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Domestic squash Challenger: Akshaya Sri on a roll, men's top seeds bite the dust

Chennai squash player Akshaya Sri in action at the Domestic Challenger event in Chennai.
Chennai squash player Akshaya Sri in action at the Domestic Challenger event in Chennai.
Hari Kishore M

Chennai squash player Akshaya Sri is on a roll at the SRFI Indian Tour Domestic Challenger event in Chennai. After toppling seeded players on Monday, Akshaya Sri continued her good form on Tuesday and beat third seed Sachika Balvani in straight games (3-0) in the quarter-finals.

The Chennai squash player led from the beginning and controlled the match, which lasted only 19 minutes.

Akshaya Sri will play top-seeded Sunanya Kuruvilla, who defeated Urwashi Joshi in four games (3-1), in what promises to be a pulsating semi-final.

The second semi-final will be contested between second seed Tanvi Khanna and fourth seed Aparajitha Balamurukan. Tanvi Khanna got the better of Janet Vidhi 3-0 while Aparajitha Balamurukan beat Abhisheka Shanon 3-0 in their respective quarter-finals.

Top seeds bite the dust in men's squash quarter-finals

In the men's quarter-final, second seed Harinder Pal Sandhu retired hurt after just 13 points in his match against Velavan Senthilkumar. The Indian player had to call it quits due to a groin strain.

Velavan Senthilkumar will next meet Abhishek Agarwal, who comfortably defeated Kanhav Nanavati 3-0 to advance to the semi-finals.

Later, sixth seed Abhishek Pradan upset top seed Abhay Singh in straight games (3-0) in another quarterfinal.

Read: Sunayna Kuruvilla leaving no stone unturned to roar back into form

Abhay seemed to be completely off-color, going down without a fight. Abhishek Pradhan will meet Rahul Baitha in the semi-final after the latter got the better of third seed Aadit Zaveri 3-0 in the quarter-finals.

More squash tournaments coming up

With the PSA extending the option of hosting domestic and cross-border events with a 50% reduction in prize money, the players in the Domestic Challenger squash tournament will compete for a prize money of US$6,000 for men and US$6,000 for women.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and keeping the players' safety in mind, the Domestic Challenger squash tournament will be played in a complete bio-bubble environment, strictly following all COVID-19 protocols.

To help all Indian players regain lost ground, more squash tournaments are in the offing. Cyrus Poncha, the Secretary General of SRFI, said:

"We are delighted to have squash activities in India once again. Domestic PSA squash events are an opportunity for Indian players to make their mark and, for a few, make their debut at PSA events. We plan to conduct more squash tournaments, with the next one scheduled to be held at SNU, Noida, from September 4 to September 7."

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee

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