Away from the glamour of the Rio Olympics 2016, India’s squash queen Dipika Pallikal is making her quiet progress half-way across the globe in Australia. The World No. 19 who is the top seed at the PSA $10, 000 Victorian Open, stormed into the final in Melbourne on Saturday.
The 24-year-old convincingly beat the 54th ranked Egyptian Nouran El Torky, 11-4, 11-4, 11-2 in just 24 minutes. This will be the 17th PSA final of Pallikal’s illustrious career.
She will meet the second seed Millie Tomlinson of England in her quest for her first PSA title of the year.
The Englishwoman had a far tougher battle in the semis where she had to overcome a gritty fight from the sixth-seeded Egyptian Mayar Hany to emerge an 11-3, 12-10 3-11, 9-11, 11-7 winner. It remains to be seen how much energy she will have left on Sunday against a speedy player like Pallikal.
As for the Indian, she is currently in impeccable form and began the new season with a confidence-boosting win at the National Squash Championships where she beat Joshna Chinappa for her second Nationals crown.
Sandhu, Kumar out
The other Indians did not enjoy such a great fortune, though. Both the men in action – third seed Harinderpal Sandhu and eighth seed Kush Kumar – bowed out in the semi-finals.
The former national champion Sandhu fought hard in the third game but went down, 8-11, 4-11, 10-12 to the top seed Joe Lee of England. The match lasted a marathon 59 minutes.
20-year-old Kumar too had a tough opposition and he succumbed to a 5-11, 7-11, 5-11 defeat to the second seed Rex Hedrick of Australia in 45 minutes.