India's top ranked female player Dipika Pallikal put up a spirited display before going down 2-3 to second seed Kasey Brown of Australia in the quarter-finals of the Punj Lloyd WISPA Masters 2010 squash event in New Delhi.
With the ouster of the Chennai girl, the Indian challenge came to an end in the women's event of the $36,500 championship currently underway at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
The Indian men's challenge in the PSA Masters had ended yesterday with the defeat of Asian Games bronze medallist and 15th seed Saurav Ghosal, who lost his pre-quarterfinal match to former world number one and third seed Amr Shabana of Egypt in straight games.
In the match between eighth seed Pallikal and Brown, world ranked seventh, the Australian was pushed to the wall before local favourite Pallikal ran out of energy and lost 5-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 5-11 in 61 minutes.
After losing the first two games, the Indian made a strong comeback to level the score at 2-2. In the decider, the 25-year-old Brown proved her physical dominance on the court and garnered seven quick points to reduce her Indian counterpart to a mere spectator.
Despite being cheered relentlessly by present few, Pallikal failed to create an upset and wilted under pressure.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the women's doubles and mixed doubles, Brown dominated from the start and produced a flurry of delightful winners with deft touch to the front. Pallikal, though, kept in the match open with her unerring ability to dominate the centre court and finish points with tight volley kills.
With match evenly poised at 2-2, the pair engaged in a series of rallies in the decider, with Brown emerging as the winner.
Pallikal was left visibly tired at the crucial juncture and, despite clawing her way back to 9-5, it never proved sufficient in the end.
"Kasey is a very senior player. I blacked out in the final game. We pushed each other to a certain limit in the match but the day was not mine. I did not know if I could last for five games but I did," Pallikal said after her match.
"I will look to crack into the top 20 next year and for that I need to get more fitter and better. It's been a long season for me. Now it's a two-and-a-half week long break for me before resuming my training," added the Indian.
"I played her a long time ago and she (Dipika) has improved her game a lot. She came back strongly in the match. She is doing good," said Brown.
World ranked 29th, Pallikal, had defeated Scottish qualifier Lisa Aitken 3-0 in the opening round on Thursday.
Other top women players including top seed Jenny Duncalf of England, fifth seed Hong Kong's Annie Au and third seed France's Camille Serme also advanced to the semi-finals of the WISPA event to be played on Saturday.
While Duncalf defeated seventh seed Joey Chan of Hong Kong 4-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2 in 47 minutes, Annie ended the challenge of fourth seed New Zealand's Jaclyn Hawkes 11-9, 7-11,15-13, 11-9 in 59 minutes.
Serme got the better of sixth seed Malaysian Wee Wern Low 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 in 29 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the PSA event, second seed England's James Willstrop locked horns with 10th seed Cameron Pilley of Australia in the quarterfinal played at the centre court.
The 6 feet 4 inch Yorkshireman Willstrop made short work of the world ranked 15th Pilley and defeated him 12-10 11-1 11-3 in 38 minutes.
"The match was good. Pilley is a world class player and it was tough going in the first game. But then I stepped up my game and won the other two convincingly. I played very well probably the best I played in last three weeks," said Willstrop.
"I am very satisfied and looking for a title win here. Motivation is there and looking for the matches ahead," said the World Open runner-up Willstrop.
He will next meet fourth seed France's Thierry Lincou in the semi-finals, who defeated 15th seed Egypt's Hisham Mohd Ashour 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 in 51 minutes.
The other two quarter-finals are between third seed Shabana and countryman Mohommaed El Shorbagy and top seed Nick Matthew of England and team-mate Daryl Selby, seeded ninth.