Harinder Pal Sandhu and Dipika Pallikal won the Mumbai leg of the men's and women's singles respectively of the JSW Challenger Squash Circuit at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) courts yesterday.
Harinder Pal Sandhu with his trophy
While Sandhu had a comparatively easier outing, beating Egypt's Shehab Essam Hosny 11-9, 11-7, 11-7), Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist Dipika had to fight for every point before she beat Egypt's Nouran El Torky 14-12, 12-10, 11-7.
Soon after, there was a pleasant surprise waiting for Pallikal, in the form of her fiancé cricketer Dinesh Karthik, who dropped by to watch the final. "Dinesh is in Mumbai for a camp with the Tamil Nadu cricket team. He wasn't sure of coming to watch my final, so it's sweet of him to come," said Pallikal.
Dipika Pallikal (left) returns to Egypt's Nouran El Torky in the JSW squash Mumbai leg final at NSCI yesterday
The World No 10 said that had there been tournaments like these during the start of her career, things would have been a lot easier for her.
"When I started playing squash, I had to travel abroad to play such events and earn ranking points. If I had more opportunities of playing in India, my rankings would've been a lot better," said Pallikal, who is now looking forward to playing in front of her to-be in-laws at the Chennai leg of the event.
"Dinesh's parents are flying to Chennai to celebrate Diwali. They are extending their stay to watch me play in the Chennai leg, so I'm looking forward to that."