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Cactus Classic Squash 2016: Mahesh Mangaonkar upsets fourth seed to reach semi-finals

401   //    14 Feb 2016, 10:22 IST
Mahesh Mangaonkar Squash
Mangaonkar defeated Henrik Mustonen of Finland 6-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5

Indian squash ace Mahesh Mangaonkar continued his brilliant run at the Ganem Vein Institute Cactus Classic 2016 in Phoenix, USA as he booked his place in the semi-finals of this PSA $15, 000 event.

In a late quarter-final match on Friday, the fifth seed put up a gutsy display to outlast the fourth-seeded Henrik Mustonen of Finland, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5. The gritty battle lasted 75 minutes.

The 67th ranked Mangaonkar has an uphill task next as he faces the top seed Omar Abdel Meguid in the semi-finals. The Egyptian, who is ranked 34 places higher than the Indian, is in scintillating form and captured the PSA M15 Oregon Open title just last week. At this week’s Cactus Classic too, he has been rock solid and has not conceded a single game so far.

The 21-year-old Indian returned to the PSA Tour in February after dealing with a health issue at the end of 2015. In his first competitive tournament since the hiatus, the Indian is already showing glimpses of the fighting spirit that helped him to break into the top 50 in January last year.

He began this tournament with a gruelling four-game win over the 20-year-old Egyptian Karim El Hammamy on Wednesday. Mangaonkar would attempt to bring that confidence in the semis and try to reach his first PSA final since the NSCI Open at Mumbai in September.

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A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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