Squash: India on course for best ever Asiad showing as Ghosal reaches men's singles final

India could end up with an unprecedented three gold medals from the squash courts with the mixed doubles duo of Dipika Pallikal and Harinderpal Sandhu also reaching the title clash.
Indian squash star Saurav Ghosal (File | PTI)
Indian squash star Saurav Ghosal (File | PTI)

HANGZHOU: India's Saurav Ghosal outclassed Henry Leung of Hong Kong in the men's singles semifinals to remain firmly on course for a second gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games here on Wednesday.

Having played his part in the men's team triumph, the world number 19 from India was far too good for the 52-ranked Henry and completed a dominating 11-2, 11-2, 11-6 victory in 33 minutes.

India could end up with an unprecedented three gold medals from the squash courts with the mixed doubles duo of Dipika Pallikal and Harinderpal Sandhu also reaching the title clash, to be played on Thursday.

Second seed Ghosal will meet top seed Eain Yow Ng in the final on Thursday.

The Indian had beaten his Malaysian rival in four games in the team semifinals.

Having missed a golden chance to step on the top of the singles podium in 2014, the 37-year-Ghosal will be determined to end his sixth and probably last Asian Games on a high.

Though his Hong Kong opponent was much younger, Ghosal was superior on both tactical and physical side of the game.

Henry could do little about the boasts (shot that hits the side wall before hitting the front wall) that Ghosal would unleash out of nowhere to end the point in his favour.

His deft drop shots on the right side of the front wall also helped him gain a big lead in the first game.

In the second game, he complemented his boasts with drop shots on the left side of the front wall.

Ghosal converted his first game point from 10-1 when his Hong Kong opponent hit his backhand on the tin.

With Henry leading 3-1 in the third game, a comeback looked likely but Ghosal was quick to cut the tiny lead before gaining an 8-5 advantage with a perfect placed boast.

Ghosal's forehand drop on the right was not retrieved by Henry, handing the Indian a convincing win.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Indian pairing of Dipika and Harinderpal won 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 against Hong Kong's Lee Ka Yi and Wong Chi Him to make the final.

However, it was heartbreak for the second Indian pair of Abhay Singh and Anahat Singh as they lost to Aifa Binti Azman and Mohammad Syafiq Bin Mohd Kamal of Malaysia 11-8, 2-11, 9-11 in the other mixed doubles semi-final.

In a match that saw Anahat colliding with Azman, the Indians won the first game quite comfortably but lost their way in the second before the Malaysians emerged winners in the decisive tie, ensuring that it won't be an all-India final in the mixed event.

Dipika, who is playing her last Asian Games, and Harinder lost the opening game of their semifinal to Yi and Him, but staged a remarkable comeback to claim the next two games after 38 minutes of intense squash.

While the Indians took just nine minutes to win the second game thanks to Harinder and Dipika's excellent court coverage, the third game lasted 15 minutes as the pair from Hong Kong looked to stretch the decider.

Even as the Indians advanced to the final, there was a moment of concern for the team when the ball struck Harinder in the face after a shot from Lee.

"It's good to have won. Every round is important. I feel like everyone has come prepared. We knew that we had to stick to our plan, play to the best of our ability and just forget about the results. The results will come," Dipika said.

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The New Indian Express
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