Defending champion Joshna Chinappa progressed to the finals but second seed Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu retired against Vikram Malhotra in the semi-finals due to a back problem at the National Squash championships on Saturday.
It will be Mahesh Mangaonkar versus Vikram Malhotra in the men’s final, while Joshna will take on Urwashi Joshi in the women’s final at the HCL courts on Sunday.
The semi-final results on Saturday panned out more or less on expected lines in keeping with the seedings except for Sandhu.
Harinder, who had developed some problem on his back after his quarter-final match yesterday seemed to aggravate it and could not go far today, throwing in the towel trailing 2-9 in the first game. The match ended there and then.
As for the rest, top seed Mahesh stopped Abhishek Pradhan, his Maharashtra team mate. But, the women’s contests produced some thrills. Second seed Urwashi dug into her reserves to put out the Tamil Nadu challenger Aparajitha Balamurukan over five games, while reigning champion Joshna was surprised at the grit of Sachika Balvani and conceded a game before scripting a win. She will look to equal Bhuvaneshwari Kumari’s record 16 national titles.
The results: semi-final: Men: Mahesh Mangaonkar (Mah) bt Abhishek Pradhan (Mah) 11-7, 11-6, 11-0; Vikram Malhotra (Mah) bt Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (TN) 9-2 retd; Women: Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt Sachika Balvani (Mah) 11-1, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7; Urwashi Joshi (Mah) bt Aparajitha Balamurukan (TN) 11-6, 12-14, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6.