Incheon: Indian men and women moved into semifinals of the Asian Games team squash competition here Thursday and were assured of two more medals, certainly bronze if not of a better hue.
The men's team defeated Japan 3-0 to ensure a berth in the semifinals before going down 1-2 to Group B topper Malaysia in the last match at the Yeorumul Squash Courts and set up a clash with Kuwait in the knock-out phase commencing Friday.
The team finished Group B at the second place, thereby entering the semis which will definitely entitle them to a bronze.
Mahesh Mangaonkar, Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Saurav Ghosal won their respective matches comfortably to help India register third straight victory. India had defeated Jordan and China in their earlier matches.
Mangaonkar started the Indian campaign aggressively, thrashing Japan's Shinnosuke Tsuke 3-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-4).
Up next, Sandhu had a facile 3-0 (11-3, 11-8, 11-5) win over Takanori Shimizu to give India an unassailable 2-0 lead.
In the final match, Ghosal, fresh from his silver medal winning effort in the individual event Tuesday, didn't allow Yuta Fukui to settle down. The 28-year-old Indian took just 20 minutes to wrap up the match 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
In their last group game, India lost 1-2 to Malaysia but it didn't hamper their medal chances. Every match went on expected lines though against Malaysia, India did not field Saurav Ghosal, preferring to rest him for the important tie in the semi-final.
Sandhu lost to Mohammed Adnan Mohd Nafizwan Bin 4-11, 12-10, 8-11,11-8, 4-11 and Kush Kumar went down lost to Iskandar Mohd Azlan Bin 10-12, 7-11, 11-5, 10-12. India pulled one back with Mangaonkar, who was leading 11-9, 11-3, 11-1 when his opponent Ong Beng Hee decided to retire.
The Indian women defeated China 3-0 in their last league match to top Group B and thus qualified for the semi-finals where they face hosts South Korea. The semi-final will take place Friday.
Joshna Chinappa, Anaka Alankamony and Dipika Pallikal all won their respective singles matches to help the team register its third win in a row and top the standings.
Joshna set the ball rolling for India, thrashing Jinyue Gu 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-8) to provide a 1-0 lead, which doubled after Anaka beat Chen Xiu 3-0 (12-10, 11-7, 11-8) in the second rubber.
In the final match, Dipika, who won individual singles bronze earlier, dropped the first game 6-11 to Dongjin Li before finding form to win the next three games 11-6, 11-5, 11-5, making it 3-0 for India.
Earlier, India won a historic silver thanks to Ghosal in the singles while Dipika had settled for the singles bronze.
The results (League)
Men: India beat Japan 3-0 (Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Tsukue Shinnosuke 11-5, 11-4, 11-4; Harinder Pal Sandhu bt Shimizu Takanori 11-3, 11-8, 11-5; Saurav Ghosal bt Fukui Yuta11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
India lost to Malaysia 1-2 (Harinder Pal Sandhu lost to Mohd Adnan Mohd Nafizwan Bin 4-11, 12-10, 8-11,11-8, 4-11; Kush Kumar lost to Iskandar Mohd Azlan Bin 10-12, 7-11, 11-5, 10-12; Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Ong Beng Hee 11-9, 11-3, 11-1 (retd).
Women: India beat China 3-0 (Joshna Chinappa bt Gu Jinyue 11-5, 11-7, 11-8; Anaka Alankamony bt Xiu Chen 12-10, 11-7, 11-8; Dipika Pallikal bt Li Dongjin 6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5).