Valencia - Indian qualifier Harinder Pal Sandhu recorded the most impressive win of his career when he overcame England‘s World No.19 Adrian Grant to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Challenger 15 squash here on Friday.
The World No.98 from Chennai had already taken out higher-ranked Englishman Charles Sharpes in the opening round, but dug even deeper to recover from 2-1 down against top-seeded Londoner Grant, a former World No.9, to win 11-7, 5-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5 in a match which kept the crowd enthralled for almost two hours.
“We all at the Indian Squash Academy are delighted with Harinder’s result,” said Indian National Coach Cyrus Poncha, from Chennai, when he heard the news. “This is certainly his best win and one which has been overdue. Harinder has over the past few months been working very hard and deserves full credit.”
Chandhigarh-born Sandhu, who reached last year’s Indian National Championship final for the third year in a row against expectations, is enjoying an excellent run on the PSA Tour. Earlier this month, as fourth seed, the 23-year-old secured his fourth Tour final appearance at the Royal Lake Club Open in Malaysia.
Sandhu now faces his third English opponent in a row in a bid to reach the event’s final. Chris Ryder, the No.3 seed, looked to be heading home when qualifier Davide Bianchetti took the opening two games.
But Ryder fought back to draw level, and immediately dropped the first point in the decider when the 35-year-old Italian surprisingly announced his decision to retire, with the score standing at 7-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-5, 0-1 in Ryder’s favour.
Kristian Frost Olesen won the all-Danish duel in the other half of the draw, beating Rasmus Nielsen 11-7, 11-8, 11-2.
The unseeded 23-year-old from Odense now takes on Omar Abdel Aziz, the third seed from Egypt who defeated Australia’s Steven Finitsis 11-5, 11-4, 11-8.