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Dipika Pallikal reaches semi-finals of the Granite Open

352   //    21 Jan 2016, 15:34 IST
Dipika Pallikal will aim to go one spot better at the Granite Open this time.

World No. 17 Dipika Pallikal produced a strong performance to book her place in the semi-finals of the $25,000 Slaight Music and Roundtable Capital Granite Open in Toronto on Wednesday. The second-seeded Indian beat the fifth seed Salma Hany Ibrahim of Egypt 12-10, 11-2, 11-4 in 34 minutes.

In the semis on Thursday, the 24-year-old will meet the sixth seed Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana.

Pallikal came to this tournament after a disappointing first round exit at the prestigious Tournament of Champions in New York just a few days back. But the India No. 2 managed to block away that setback and has so far put up an impressive display at the Granite Open where she was the runner-up last year, only losing to English star Sarah Jane-Perry in the final.

On Tuesday, she had edged past the talented Egyptian qualifier Nouran El Torky 11-4, 9-11, 11-2, 11-7 in her opener.

The first game of Dipika’s quarter-final match on Wednesday was a neck-to-neck affair as the 19-year-old Salma Hany Ibrahim pushed Pallikal to the brink. The former World No. 10 had to dig deep to sneak out the first game 12-10. The 27th ranked Ibrahim had reached the Carol Weymuller Open quarter-finals in October and there was thus never any doubt about her abilities.

She had played an exhausting five-game marathon in her first round and after losing her opening game to Dipika, she did not have any more energy to compete with the Indian. From then on, it was mostly a one-way traffic as the experienced Pallikal wrapped up the last two games 11-2 and 11-4.

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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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