On a mixed day for the Indian squash contingent at the 21st Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia, Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal and Vikram Malhotra advanced to the Round of 16 while India men’s number one Saurav Ghosal bowed out.
Harinder Pal Sandhu, on an incredible run of form in the previous year, was also knocked out as Malhotra remains the country’s sole remaining challenger in the men’s singles format.
Sandhu, the men’s 14th seed, kicked things off for team India when he survived a mini-scare at the hands of Cameron Stafford from the Cayman Islands, winning the match 11-3, 11-13, 11-6, 11-8.
Malhotra, the men’s 16th seed, then joined his compatriots in the second round, beating Zambia’s Manda Chilambwe 11-6, 11-5, 11-2.
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Ghosal was India and the division’s biggest casualty on day one when he suffered a shock loss in five games to Jamaica’s Chris Binnie. Ghosal, the third seed was given a bye to the Round of 32 and was up two games but he squandered the lead to lose 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 10-12 to the unseeded Binnie.
Joshna Chinappa then sealed India’s first spot in the pre-quarterfinals of singles competition as she swept aside Papua New Guinea’s Lynette Vai. Chinappa, the eighth seed registered a facile 11-3, 11-7, 11-2 victory and will face the Tamika Saxby of the host nation in the Round of 16.
(Read more: Catch up with all the events of day one on our live blog)
Dipika Pallikal joined Chinappa in the pre-quarters as she won her match in straight games 11-6, 11-5, 11-5. The 9th seed will face seed five Alison Waters of England in the next round.
Sandhu joined Ghosal on the sidelines as he went tamely in straight games, 8-11, 6-11, 1-11, to Ivan Yuen of Malaysia. Malhotra restored some cheer to the men’s contingent as he overcame Trinidad and Tobago’s Xavier Koenig, 11-4, 11-3, 11-0.
Malhotra will next face the top seed, Nick Matthew for a place in the quarter-finals.