It was a case of so close, yet so far for India No. 1 Saurav Ghosal once again. In a heartbreaking loss at the Macau Open quarter-finals, World No. 17 Ghosal held three match points only to see his spirited rival Mazen Hesham come back to snatch victory 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11.
Finishing long matches – Saurav’s Achilles heel
The Asian Games gold medallist has been in fine form recently but finishing long matches has been a worrisome affair for the top-ranked Indian. For the second tournament in a row, the experienced Indian player couldn’t convert a confident start into a victory. Saurav had squandered match ball to go down to World No. 30 Fares Dessouki in five gruelling games in the US Open first round just few days back.
Saurav began the quarter-final at Macau by stamping his authority over the Egyptian World No. 39. He was the front-runner and seized the first game 11-5.
The sixth-seeded Hesham started dictating in the next game, putting pressure on Saurav and took the second game 11-7.
Two games apiece
Saurav looked to have found out a way by winning the third game 11-7 but couldn’t put away the determined Egyptian who came back to clinch the fourth game by an identical scoreline – 11-7.
Ghosal lets go of three match points
In the decider, the third seeded Saurav was the one to reach match ball first and he held as many as three match points at 10-7. But the Egyptian simply refused to wilt under pressure. Showing tremendous resilience, the Egyptian saved two match points and on the third one he played an exquisite drop to level at 10-10.
Saurav simply couldn’t keep away the gutsy Egyptian as Hesham closed out a memorable upset victory.
Joshana lost earlier
With Saurav’s ouster, Indian interest in the Macau Open ends as World No. 21 Joshana Chinappa had earlier lost a fighting match 8-11, 10-12, 10-12 to World No. 1 Nicol David in the first round.