Indian women created history by winning their maiden Asian Team Squash title as they beat Hong Kong 2-0 in the final late on Saturday night. India, however, went down 0-2 to Pakistan in the men’s final. In the women’s final, Joshna Chinnappa, ranked 71st, put in a vintage performance as she overcame World No 16 Joey Chan 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 in 38 minutes to put India 1-0 ahead. Following up on this stirring victory, Dipika Pallikal, ranked 14, defeated World No 7 Anne Au 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 in 32 minutes to wrap up the title.
Joshna was unperturbed by the difference in rankings and stamped her class right from the beginning. She took advantage of the fact that the evening before, Joey had to endure five hard games against her Malaysian counterpart Delia Arnold. Joshna’s aggressive play was laced with delicate drops and deception that was simply too much for Joey to handle as she dropped the first game 11-3 in less than 10 minutes.
The Indian was was equally impressive in the second game that she won 11-8 just as Joey seemed to be warming up. The Hong Kong star was the better player in the third game and her shots were more effective as she had Joshna scurrying around the court. Unaffected by the loss of third game, Joshna came back with a vengeance and wrapped up the fourth game and match to give India the much needed first point.
Dipika went in next against Annie Au who is ranked sixth in the world. Dipika has never beaten Annie in a tournament before but this does not matter. Dipika’s aggression seemed effective against Annie who is renowned for a steady lob and drop game. The Indian kept the pressure on throughout the match with her aggressive play and Annie did not have any answers. Annie made a gallant fight back in the third, but Dipika held her nerves to claw back from 4-7 winning 6 straight points to help India collect their first ever Asian senior women’s title.
In contrast, the Indian men went down to Pakistan in a close final that could have gone either way as both the singles went the distance. Saurav Ghosal squandered a 2-0 advantage and went down in five games to Pakistan’s Farhan Mehboob in the first singles. The story was much the same in the second singles as Siddharth Suchde, trailing 0-2, did well to extend it to five games.
Men: Pakistan beat India 2-0: Farhan Mehboob bt Saurav Ghosal 10-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9; Farhan Zaman bt Siddharth Suchde 11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 7-11, 11-9;
Women: India beat Hong Kong 2-0: Joshna Chinnappa bt Joey Chan 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8; Dipika Pallikal bt Anne Au 11-8, 12-10, 11-8.