Indian squash players Harinderpal Sandhu, Kush Kumar and Sandeep Ramachandran sailed into the second round of the PSA $10, 000 Victorian Open 2016 as the new season got under way at Melbourne, Australia on Wednesday.
Sandhu, seeded third, thrashed Englishman Connor Sheen, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 in 26 minutes.
Kumar and Ramachandran, in contrast, had tougher paths to Round 2. The 19-year-old Ramachandran, who has been doing well on the circuit of late, came back from a game down to beat Australian Rohan Toole, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7. The match lasted 36 minutes.
The Dubai-based Indian is a qualifier at this event and earlier defeated Caillin Austin, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 in the qualifying final round.
Eighth seed Kumar too needed four games to prevail over Korean Ko Youngjo, 11-4, 11-2, 7-11, 11-7 in 42 minutes. Sandeep and Kush are now scheduled to meet each other in the next round while Sandhu plays the 110th ranked Lance Beddoes for a place in the quarter-finals.
Sachika Ingale out; Dipika Pallikal top seed
On the women’s side, however, India did not enjoy such good fortunes. The only Indian woman in action on Wednesday – the 80th ranked Sachika Ingale – bowed out in the qualifying finals. Ingale went down 6-11, 4-11, 8-11 to Danielle Letourneau of Canada in just 18 minutes.
Earlier, the Indian had beaten local player Grazia Guida 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 in the first round of qualifying.
India will still have representation in the women’s draw as World No. 19 Dipika Pallikal is the top seed. She begins her campaign on Thursday against qualifier Teh Min Jie of Malaysia.