Joshna Chinappa continued her impressive run to reach the quarterfinals of the $115,000 Qatar Classic squash tournament here on Monday. (Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal Rise in Squash Rankings)
Joshna took out a fighting Yathreb Adel of Egypt in straight games 16-14, 11-8, 11-8 to advance in the competition. The 17th-ranked Indian had beaten world number one Raneem El Welily of Egypt on day one for a sensational start to her campaign.
The scores do not quite portray the thrilling 37 minute tussle which had the makings of a long drawn battle but fizzled out just when it seemed climaxing. Every game was a story in itself with the Egyptian, who had knocked off Dipika Pallikal in the first round and hence was no push over, grabbed an initial lead and then threatened to extend it before slipping.
Credit for this went to the Indian who found the length of her returns touch a perfection just in time to evoke no response from the other side. "This court is very rewarding when you get your length right, it really clings to the wall," said Joshana.
The Chennai-based player was down 2-6 in the first game before forcing her way up. Points went neck and neck and it was 9-9 at one stage as the contest spilled over to extra points. It was not just close but invited the Referee to advice the players to concentrate on clearing the ball. That aspect was ironed out but not the fight which went zig-zag.
Adel led 6-3 in the second and Joshna's fine strokes from the back side left the Egyptian lunging and missing. From 8-8 all, the Indian wrapped it up. The third game too followed like the earlier ones with Adel, who is a full time student in England, going 5-2 up and yet again saw the advantage getting destroyed by the stupendous work of her inspired opponent, who made her first entry into the quarterfinal of a world series event in two years.
The Indian star now awaits the winner of Sarah-Jane Perry (England) and Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egypt), both seeded players, in the quarterfinal to be held on Tuesday.
In the men's section however, Saurav Ghosal late last night, going down to Egyptian Fares Dessouki in straight games 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 in the first round.