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Saurav Ghosal advances to the second round in the Windy City squash open in Chicago

He is the only Indian left in the main draw.

Saurav Ghosal in action

Indian national champion Saurav Ghosal escaped by a whisker to get past a fighting Omar Abdel Mequid, the Egyptian qualifier in a round one match of the Windy City Open, a $150,000 PSA world series event in Chicago. The Indian won 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 in a match of high standards and a touch of sportsman spirit as well by the Egyptian in the end.

Having come via the qualifying phase did not mean Omar was short on anything. He had come to the tournament after winning three smaller events earlier. The power-packed player has a reputation of unsettling the best of men on court and Saurav got a taste. The Indian is also known for his hard fighting spirit and expectedly it was a thrilling start. Points went neck and neck before the Egyptian jumped to 10-8 game ball situation only to find Saurav forcing a tie-break. Omar still had the last laugh. However, things turned in the Indian's favour thanks to a change in strategy.

Dictating the speed, Saurav was able to nudge ahead and led two games and was 6-4 in the fourth when Omar came up with a series of winners to grab the advantage. The fight spilled over the decider and till 8-all it was anybody's game before the Indian sat pretty at 10-8 match ball. A stunning low shot from Omar looked doubtful to Saurav but not the Referee who gave the point to the Egyptian but the latter instead signalled that he had not taken the ball clean and sportingly shook hands with Saurav to indicate that the point was the Indian's not his. The match ended there on a high note.

Two other Indians had made a bid to make it to the main draw but their run ended in the quarterfinal phase. Mahesh Mangaonkar was beaten by Declan James England in the first round 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6. Similar was the fate of Sachika Ingale. Egypt's Hania Elhammamy beat her in the first round 11-3, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6.

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