Ritwik, Gaurav crashed out, Iskandar stunned
India’s top gun Ritwik Bhattacharya and defending champion and top-seed Mohd Azlan Iskandar had a bad outing as both of them crashed out of the Kolkata International Squash Tournament on the very first day of the main event that got underway at the Kolkata Racket Club here on Tuesday.
However, India No 1 and seventh seed Saurav Ghosal kept his cool and India’s hopes afloat amidst series of upsets. Ghosal fashioned a hard-fought victory over Egypt’s Mohd El Shorbagy to move into the last eight. Tournament’s second seed Ong Beng Hee also advanced to the quarter-finals, as he got past Amr Mansi.
Iskandar, ranked 15 in the world, was outshined by Pakistan’s Shahid Zaman with a 3-11 9-11 11-3 6-11scoreline. Though the Pakistani ranked 38 rungs below the Malaysian, but he looked in full command right throughout the match.
Iskandar faired well in patches especially after winning the third game. But Zaman responded quite well and picked up the momentum in the next game, clinching a well-deserved victory.
In the other major upset of the day, India’s Ritwik had to pay the price for losing his cool, eventually losing out 8-11 7-11 6-11 to 4th seed Aamir Atlas Khan of Pakistan.
Ritwik raised objections over referee’s decisions on quite a few times leading to lose the grip of the match. He even stepped out of the court at one occasion. While Ritwik was getting temperamental, his 29th ranked rival held his nerve to seal the issue in his favour. The in-form Pakistani took just over half an hour to get past Ritwik.
The Junior British Open champion Shorbagy surrendered in a closely fought battle, He raised some hopes of an upset win over Saurav after winning the first game 11-10 (2-0), but lost the plot further in the course of the match. Saurav somehow managed to use all his experience to beat his Egyptian opponent 10-11 (0-2) 11-6 11-10(2-0) 11-7 in less than an hour.
Saurav will now fight it out with another Egyptian, Omar Mossad, who eased past India’s Gaurav Nandrajog, in just under half an hour.
RESULTS (Singles, Main Draw, Round I):
Shahid Zaman (Pak) bt Mohammed Azlan Iskandar (1, Mal) 11-3, 11-9, 3-11, 11-6; Mansoor Zaman (5, Pak} bt Jethro Binns (Wal) 11-10 (2-0), 11-9, 10-11 (3-5), 11-8; Omar Mosaad (3, Egy) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (Ind) 11-8, 11-7, 11-9; Saurav Ghosal (7, Ind) bt Mohd El Shorbagy (Egy) 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 11-10 (2-0), 11-7; Omar Abdel Aziz (6, Egy) bt Rob Sutherland (Wal) 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5; Aamir Atlas Khan (4, Pak) bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind) 11-8, 11-7, 11-6; Farhan Mehboob (8, Pak) bt Siddharth Suchde (Ind) 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 and Ong Beg Hee (2, Mal) bt Amr Mansi (Egy) 11-7, 11-8, 11-2.
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