Incheon: The Indian squash contingent today assured its best ever showing at the Asian Games by reaching the men's and women's team semifinals here today, ensuring it returns home with medals in all four categories on offer.
The Indian women's team including Dipika Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa dispatched China 3-0 to top Pool B after the men cruised past Japan with an identical scoreline at the Yeorumul Squash Courts here.
Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal
While the women face hosts South Korea in the semifinals, the men will know about their semifinal opponents after their final league match against Malaysia later in the day. The winner of the match will top the group.
In any case, both Indian teams will pocket at least a bronze medal for the reaching the semifinals, just like they did in Guangzhou four years ago. India are also set to surpass their 2010 tally of three bronze, having won a bronze and silver through Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal, respectively.
Though Indian women are expected to see through Korea, Pallikal said it will be tough to face them in front of their
home crowd. "I think it will be a good match. It is going to be tough playing against them in front of their home crowd but we have to be confident and go all out tomorrow," World No.12 Pallikal told PTI.
"Facing every player is going to be dangerous. We need to have a game plan and believe in our game," she added. The other semifinal will see mighty Malaysia take on Hong Kong, whom India beat yesterday to top their pool. The settled Indian unit comfortably dealt with the Chinese challenge today. In the reverse playing order of 3-2-1, World No.21 Chinappa took 22 minutes to get past Jinyue Gu 11-5 11-7 11-8.
Anaka Alankamony took a minute extra than her teammate to beat Chen Xiu 12-10 11-7 11-8. Pallikal was surprised by Dongjin Li in the first game of the third singles before she came back strongly to settle the tie in India's favour. She won 6-11 11-6 11-6 11-5.
The men's team hardly broke a sweat against Japan. Mahesh Mangaonkar gave India a winning start, thrashing Tsukue Shinnosuke 11-5 11-4 11-4 before Harinder Pal Sandhu got the better of Takanori Shimizu 11-3 11-8 11-5. World No.16 Ghosal, playing his first match of the team event, outplayed Yuta Fukui 11-7 11-6 11-6 in 20 minutes, sending India into the semifinals.