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Victorian Open: Harinderpal Sandhu upsets second seed to reach final

Sandhu continued his fine run
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 16 Jul 2017
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Indian squash ace Harinderpal Sandhu continued his dominant run on the PSA circuit as he reached the final of the $10, 000 Victorian Open in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday. The former Indian national champion, seeded fourth, needed just 35 minutes to dismiss the challenge of the second seeded Piedro Schweertman of the Netherlands, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 in the semi-finals.

In Sunday’s summit clash, Sandhu will face the top seed Rex Hedrick. The Australian World No. 61 last tasted title-winning glory way back in April, 2016 during the Malaysian Tour.

Sandhu on a 16-match winning streak

The Indian, on the other hand, has been in impeccable form and is now on a stunning 16-match winning streak that saw him win titles at the Malaysian Tour, the Makati Open and the South Australian Open.

His latest triumph came just last week and he has carried that confidence into this week’s Victorian Open.

Yet to drop a game all through the week, he has been a picture of consistency. In the first round, he beat Qatari player, Syed Azlan Amjad, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7. He followed it up with a comfortable 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 win over the seventh seed Rhys Dowling. It was his second win over the 22-year-old in as many weeks that enabled him to set up a semi-final showdown with Schweertman.

Sandhu is placed six ranking spots below the 71st ranked Schweertman but he had absolutely no difficulty in getting the better of his higher-ranked opponent in Saturday’s last-four clash. He was in control from start to finish and never allowed the Dutchman to settle into the match and build his own rhythm.

This fluent, immaculate performance was in sharp contrast to the struggle that the Indian had in beating Schweertman at the semi-finals of the South Australian Open this month itself. He needed four games to halt the latter in that match, ultimately emerging an 11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 11-9 winner.

This time there was no such drama and no fumble from the in-form Indian at all. He will hope to replicate that performance in the summit clash to extend his winning streak further.

Published 16 Jul 2017
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