India's highest ranking professional Saurav Ghosal kept the country's hopes alive in the USD 35,000 CCI Open Squash Championships here when he downed Egyptian rival Mohamed Abouelghar 3-1 at the Cricket Club of India's courts today.
Ghosal, world no. 15 and seeded no. 2 here, wore his opponent down without seemingly in full control of his shots. He carved out a 11-9 11-13 11-5 11-9 victory in 55 minutes.
Ghosal would take on Mazen Hesham of Egypt in the semi final tomorrow following the latter's hard-fought 3-2 win over countryman Omar Abdel Meguid in another quarter final clash that lasted 72 minutes.
The other semi final will pit Spain's top-seeded Boria Golan against South Africa's Shaun Le Roux.
In the match against eight-time national champion Ghosal, his Egyptian rival Abouelghar showed flashes of brilliance but was error-prone, which was his undoing.
Ghosal stayed on top of some tricky pick-ups throughout, forcing some overeager errors from Abouelghar.
"It was just a barrage," Ghosal said after the game in praise of his rival's shots.
"There was some ridiculous shot-making by him. I was just telling myself I have to stick in and make it hard for him and hope he can't keep up making the shots he wanted. I had to dig pretty hard to get him frustrated. There was no rhythm whatsoever. I tried to make it as hard as I could,' the Indian professional remarked.
His semi final opponent Hesham had a tough match against Meguid that could have gone either way at several points in the play. "I felt like I got everything from within," Hesham said.
"I really tried in the fifth game. I was panicking a bit because of the injury earlier in the match. But I was really lucky to win this match. This is my first tournament as a top 20 player, so I need to earn my place. I tried my best and am happy with my fighting spirit. I played with all my heart. That's what it takes to win against someone like that."
Top seed Golan ousted Adrian Waller of England, last week's NSCI Open champion, 3-0 in another 41-minute quarter final.
Golan, who has lost to Waller the last two times the players faced off, clearly came in with a plan to keep Waller off the T, and it worked in the first two games. By the third, Waller seemed stymied and an unusual string of unforced errors helped send the game and match to Golan 11-8, 11-6, 11-3 in 41 minutes.
South Africa's Le Roux defeated Karim Ali Fathi of Egypt 3-1 in 51 minutes in a match in which the referee repeatedly admonished the players not to address each other. The former won 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1.