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India post emphatic win to book place in the last 16 of Squash World Championship

636   //    11 Jun 2013, 03:05 IST


India booked their place in the last 16 with a commanding 3-0 win over Finland in their second Pool H match at Men’s World Team Championship in Mulhouse, France.

After the tight escape against Argentina, Indian team made the bold choice of bringing in Ramit Tandon in place of Harinder Pal Sandhu. The gamble paid rich dividends as Ramit Tandon tamed the dangerous Henrik Mustonen in the opening game and set India on course for a 3-0 win that takes us to top of the Pool.

22-year old Henrik Mustonen, who has just achieved a career best 36th in world rankings, a whopping 196 places higher than Ramit, was a heavy favourite going into the match. The young lad showed no fear and went for the jugular, volleying brilliantly to give Henrik Mustonen the run around. Ramit wrapped up the first game to four as a shell-shocked Henrik tried to figure out what hit him in those opening minutes. There was no letting up from Ramit as he continued his attacking style, going for his volleys and backhand drops to torment the Finnish No.2.  Henrik, who is coming off a good run on the PSA Tour, found some hope in the third game as Ramit lost the edge a little. With the match ball in sight, Ramit kept his nerves, and kept the ball in play instead of going for the kill. Henrik took advantage of that little window of doubt to snatch the third game.

But the Indian team snapped Ramit out of his momentary lapse and the lethal weapon was back in play, putting away the point at every chance with a snap volley to the front or a backhand drop that was just out of reach of an exasperated Mustonen.

Yesterday’s hero Mahesh Mangaonkar was next on court and proved too powerful for Matias Tuomi. Mahesh went in as a heavy favourite and stamped his authority early on and never let go. Mahesh unleashed his power, smashing some hard balls across the court and romped home in style, winning 11/4 11/7 11/7 to seal the win and a last 16 spot for the Indians leaving Saurav Ghosal to play out a dead rubber. With the match won, Saurav Ghosal and Olli Tuominen would have been forgiven for playing out a dull match in the dead rubber. But the seasoned professionals were locked in a high-quality battle that was good value for the money. World No.20 Saurav Ghosal played his usual high-intensity game using his youthful exuberance to tease and torment the “Flying Finn” to complete a very impressive 3-0 win over Finaland.

A jubilant coach Cyrus said, “I am very delighted with what happened today. I am proud of how they performed today and am looking forward to the match against Venezuela tomorrow.”

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