Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal will lead India’s challenge at the British Open Squash Championships beginning here today. The prestigious event is the oldest on the calendar.
World No 15 Pallikal plays her opening match against 22nd ranked Line Hansen of Denmark at the KC Stadium on Tuesday. Provided the Indian overcomes the first hurdle, she is expected to meet local favourite and World No 2 Laura Massaro in the round of 16. Dipika last played against the English player at the 2012 Australian Open semi-finals where she lost after leading 9-5 in the decider.
“It is about time I beat top-10 players regularly and no better spectacle to do that than the British Open,” said Dipika, who is training with five-time World Open winner Sarah Fitz-Gerald.
“Training with Sarah is always an enriching experience. The tournament is loved by all players on tour, I am really keen to do well here,” said Dipika, who has slipped out of the top-10 after becoming the first Indian to do so last December.
Another Indian Joshana Chinappa will have to qualify for the main draw. Malaysia’s World No 1 Nicol David will be eying her fifth British Open title. In the men’s category, World No 19 Ghosal faces a qualifier today and is drawn to meet fourth seed Gregory Gaultier in the second round.
Much like Dipika, Ghosal has been in the top-20s for sometime and is eager to work his way up the ladder. “It is very difficult to answer when I will start beating higher-ranked players.
Training wise, I have been doing all I can. It is the mental side of the game I need to work on,” Ghosal said. Egypt’s Ramy Ashour has been given the top billing ahead of defending champion Nick Matthew of England.