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MANGAONKAR MISSES REVENGE ON WALLER | 10th September 2015 | PICTURES
Revenge had to be on the mind of Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) going into today's Main Draw match against Adrian Waller (ENG), who beat him in last week's final of the NSCI Open. But it wasn't Mangaonkar's day. Waller won 3-1 again on Mangaonkar's turf to enter tomorrow's quarterfinal. Waller played a very tight game that kept Mangaonkar out of the middle from the start. Mangaonkar held is own, and enjoyed a brief lead at the end of the first game, but gave up two game balls at 10-8 and perhaps his best chance as Waller won it 13-11. Waller continued to dominate in the second, while Mangaonkar worked for openings. But a loose short game on Mangaonkar's part sent the game to Waller again. The third game saw a reversal, though, as Mangaonkar shot ahead 5-0, then 9-1 thanks to some careless shots by Waller. Waller managed to steal five game points from Mangaonkar, closing the game to 10-7 before Mangaonkar managed to it home. Waller was back on top for the fourth game, though, frustrating Mangaonkar at every turn to carry the match 13-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5 in 82 minutes.
"It was almost exactly the same as Sunday," Waller said. "It was a tough first game, very important for me. I saved two game balls and that gave me momentum to go on and win the second game too. Mahesh came out absolutely firing in the third. I managed to come back and get momentum. And even though I lost it, I carried the momentum into the fourth and managed to close it out. I'm happy to win again."
"It's a terrible feeling to lose in the same way two times in two weeks," Mangaonkar said. "I don't know if I played better (than in the NSCI Open final) but I definitely got more points off him. As the match progressed, my accuracy became lower and lower; that's where he got me. I was always on the defending end. I need to work on being calm and composed on court, but also tactically smart."
TOP-SEED GOLAN SHOOTS INTO QUARTERFINAL | 10th September 2015 | PICTURES
Tournament top-seed Borja Golan (ESP) had the edge in today's match against qualifier Mohamed Reda (EGY). Golan sailed through the first two games, barely leaving the T for his returns. But at 3-8 down in the third, Reda seemed to realize it was now or never. He sent Golan on a bit of a scramble at 4-8 before getting in the way of a return and replaying the point. His short game tightened and he mixed up his shots, and, benefiting from some errors by Golan, went on a run to take the lead 10-8. But Reda gave up two game points and the match descended into a nail-biter. An unforced error by Golan tied up the game 11-11, before Reda tied it again 12-12 with a lovely drop. An overeager return by Reda on the next point gave Golan the lead, balanced by a stroke to Reda at the end of the next rally. The game and match ultimately ended with a whimper, not a bang, with an unforced error from Reda that sent it Golan's way 11-6, 11-3, 15-13 in 47 minutes.
INDIA'S HOPES ON GHOSAL FOR TOURNAMENT WIN! | 10th September 2015 | PICTURES
Matches between countrymen can be more mental than physical, but today it was both between Saurav Ghosal (IND) and Kush Kumar (IND). Ghosal dominated at the start, closing out a quick first game from the middle, 11-2. But Kumar came back with a plan in the second, mixing up shots to send Ghosal scrambling. Kumar settled into a better accuracy that forced several key errors from Ghosal, who otherwise played a tight game throughout. But the extra time spent chasing extra points in the second cost Kumar in the third. Kumar seemed to tire, and many of Ghosal's shots came from his opponent's unforced errors, sending the match his way 11-2, 15-3, 11-4 in 39 minutes.
"I'm happy to have won," Ghosal said. "I played Kush two months back in Nationals and it was a really hard 3-1 win. I think I played better today. It's good to start the tournament with a 3-0 win. The second game was tight. Full credit to Kush, he fought really well and had some good counterattacks. All in all a good day's work."
SANDHU LOSES TO EGYPT'S HESHAM | 10th September 2015 | PICTURES
Harinderpal Singh Sandhu (IND) came out swinging at the start of his match against Mazen Hesham (EGY). The wildcard had an almost-perfect game plan against the fourth-seed, staying even with Hesham till 6-5 before running away with the game. Hesham answered by pushing up the pace in the second game, and between his own nice touches and some errors on Sandhu's part, leveled the match. The third match proved crucial, and at 7-3 Sandhu's lead, the crowd settled in for one of Sandhu's typical five-game matches. But Hesham managed to turn the tables mid-game, going on a run and taking the game 11-8. In the fourth game, Hesham's tight short game kept the pressure up on Sandhu. But while the game and match ultimately went to Hesham 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 in 45 minutes, what will keep people talking tomorrow was a blindingly fast, behind-the-back reaction return by Sandhu at 6-4 that drew gasps and applause from the crowd mid-rally.
"I think I had the upper hand till the third game," Sandhu said. "The first game is crucial. I was up 6-2 in the third, then I lost my consistency there. Mazen drew level and he got the confidence. He went for all the attacking shots and got everything."
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