaonkar did the star turn as eighth seed India edged out seventh seed Germany 2-1 and moved to the quarterfinal of the WSF World men’s team squash championship in Marseille, France.
Mahesh, 23, had come on to the court when the score read 1-1 and everything depended on him if India was to progress.
Facing an unsure opponent in Valentin Rapp, Mahesh controlled the volleys and varied the drives to eventually carve out a comfortable 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 win yesterday in 31 minutes to bring joy to the Indian camp.
After Vikram Singh had put India one up with his fluent 11-8, 11-1, 11-8 win over Rudi Rohrmuller, the focus shifted to the clash between the two number one players Saurav Ghosal and Simon Rosner.
It was a close battle with fortunes oscillating either way. Both players traded two games each and in the decisive fifth game, Ghosal looked a spent force.
Rosner ran away with the game and the match 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-3 to restore parity.
National Coach Cyrus Poncha said, “Absolutely delighted. It was a great team effort. The boys were all charged up. The result showed it,”he added.