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Victorian Open: Harinder Pal Sandhu wins fourth title in a row

Harinder Pal Sandhu with the trophy at the Victorian Open in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday.
Harinder Pal Sandhu with the trophy at the Victorian Open in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 16 Jul 2017
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Indian squash ace Harinder Pal Sandhu continues his rampage on the PSA circuit when he annexed his fourth title in a row at the $10, 000 Victorian Open in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday. The third seed stormed back from a one-game deficit to upset the top seed Rex Hedrick of Australia, 12-14, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 in a 77-minute summit clash.

Considering that Hedrick is placed at 61st in the world rankings and is 16 spots above the Indian, this was a commendable feat indeed.

This is Sandhu’s ninth PSA title overall.

17-match winning streak for Sandhu

This is the fourth title in a row on the professional circuit for the 28-year-old Chandigarh-born player, who has been a former national champion. This win also helped extend his winning streak to a stunning 17 matches now.

Sandhu has been in impeccable form for the past couple of months and has won the Malaysian Tour and the Makati Open in May followed by the South Australian Open and now the Victorian Open this month.

His last loss came in the quarter-finals of the Asian Championships held at home in Chennai in April.

Unique record for Sandhu

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With his ninth title win, the 2014 national champion overtakes Ritwik Bhattacharya’s mark of eight to become the Indian male player with the highest number of professional titles.

At this week’s Victorian Open, he had not dropped a game all week until the final. In the first round, he beat Syed Azlan Amjad, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 and followed it up with a comfortable 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 win over the seventh seeded Rhys Dowling. In the semi-finals, he faced the second seed and World No. 71 Piedro Schweertman but was still able to emerge an 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 winner.

Hedrick was the first one to snatch a game off the Indian this week. But his joy was short-lived as the Indian roared back into contention soon after.

Combining power with precision, he grabbed the next two games with consummate ease and immediately put the Australian on the back foot. In the fourth game even though Hedrick gave some resistance, it was still not enough to derail the highly confident Sandhu.

Published 16 Jul 2017, 18:32 IST
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