Kush Kumar enters the semi-finals of the British Junior Open Squash Championship
Sheffield, January 5 (IANS)
Kush Kumar, the Indian Under-19 champion, stood up to the Egyptian surge in the British Junior Open Squash Championship with a 3-2 win over Amr Arafa to enter the semi-finals here.
However, two other Indians, Velavan Senthilkumar (U-17) and Tushar Shahani (U-15) lost their respective quarter-final matches to Egyptian opponents on Sunday.
While Kush overcame Arafa 11-9, 5-11, 4-11, 11-5, 15-13 in an hour-long thriller, Youssef Ebrahim put out Senthilkumar 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10 and second seed Mostafa Assal eased past Shahani 11-3, 11-0, 11-5 in just 21 minutes.
Kush, who faces second seed Egyptian Omar El Atmas in the semi-final scheduled for Monday night, showed rare character to survive three match balls in the fifth game to clinch a dramatic tie that left Arafa stunned.
Kush took the first game but the Egyptian, showing no ill-effects of a long match in the previous round, recovered to win the next two before the Indian fought back to claim the fourth to set up a thrilling decider.
The duo fought point for point. Kush led 10-9 but couldn't finish it off. Arafa then went ahead 11-10, 12-11 and 13-12. On the first of the match balls, the Egyptian all but won only to see Kush successfully appealing for a let which put the game on level terms.
The Indian moved to 14-13 lead to reach match ball at which stage, following a rally, Arafa asked for a let which was denied and Kush was through to the semi-finals.