The Indian campaign came to an end at the Hong Kong Open 2016 on Thursday with the India No. 1 Joshna Chinappa’s loss in the second round to the eighth seed and World No. 7 Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt. The World No. 12 gave a tough fight to her higher-ranked rival in the second game but it was not enough as she went down 8-11, 10-12, 4-11 in 24 minutes.
The 29-year-old Joshna was the only Indian to win a round in the main draw at this tournament as she made short work of 19-year-old Egyptian qualifier Nadine Shahin, 12-10, 11-3, 11-6 in the first round.
The Chennai girl was the last Indian standing at the season’s first World Series event after the exits of the two reigning national champions, Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal in the first round on Wednesday. Pallikal had arrived in this tournament, bubbling with confidence after capturing the $15, 000 Australian Open crown – her first title win on the PSA Tour since February, 2015.
She put up a spirited performance after going two games down and stretched the match into a decider. But ultimately the World No. 19 ran out of steam as she succumbed to a 4-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11 defeat to the Frenchwoman.
As for Ghosal, this was just his first PSA match since April as an ankle injury had kept him out of action for two-and-a-half months. The 30-year-old only returned to competition this July and grabbed a record 11th title at the Nationals.
He is gradually getting back to his earlier form and fitness but he faced a very tough opponent in the opening round at Hong Kong – former World No. 1 Ramy Ashour, who beat him, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10.
Earlier in the qualifying rounds, India’s Harinderpal Sandhu and Mahesh Mangaonkar bowed out.
Men’s World No. 1 crashes out
Being the very first event on the PSA World Series calendar, the top players are yet to get into a rhythm so early into the season. Thus the tournament has already witnessed a slew of upsets.
On Thursday, the Hong Kong Open 2016 witnessed the biggest upset as the men’s World No. 1 and defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt crashed out in the second round. Elshorbagy fell at the hands of the 14th ranked Cameron Pilley of Australia in a gruelling battle, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 12-14, 9-11 in a 91-minute marathon.