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Squash: India advance to World Team C'ship quarters

August 25, 2011 14:57 IST

Sixth seeds India sent giant-killers Denmark crashing out of the World Team Squash Championship to set up an intriguing quarter-final clash with fourth-seeded Australia at Padewrborn, Germany.

It is only the second time in the last three decades that India has reached this stage of the tournament. The last time they reached the quarters was in 2005 when the event was played at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai.

In the first singles played on Wednesday, Harinder Pal Sandhu came up with a clinical performance against Morten Sorensen to win 11-6, 11-1, 11-8 in 29 minutes.

Sandhu dominated the match from start to finish, moving his opponent at will.

Sorensen looked to be in some discomfort after his marathon match on Tuesday when his team sent tournament favourites Pakistan out of the top-16 for the first time in their history.

Sandhu maintained the pressure to win convincingly, dropping only 15 points.

"I'm a lot happier today than yesterday, which was really a tough game, because I made far too many errors. So today, I decided that I would avoid any loose shots, and was able to cut down on errors, until the very end," said Sandhu.

"I started well against Sandhu, but after a few rallies I couldn't push on my right leg, and he was far too good and accurate for me today," said Danish Sorensen.

India's top-ranked singles player Saurav Ghosal then confirmed sixth seeded India's place in the quarter-finals when he won a hard-fought match against Kristian Frost Olesen 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9 in 66 minutes.

Having won the first two games comfortably, Ghosal let his guard down and Kristian came back to win the third and pushed the Indian until the end of the fourth. At 9-9, Ghosal played two controlled rallies to confirm victory.

"On paper, we were the favourite, but there is a difference between paper and reality, and I still had to get the job done against Kristian. I wanted to be clinical and simple, but he wouldn't let me.

"He played very well, got some beautiful shots in, and quite rightly, took the 3rd, which made things more complicated. And even in the 4th, we were close 7-7," said Ghosal.

"I'm very happy to get away in 4, we've equalised our best ever result, and hopefully, we can get a bit deeper in the tournament," added the Indian.

With India taking an unassailable 2-0 lead, the third singles between Siddharth Suchde and Ramus Nielsen was not played. Fourth seed Australia won 2-1 against the Netherlands to book their place in the last-eight stage.

The 23rd staging of the World Squash Federation event -- the first senior world championship since the IOC announcement that Squash is on the shortlist for Olympic inclusion in 2020 -- is taking place in Germany for the first time.

The quarter-final line-up: (1) England vs (9) Italy; (4) Australia vs (6) India; (3) France vs (5) Malaysia; (2) Egypt vs (8) USA.

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