Top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya announced his arrival with a fluent 3-0 Men's Open first round win, in the 64th CCI-Western India Open Squash Championship, co-sponsored by Lifebuoy, at the CCI on Thursday.
India No. 2 Bhattacharya crushed qualifier Sachin Jadhav 9-2, 9-1, 9-1 to enter the quarter-finals, and revealed he was delighted with his game especially after some remarkable recent performances on the international circuit.
"I've worked hard in the last five months, gradually coming back after a knee cartilage injury. I'm playing well now and that reflects partly in me reaching the finals in Malaysia last week and playing some five-setters in the last few tournaments abroad and won most of them," said a beaming Bhattacharya.
Some of the Indian's significant performances included beating formidable Englishman Chris Simpson and coming within striking distance of upsetting another Englishman, world No. 18 Adrian Grant, in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open last week when Bhattacharya was up 2-1 and 8-all in the fourth game.
"This shows that I've got better with every match, every tournament. I'm a lot fitter and am keen to play the next few tournaments," he explained. "I am now lighter, faster and moving quicker following a systematic programme."
Bhattacharya, who aims to get back into the top 50 by next month, after reaching world No. 38 last year, will be seen in action in the NSC Satellite Super Series in Malaysia from November 23 to 26, where he is top seed, and the World Team Championship in Chennai, preferring to skip the World Open.
"It's really good to play in India, because, hopefully, it inspires the juniors," said the world No. 72.
Meanwhile, third seed Caran Arora of CCI and No. 4 Vrushabh Kotian advanced to the boys' under-15 quarter-finals following convincing wins.
Among the girls, under-15 top seed Saumya Karki and No. 4 Namrata Purohit got past the opening round without much ado.
Men's Open (1st Rd): Ritwik Bhattacharya bt Sachin Jadhav 9-2, 9-1, 9-1.
Boys U-19 (1st Rd): Laxman Joshi bt Waqar Pathan 9-0, 9-3, 9-2; Vikram Malhotra bt Javed Mohd. 9-0, 9-2, 9-6; Abhishek Pradhan bt Naveen Jangra 6-9, 9-1, 9-0, 9-4; Abhinav Sinha bt Aditya Gupta 9-0, 9-2, 9-4; Aditya Jagtap bt Pradeep Paswan 9-0, 9-0, 9-0; Cyrus Vakil bt Jia Singh 10-8, 9-4, 9-6
Boys U-17 (2nd Rd): Javed Mohd. bt Shashi Pandey 3-9, 9-6 9-7, 9-7; Vrishabh Kotian bt Deerav Moolani 9-6, 4-9, 8-10, 9-6, 9-3; Aditya Gupta bt Samir Mistry 9-4, 9-0, 10-8; Caran Arora bt Dipesh Borhade 9-1, 9-4, 9-4
Boys U-15 (PQF): Samir Mistry bt Nitin Singh 9-2, 9-5, 5-9, 10-8; Shashi Pandey bt Arjun Kochhar 8-10, 9-2, 9-3, 9-0; Vrishabh Kotian bt Aakash Kutty 9-1, 10-8, 9-0; Caran Arora bt Raghav Mehrotra 10-8, 9-0, 9-3
Boys U-11 (1st Rd): Yohan Surti bt Aishwarya Singh 10-8, 9-4, 9-4; Aryan Hemdev bt Harsh Wadhwa 10-8, 9-5, 9-5.
Girls U-15 (1st Rd): Ruchi Mishra bt Aishwarya K. 10-8, 9-6, 9-1; Shweta bt Khushi Agarwal 9-0, 9-2, 9-2; Uravashi Joshi bt Aishwarya Iyer 9-0, 9-0, 9-0; Namrata Purohit bt Aishwarya Agarwal 9-0, 9-0, 9-0; Saumy Karki bt Sushmita Mukherji 9-1, 9-1, 9-0.
Professionals (QF): Sanjay Pawar bt Vijay Waghela 5-9, 9-6, 9-0, 9-5; C. Gomez (Mexico) bt Santosh More 9-2, 9-0, 9-0; Sachin Jadhav bt Gopi Mohite 4-9, 9-7, 9-7, 9-5.