India Squash Nationals: Joshna Chinappa sets up blockbuster final with Dipika Pallikal
Since the beginning of the 73rd Senior National Squash Championships at the Otters Club in Bandra, Mumbai this week, all eyes were on the final clash in the women’s draw. And now it will be a reality as the top two superstars of Indian women’s squash – Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal – have set up a blockbuster summit showdown to be played on Sunday.
Chinappa, seeded first and Pallkal, seeded second, had it very easy in the semi-finals on Saturday. World No. 10 Joshna dismissed the reigning U-17 Sub-junior National champion Akanksha Salunkhe 11-6, 11-2, 11-4.
The 19th ranked Dipika too hardly broke a sweat during her 11-6, 11-1, 11-4 win over the India No. 3 Sachika Ingale.
After her win in 2011, Pallikal did not participate in the following four editions of the premier domestic squash tournament of India, calling for equal prize money for women. That deprived the squash fans a great opportunity to see the Commonwealth Games doubles gold medal winning teammates fighting against each other on Indian soil.
With the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) finally relenting to Dipika’s demands this year, the 24-year-old has participated once again and will try her best to stop her Tamil Nadu statemate from winning her 15th Nationals title.
The last time the two met it was Pallikal who emerged as the winner in four games at the Granite Open in February, 2015.
It’s Ghosal vs Sandhu in men’s final
The men’s final is no less exciting. 10-time winner Saurav Ghosal and 2014 champion Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu will be crossing swords once again in the title decider on Sunday. Both of them had to work extra hard for their respective semi-final wins.
While the 17th ranked Ghosal notched up a 11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 win over Vikram Malhotra, Sandhu emerged a 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8 winner over the second seed Mahesh Mangaonkar.
Sandhu and Ghosal have met in the final the last two years, sharing the honours. But what is most interesting is that both times the match was stretched to five games, making it an absolutely thrilling encounter.
Hopefully this time too, there will be no exception.