Former Indian men’s national squash champion Harinder Pal Sandhu simply cannot stop winning! The 28-year-old won his fifth professional title in a row when he emerged victorious at the 10th leg of the Malaysian Tour at the National Squash Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The World No. 66, who was the top seed at this tournament, edged the second seeded Mohd Syafiq Kamal of Malaysia, 11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 9-11, 11-6 in a tough final to win the title.
This is Sandhu’s 10th international triumph overall.
Did not drop a game en route to the final
Sandhu had been in impeccable form at this event and did not even drop a single game en route to the summit showdown. He accounted for the local wildcard Ong Sai Hung 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 in just 18 minutes in the first round. He then followed it up with a slightly tougher 12-10, 12-10, 11-8 win over his compatriot Ramit Tandon in the quarter-finals.
That was the stiffest resistance Sandhu got from anyone before the finals.
The semi-finals also proved to be a cakewalk as he needed just 23 minutes to prevail 11-1, 11-8, 11-8 over the Malaysian ace Darren Rahul Pragasam.
Kamal had been a familiar opponent for the Indian. They had met six times prior to this meeting in the final but the Malaysian has never been able to get the better of the Indian.
This time too, there was no exception even though Kamal put up a gutsy fight only to fade away in the decider.
21st international match win in a row
This was a staggering 21st international match win in a row for the Indian. The winning streak started at the Malaysian Tour in May. He then continued it at the Makati Open, the South Australian Open, the Victorian Open and now the Malaysian Tour again.
In the last four months, Sandhu has lost only one match and that came at the Indian National Championships where he was edged by Mahesh Mangaonkar in five gruelling games in the semi-finals.
The Indian Squash Academy trainee’s efforts have been hailed by the national coach Cyrus Poncha.
“A fabulous win for Harinder and we are proud of him,” said Poncha.