Indian participation came to an end at the Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championships with both Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa exiting in the pre-quarter-finals of this event held at Cairo. While Dipika Pallikal lost in four games to the third seed Raneem El Welily, Joshna Chinappa exited after a thrilling five-game loss to the seventh seed Low Wee Wern.
Dipika’s run ends
2011 World Squash Championships quarter-finalist Dipika Pallikal began on a promising note against the World No. 3 Raneem El Welily of Egypt. The 25-year-old El Welily initially struggled to move after twisting her right ankle at 3-3 in the first game. That opened the door wide for the India No. 1 who put up a sharp display and sealed the first game 11-7.
But egged on by a vociferous home crowd, El Welily came storming back into the match in the second game. With a clever shot placement and a brilliant tactical game, the Egyptian left no room for the World No. 16. Raneem was soon in the lead after having clinched the second and third games 11-5 and 11-3 respectively.
However in the fourth game, the level of concentration dropped slightly from the Egyptian and the momentum swung in favour of Dipika Pallikal. But all hopes of a comeback from the Indian were soon dashed as Raneem levelled scores from 1-4 down. From thereon, the World No. 3 steered the match her way and wrapped up the contest 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 in 50 minutes.
Joshna goes down in a thriller
Earlier in a late match on Tuesday evening, World No. 22 Joshna Chinappa put up a brave fight against the World No. 7 Low Wee Wern only to go down in a five-game encounter. Joshna who won the first round at the World Squash Championships for the first time this year looked close to creating a major upset after going up 2 games to one.
The Indian national champion patiently matched her higher-ranked rival shot for shot and refused to give in. Even in the deciding game, the India No. 2 came back from 4-8 down before the Malaysian finally slammed shut the match 6-11, 11-3, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8 after 64 minutes.
The Indian results at the World Squash Championships left a lot to be desired. But that does not take anything away from the fact that it has been a glittering year for Indian squash in general. With historic gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games and an unprecedented medal at the World Juniors, India is surely on its way to becoming a squash powerhouse.