Saurav and Joshna in finalAugust 26, 2017
Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa made the men’s and women’s finals of the 74th HCL National squash championship at the Shiv Nadar University Indoor Complex here on Friday.
The two, with 25 National championship titles between them with Joshna having 14, will face familiar opponents.
Saurav, who was clinical in defeating Kush Kumar 11-3, 11-3, 11-4, will be challenged by Mahesh Mangaonkar, whom he had beaten in the final a few years ago.
Mahesh, who is based in the Hague in the Netherlands as a professional player in recent months, was at his fighting best as he tamed second seed Harinder Pal Singh 12-10 in the fifth game, converting his second “match ball”.
“I had beaten Harry last time in the semifinals and lost to Saurav in the final in straight games. I am happy with the way I am playing after not playing for two weeks.
“I need to rectify a few things, but I will be ready tomorrow,” said Mahesh, who could combine power with finesse in a thriller.
Harinder played well in patches and lost his focus in the fifth game, arguing with the umpire on many calls.
Saurav was happy that he could execute his game, especially after a smash from close quarters from a “tight angle” by Kush, caught him unawares, but luckily hit his racquet.
“He is really a good player. As long as I enjoy playing, which I did today, it is good. I am focused on what I am capable of, and not think about what my opponent might do,” said Saurav, after an exquisite all-round game.
It was inspiring fare from Lakshya Ragavendran, a fifth year Architecture student of Anna University in Chennai.
After losing the first game, in which she had led 6-4, Lakshya turned the match dramatically in the second game that was delicately poised.
Urwashi Joshi, who had played many matches with Lakshya over the last few years, fought back from being 3-9 in that second game and held a “game ball” at 10-9 before an error of judgement cost her a “stroke”.
Lakshya missed another game point as Urwashi placed deftly, but smashed flawless on the next chance to be on par.
Thereafter, she ran through the next two games, even as Urwashi lost steam.
The results (semifinals):
Men: Saurav Ghosal bt Kush Kumar 11-3, 11-3, 11-4; Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Harinder Pal Singh 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10.
Women: Joshna Chinappa bt Tanvi Khanna 11-3, 11-7, 11-5; Lakshya Ragavendran bt Urwashi Joshi 6-11, 14-12, 11-4, 11-1 .