Friday proved to be a day of triple delight for the Indian squash contingent at the Victorian Open as all three of Dipika Pallikal, Harinderpal Sandhu and Kush Kumar booked their places in the semi-finals of this PSA $10, 000 event in Melbourne, Australia.
Pallikal, who is the top seed at this tournament, overcame a tough challenge from the eighth seed Megan Craig of New Zealand. The World No. 19 needed 40 minutes to beat the 23-year-old, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8.
The reigning Indian national champion will next face the 54th ranked Egyptian Nouran El Torky in her quest for a place in Sunday’s final.
Big upset for Kush Kumar
Rising 20-year-old squash ace Kush Kumar caused a huge upset in the men’s draw to reach the semi-finals. The eighth seed put up a remarkable show of resilience to come back from two games down and beat the fourth seed Reiko Peter of Switzerland, 10-12, 5-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6. The match lasted 60 minutes.
The former junior World Championships bronze medallist will next meet the second seed and local star Rex Hedrick in the semi-finals.
The other Indian in the fray – Harinderpal Sandhu – too did not have it easy. The 27-year-old fought off a gritty challenge from the seventh seed Evan Williams of New Zealand to emerge a 9-11, 11-2, 11-2, 11-7 winner in 51 minutes.
Sandhu is in great form and recently reached the final of the National Squash Championships a few days back where he lost to Saurav Ghosal. Up next for him is a very tough opposition as he squares off against the top seed Joe Lee of England.