Dipika Pallikal overcomes Line Hansen

Dipika Pallikal reached the pre-quarter-finals of the Allam British Open Squash Championships after edging out Denmark’s Line Hansen in the longest match of the tournament so far.

Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal
Dipika Pallikal and ( inset) Saurav Ghosal

World No 15 Pallikal and her Danish opponent battled it out for 76 minutes before the Indian scraped through with a 13-11, 14-16, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4 result at Ponterfact, about fifty miles from here.

The Indian said she was lucky to get over the line against 22nd-ranked Hansen in the first round match played late on Tuesday night. “I was not as patient as I could have been for most part of the match. She (Hansen) has improved a lot and I knew it would be a tough match,” Pallikal told IANS.

“In the deciding fifth game, I told myself to stay patient and stay in there in the rallies. And that helped.” The action now shifts to the multi-purpose KC Stadium where the round of 16 matches will be staged in an outdoor glass court.

Pallikal next plays local favourite Laura Massaro today and she knows she will have to come up with something special against the number two seed. She will also have to adjust to the outdoor conditions.

“For starters, I would have to be a lot more patient than I was in this game. The venue is an outdoor one so the balls are going to be more dead, and I have to choose the right one,” she added.

Pallikal last played against Massaro at the 2012 Australian Open semi-finals where she lost after leading 9-5 in the decider. Pallikal, who slipped out of the top-10 after becoming the first Indian to do so last December, has been training with five-time World Open winner Sarah Fitz-Gerald.  Earlier, India’s Joshana Chinappa was beaten by World No 1 and defending champion Nicol David.

Ghosal beaten
Meanwhile, India’s Saurav Ghosal was sent packing by fourth seed Gregory Gaultier in their second round encounter. The World No 19 lost 8-11, 13-11, 7-11, 0-11 against the Frenchman.

Ghosal had beaten Jonathan Kemp 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 in his first round match. The British Open is the world’s oldest tournament which makes a return to Yorkshire after almost 40 years.

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