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Granite Open 2016: Dipika Pallikal goes down fighting in the semi-final

350   //    22 Jan 2016, 15:54 IST
She lost to the sixth-seed in a 62-minute battle.

World No. 17 Dipika Pallikal fought hard only to be denied a place in the final of the $25,000 Slaight Music and Roundtable Capital Granite Open in Toronto on Thursday. The second-seeded Pallikal went down 10-12, 9-11, 9-11 to the sixth seed Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana in a 62-minute battle.

It was a gripping semi-final in which last year’s runner-up Pallikal had the slender lead initially and even reached the game ball in the first game. But the experienced World No. 28 came back strongly to snatch the game from the Indian 12-10.

She went ahead in the second game.

The former World No. 10 Indian was once again the first one to inch ahead in the second game but Fernandes fought back bravely to level it at 7-7. The Guyanese player took the lead at 9-8 via a counter drop and even though Pallikal started moving her opponent around the court after that, she could not stop her from grabbing the second game as well.

The third game was replete with some breathtaking attacking shots and it was the sixth seed who had the upper hand initially as she nudged ahead 8-5. The India No. 2 once again put up a show of resilience to even the game at 8-8. However, the undeterred Fernandes pocketed three of the next four points to take the match and seal her place in Sunday’s final versus the fourth seed Victoria Lust.

Dipika Pallikal will next head to the Cleveland Classic in early February where she is up against the former World No. 5 Low Wee Wern in the opening round.

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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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