Fourth seed India came back from game behind to topple fifth seed Hong Kong and progressed to the semifinal of the World Junior Squash Championship in Doha on Monday. This is only their second semifinal appearance in this event.
After Yip Tsz Fung saw through Vrishab Kotian in straight sets (8-11, 4-11, 9-11), Mahesh Mangaonkar kept India’s chances afloat with a facile win over Cheuk Yan Tank (11-4, 11-4, 11-2). It was left to Kush Kumar, who had crashed out in the first round of the individual event, to enable India’s semifinal bid.
The 17-year-old scraped through in the opening game, settling it 11-9, before he dominated Yeung Ho Wai in the second. But the latter raised his game in the third, clinching it 11-3. Wai pushed him in the fourth game, but he could only stretch it to extra points, before the Indian duly annexed it 12-10.
National coach Cyrus Poncha effusively praised his wards. “We were certainly taken to the wire. We knew Hong Kong were a very strong team, and we were ready for it. Our line-up was a tactical decision. In our first match, Vrishab was not able to match his opponent’s consistency. In the second one, Mahesh showed that he was a superior player and showed his class, with his great volleying and aggressive drives He specially singled out Kush.
“He played an outstanding match of aggression and defence moving his opponent to all corners of the court in a duel lasting 61 minutes. Kush playing some superlative drops ensuring victory for us,” he said.
India meet top seed Egypt in the semifinal.
India beat Hong Kong 2-1 (Vrishab Koitan lost to Yip Tsz Fung 8/11, 4/11, 9/11 (38m), Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Cheuk Yan Tank 11/4, 11/4, 11/2 (28m), Kush Kumar bt Yeung Ho Wai 11/9, 11/7, 3/11, 12/10 (61m).