Sweet 16 for Joshna; maiden title for MaheshDecember 17, 2018
It was a heady climax as Joshna Chinappa won her 16th title and Mahesh Mangaonkar wrestled with Vikram Malhotra in a thriller to win his maiden crown in the HCL 75th National squash championship here on Sunday.
Joshna overcame a stiff start to outplay the second seed Urwashi Joshi 9-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-5. Joshna, who won her maiden crown in 2000 as a 14-year-old, equalled Bhuvaneshwari Kumari’s record of 16 national titles.
Top seed Mahesh survived three championship points and an intense battle to beat Vikram 11-4, 13-15, 11-2, 5-11, 15-13.
What set the tone was the manner in which Vikram overcame a sedate start and fought hard from 9-9 in the second game saving a game point to be on par.
“I had lost to him two years ago in the PSA final. Happy that I hung in really tough today. I could have played a lot better, but am happy with the national title. It was a mental battle and we were playing at the same level,” said Mahesh.
Joshna felt that the unpredictability of domestic rivals, in the absence of Dipika Pallikal, often tended to make her lose focus. It was “crazy” to play with so much of sunlight on the court, and that was a little unsettling for Joshna.
“Urwashi has great hands and played the best that I had seen her. I love playing the national championship,” said Joshna.
The president of the International Squash Federation N. Ramachandran congratulated the champions and commended the runners-up before giving away the prizes.
The results: Men: Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Vikram Malhotra 11-4, 13-15, 11-2, 5-11, 15-13.
Women: Joshna Chinappa bt Urwashi Joshi 9-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-5.