Dipika Pallikal Karthik beat Satomi Watanabe in a do-or-die-match as India survived a minor scare before edging out Japan 2-1 in the second play-off match in the World women's team squash championship in Paris on Friday.
Having beaten Netherlands on Thursday and Japan on Friday, India now play Canada next for the ninth and 10th places. On the last occasion, India had finished 14th.
Friday's happy ending was assured by the seasoned Dipika after Joshna Chinappa's flawless start had put India 1-0 up in the tie. New comer Sunayna Kuruvilla showed lot of confidence against Risa Sugimoto, even led 2-1 in the game scores before she crumbled.
With the match scores 1-1 came Dipika in to show her touch and mood. Leaving nothing to chance she swiftly made short work of Satomi Watanabe in straight games to ensure India's win.
"A touch of uncertainty unfortunately did her in," said national coach Cyrus Poncha, who felt the youngster had otherwise showed much improvement in her approach.
The results: India beat Japan 2-1 (Joshna Chinappa bt Misaki Kobayashi 11-4, 11-6, 11-9; Sunayna Kuruvilla lost to Risa Sugimoto 7-11, 13-11, 11-6, 10-12, 6-11; Dipika Pallikal Karthik bt Satomi Watanabe 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).