CHENNAI: Harinder Pal Sandhu and Dipika Pallikal emerged winners in the fourth and final leg of the JSW-PSA men’s Challenger and the JSW-WSA women’s event respectively at the ISA courts, here on Wednesday.
While Sandhu trumped top seed Karim Ali Fathi 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 in 42 minutes in the men’s final, Dipika brushed aside Misaki Kobayashi’s challenge to win 11-6, 11-2, 11-8 in the women’s summit clash.
It was Sandhu’s third win in the Challenger circuit this year following victorious campaigns in Jaipur and Mumbai. Dipika notched up her second title on the trot after winning in Mumbai.
The men’s final, for all the expectations of a closely-fought contest, didn’t exactly chart that route. Fathi and Sandhu played a conservative first game before the Indian ran away with the lead.
Sandhu’s skill and smartness were on display throughout as he alternated between kills and deft drops. On a couple of occasions, the second seed’s trickle boasts had the 21-year-old Egyptian lunging forward in vain. At 10-6, it seemed all too easy, but a brace of strokes awarded to Fathi could have possibly altered the equation.
However, Sandhu closed out the game with ease. The 25-year-old from Mohali carried that momentum on to the next game and unleashed an assertive brand of squash that put paid to Fathi’s plans.
The latter, though, appeared to rediscover his mojo in the third game, and matched Sandhu point for point. It was, however, inadequate as once again Sandhu hit the top gear when it was most needed, and sealed the contest.
Sandhu later said he was pleased to reap the rewards for his hard-work.
Earlier, in the women’s final, Dipika systematically unhinged her Japanese opponent in 35 minutes. While there was at least a semblance of resistance from Kobayashi in the first game, the second saw her making some unforced errors and lose the plot completely.
It was in the third game that Dipika was made to work for her points. The top seed did suffer a minor concentration-lapse, making a few unforced errors. At 8-8, Kobayashi must have sniffed an opportunity, but Dipika quickly recovered to put the match beyond her reach.
The Indian later said she was happy with her showing. “I think I played really well and didn’t give her any opportunities. It’s a nice opportunity to compete at home and gain some match-play. I will be playing at Monte Carlo next,” said the 23-year-old Dipika.
The results: Final: Men: Harinder Pal Sandhu bt Karim Ali Fathi (Egypt) 11-8, 11-3, 11-6.
Women: Dipika Pallikal bt Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 11-6, 11-2, 11-8.