India's top squash player Dipika Pallikal finished runner-up at the WSA Granite Open after losing to England's Sarah-Jane Perry in an action-packed final. Third seed Pallikal began well only to falter at key moments later in the title clash held yesterday, going down 8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 against the fourth seed.
Success in the WSA International 25 event in its fourth year at the Granite Club marks Perry's eighth WSA World Tour title - and her first ever win over Pallikal, the world No.13 from Chennai, in three meetings since October 2011.
World No.16 Perry made it to her 11th Tour final after overcoming top seed and defending champion Amanda Sobhy - ranked six places higher - in the semi-finals. But it was Pallikal who had the upper hand in the opening game, with Perry making too many unforced errors. The English underdog corrected this in the second, pulling away from six-all to level the match.
Perry maintained the momentum in the third, racing to a 6-2 lead. But 23-year-old Pallikal fought back to level at 10-10, before Perry clinched the game 12-10. Pallikal twice led in the fourth at 6-5 and 7-6 - but the Indian number one was unable to fend off Perry, who took five points in a row on the way to her triumph, and her second Granite Open title since 2013.
Last week in England, Perry overcame fellow countrywomen Alison Waters and Laura Massaro, ranked three and five in the world, respectively, en-route to winning the British National Championship title against expectations.