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Ritwik shocks Iskandar for title

September 19, 2008 21:02 IST

Second seed Ritwik Bhattacharya of India shocked top seed and world No 11 Mohd. Azlan Iskandar of Malaysia in straight games to clinch the men's Open title in the 33rd Bombay Gymkhana-HSBC Maharashtra State Open Squash Championships, co-sponsored by Sapat and Westside, at the Bombay Gymkhana on Friday.

India No 2 Bhattacharya endured a strong challenge in the first two games of the best-of-five contest before cruising to a 12-10, 11-9, 11-1 victory in the championship round that lasted just 33 minutes.

Warming up for the forthcoming World Open, Bhattacharya experienced a tough opening game with Iskandar running the Indian close.

Bhattacharya, ranked 58 in the world, faced a similar challenge in the second game before resting on a crucial 2-0 cushion against a player as dangerous as Iskandar.

But the Malaysian's challenge fizzled out in the third game and he later admitted he was exhausted and struggled in the Mumbai humidity.

"Though I was forced into a tight opening game, I played well. Winning the first game was crucial against a player of Iskandar's calibre. I had to push hard because he hit a lot more. I set up a fast pace which probably tired him out and in the end proved decisive," admitted Bhattacharya, who beat Iskandar for the first time in his career.

"Ritwik played well. I was struggling in the humid conditions. I tried to keep pace in the first two games but by the third, I tired out. But Ritwik's victory is good for Indian squash," said a graceful Iskandar.

Women's top seed and India No 1 Joshna Chinappa overcame second seed Dipika Pallikal 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 to snatch the women's crown following a tight and absorbing championship round.

Earlier in the day, Pallikal overcame No 3 seed Mandy Kennedy of England in the semi-finals.

Chinappa, who heads for the Pepsi Enshde tournament in Amsterdam next week, said, "Dipika played well, she is a much improved player. But I was trying out different things. I was trying to move around more in front. I also tried to be more consistent."

"Though I was trailing 2-6 in the second game, I was in control of the match. I had to raise my game. Yes, thanks to the support of the Mittal Champions Trust, I am much fitter, stronger and confident with my advanced training," added Chinappa, who will also feature in the World Open in Manchester soon after the Amsterdam tournament.

Saumya Karki helped herself to a triple crown following victories in the girls' under-19, under-17 and under-15 finals.

India's top junior Mahesh Mangaonkar of Mumbai bagged a double after clinching the boys' under-17 and under-15 titles.

Results (all finals):

Men's Open: Ritwik Bhattacharya bt Mohd. Azlan Iskandar (Malaysia) 12-10, 11-9, 11-1.

3rd-4th play-off: Muhd Asyraf Azan (Malaysia) bt Vikas Jangra (Services) 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 4-11, 12-10.

Women: Joshna Chinappa bt Dipika Pallikal 12-10, 11-9, 11-9.

Semi-finals: Dipika Pallikal bt Mandy Kennedy (England) 9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-7.

Boys U-19: Vikram Malhotra bt Laxman Joshi 9-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-5.

Boys U-17: Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Karm Kumar 11-9, 7-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9.

Boys U-15: Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Rahil Fazelbhoy 11-5, 11-8, 12-14, 11-5.

Boys U-13: Raghav Mehrotra bt Arjun Kochhar 7-11, 11-2, 11-5, 12-10.

Boys U-11: Yohan Surti bt Kshitij Prasad 3-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-8.

U-9: Chitanya Shah bt Aryan Parekh 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4.

Girls U-19: Saumya Karki bt Surbhi Mishra 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8.

Girls U-17: Saumya Karki bt Shri Khatri 11-5, 14-12, 11-9..

Girls U-15: Saumya Karki bt Shria Khatri 11-3, 11-7, 11-9.

Girls U-13: Adya Advani bt Gayatri Raheja 11-6, 11-5, 11-3.

Girls U-11: Adya Advani bt Juhi Kalgutkar 11-5, 12-10, 11-7.

Professionals: Rohit More bt Temo Gomez 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-3.