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Ghosal Strikes Gold In Otters Open

Otters Open Squash Championship,
Otters Club, Mumbai, India

[2] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [1] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0) (75m)

[1] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt [5] Darren Lewis (ENG) 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6
[2] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [3] Timothy Arnold (MAS) 11-1, 11-6, 11-3

[1] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt [Q] Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3
[5] Darren Lewis (ENG) bt [4] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-10 (3-1) (87m)
[3] Timothy Arnold (MAS) bt [Q] Shahril Shahidan (MAS) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9
[2] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (IND) 11-7, 11-3, 11-8

Qualifying finals:
Shahril Shahidan (MAS) bt Sandeep Jangra (IND) 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (45m)
Parthiban Ayappan (IND) bt Naresh Kumar (IND) 11-8, 9-11, 10-11 (0-2), 11-8, 11-9 (45m)
Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt Vikram Malhotra (IND) 11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-1, 11-7 (36m)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Vikas Jangra (IND) 11-1, 11-3, 11-8 (20m)

Ghosal Strikes Gold In Otters Open
Second seed Saurav Ghosal staged a dramatic recovery to shock top seed and Indian compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya in five games in an absorbing 'local derby' clash to clinch the Otters Open Squash title at the Otters Club in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Ghosal, the world No59 from Chennai, took 75 minutes to win 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-10 (2-0) not only beating his arch rival, ranked 16 places higher, for the first time, but also securing his maiden PSA Tour title.

In a quality contest marked by long rallies and brilliant stroke play, both treated the jam-packed Otters Club to delightful squash that had all the ingredients of a thriller.

Bhattacharya seemed well on his way to victory after winning the opening games in tight finishes, including surviving a scare while leading 8-5 and allowing Ghosal to close in at 9-9 in the first.

But Ghosal ignored his much accomplished opponent's reputation to play uninhibited squash. The 20-year-old, currently studying at Leeds University in England, chose to play the game he is accustomed to - and it paid off.

In a pulsating fifth game decider, Bhattacharya led 9-7 before enjoying two match balls at 10-8 and 10-9. But the 26-year-old favourite from New Delhi hit the tin on two occasions while Ghosal earned a 'stroke' in between to surge to a crucial 11-10 advantage.

Another 'stroke' and Ghosal sealed a memorable victory, prior to the maiden World Open he is eager to play next month in Cairo.

"It was an important tournament to win," said Ghosal afterwards. "It was a hard match especially coming back from two games down. I was not getting my shots in the first two games, while Ritwik hit the ball really well. The pressure is always there while playing Ritwik. But I hung in there and tried to get my rhythm," explained the new Otters champion.

Bhattacharya, who had just suffered his first loss in his seventh final on the PSA Tour, added: "The game I was playing was good enough - I don't think I could do anything different. But Saurav played well. I had earlier lost in five games to Manish Chotrani and Siddharth Suchde on the same court, and I guess losing to Saurav was the only thing remaining!"

Bhattacharya & Ghosal Set Up Dream Otters Final
Top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya and No2 seed Saurav Ghosal set up a dream all-Indian final of the Otters Open Squash Championship following convincing semi-final wins in the new PSA Tour event at Otters Club in the Indian city of Mumbai .

Bhattacharya, the world No 43 from New Delhi , put behind him the loss of the opening game to overcome England 's fifth seed Darren Lewis 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 in 35 minutes.

Lewis, from Leicester and ranked almost 100 places lower than his opponent, got off to a dream start by taking the first game. But the Indian ace found his shots in the second and quickly got into the groove to take command.

"Darren played a lot better and came out strong at the start," explained Bhattacharya. "He has a solid game and he played some good shots. But by the second game I got my shots and took it from there."

Lewis added: "I tried attacking and played a quick first game. But Ritwik speeded up the tempo in the second, which put me under pressure. I tried to slow it down but he volleyed well. He was too quick for me today."

Saurav Ghosal, ranked 59 in the world, took just 25 minutes to demolish Malaysia 's Timothy Arnold 11-1, 11-6, 11-3 in the other semi-final. The UK-based 20-year-old is celebrating his third appearance in a PSA Tour final - but is not only looking for his first title win, but his maiden PSA victory over Bhattacharya.

By contrast, favourite Bhattacharya approaches his seventh PSA final with the impressive record of having been unbeaten in the previous six!

Englishman Lewis Survives Late Scare In Mumbai
Darren Lewis of England survived a late scare to reach his maiden semi-final in a One Star PSA Tour event following a gruelling 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-10 (3-1) upset over Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan of Malaysia in the Otters Open Squash Championship at Otters Club in the Indian city of Mumbai.

After snatching the opening two games for a comfortable 2-0 lead in an 87-minute thriller, Lewis looked set to wrap it up after leading 8-4 in the third. But the 26-year-old from Leicester lost his way and allowed fourth seed Adnan to get back into the match, as the Malaysian forced the decider.

"I should have won the third," said the delighted Englishman after his win. "But it was a big match for me and I got nervous after that lead in the third game. I think I got too cautious and it allowed Adnan to come back," explained the fifth seed.

"It was the same in the fourth. But I was more attacking in a very close fifth game. He had two match balls and in the end I was just happy to survive."

Lewis will take on top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya after the Indian overcame qualifier and compatriot Siddharth Suchde 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3.

The other semi-final will feature Malaysia 's third seed Timothy Arnold and India 's No2 seed Saurav Ghosal after both fashioned easy quarter-final wins over fellow countrymen.

Shahidan Denies Indian Clean Sweep In Otters Open Qualifying
Malaysia's Shahril Shahidan denied the host nation a clean sweep of qualifiers from today's (Wednesday) qualifying finals of the Otters Open Squash Championship at the Otters Club in Mumbai when he beat Sandeep Jangra 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 in the new PSA Tour event in the commercial capital of India.

Shahidan, 21, has been drawn to meet Ireland's fifth seed Arthur Gaskin in the first round while Parthiban Ayappan, one of three Indians to qualify, will face top-seeded compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya.

Bhattacharya, the Indian No1 who won the Chennai Open in June, is expected to face fellow countryman Saurav Ghosal, the No2 seed, in Sunday's final. Ghosal, a student at Leeds University in England, celebrates his 20th birthday by taking on Malaysian Nafzahizam Adnan in the first round on Thursday.

Updated 1st round draw:
[1] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) v [Q] Parthiban Ayappan (IND)
[8] Ryan Thompson (NAM) v [Q] Siddharth Suchde (IND)
[4] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v [Q] Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND)
[5] Darren Lewis (ENG) v Neil Hitchens (ENG)
[6] Arthur Gaskin (IRL) v [Q] Shahril Shahidan (MAS)
[3] Timothy Arnold (MAS) v Aqeel Rehman (AUT)
[7] Friedrich Scheel (GER) v Gaurav Nandrajog (IND)
[2] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Nafzahizam Adnan (MAS)