Match report by: Sachika Irshwin Balvani | Photos by: Nitesh Square
16:00 IST | Ramit Tandon (IND) beat  Tom Richards (ENG) | 11-7, 11-1, 11-2 | 27 mins
16:45 IST | Karim El Hammamy (EGY) beat  Omar Mosaad (EGY) | 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-5 | 87 mins
16:00 IST | Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) beat  Nicolas Mueller (SUI) | 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 | 66 mins
16:45 IST |  Fares Dessouky (EGY) beat Ben Coleman (ENG) | 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 | 34 mins
18:00 IST |  Tarek Momen (EGY) beat Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) | 12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 | 58 mins
19:00 IST |  Saurav Ghosal (IND) beat Mohamed Reda (EGY) | 11-1, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6 | 43 mins
20:00 IST |  James Willstrop (ENG) beat Vikram Malhotra (IND) | 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 | 27 mins
21:00 IST | Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) beat  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) | 11-9, 14-12, 12-10 | 43 mins
After pulling off an upset yesterday against England’s Josh Masters, Tandon looked
relaxed as he went up against the world number 22, Tom Richards. Though Richards
took an early lead in the first game, looking very at home himself, Tandon began to
get his basic game together as he pushed the ball to the back, lengthening rallies.
This allowed him to draw level with Richards and go on to 8-5 up. Ater this, Tandon
only allowed Richards 2 points as he played with calm determination and pocketed
points taking, the game, 11-7.
The second game saw Tandon stun the crowd by displaying absolutely fearless
squash. He used his racket skills and timing on the ball to send it accurately to the
right places. He went up to game ball in no time and won the game 11-1, leaving the
very experienced Richards frustrated.
And the third game proved that the Cricket Club of India might be a lucky place for
Tandon. He had pulled off two upsets in the 2017 edition of this tournament,
including beating Borja Golan of Spain, who was well within the World Top 20 at the
time. Tandon won the third game, snatching the match from Richards and pulling off
one of the upsets of the day.
Pajares beat compatriot Edmon Lopez in three good games yesterday, and today
faced Swiss #1 and the world #18, Nicolas Müller. Pajares took the lead in the first
game, going 6-3 up, but Müller defended well to lengthen rallies. However, Pajares
seemed to crank up his game just as Müller looked to level with him, and went up to
10-5, game ball, before taking the game 11-6.
But with experience on his side, and Müller found the mental boost he needed in the
second game. Though Pajares hit some good shots, Müller went up to 8-4 up before
conceding a stroke and giving himself only a two-point cushion. Pajares then threw
every attack at him, but Müller held his own and took the game, 11-7.
The third, and in the game of squash, the most crucial when a match stands at one
games all, began with Müller going 5-1 up fairly quickly. However, Pajares did his bit
to catch up, keeping the ball tight and forcing mistakes from Müller. Another push
from Müller saw him play some daring shots and take another lead, but not before
Pajares put Müller under immense pressure. He did well to use a lighter touch on an
especially fast ball and take it to the front, and went on to take a close game 11-9.
The fourth game began with Müller taking the lead once again, but Pajares was
holding onto his fire like his life depended on it, as he should have. It not only
enabled him to over take Müller but also won him the game and the match. Overall,
Pajares played some of the best squash he has ever played to pull off this upset.
In the process of making a comeback, Dessouky got to a winning start in his match
against Englishman Ben Coleman. Coleman got through his first round match after
Indian player Harinder Pal Sandhu had to default after only a few minutes of play
yesterday. With a bye in the first round, Dessouky looked relaxed and happy to be
on court. This enabled him to get past Coleman and beat him in straight game.
After beating the Wild Card of the tournament, Aditya Jagtap in a close match
yesterday, Ibrahim was ready for another battle. Playing the former world number 3
was never going to be easy, but he pulled off one of the upsets of the tournament as
he beat The Hammer of Thor in a five game encounter.
At 19 years old, Youssef Ibrahim came out onto the glass court ready to play the best
squash he had in him. And with good cause, as he was up against the World #4,
Tarek Momen. Momen, who has had a good first half of the season before the New
Year, is the top seed of the tournament. Ibrahim played splendid squash, well
enough to take a close first game.
In the second, Momen looked more composed as he went on to go up 10-5 and get
the game ball, but Ibrahim didn’t let go. He played a series of beautiful drops to
threaten Momen, closing in at 8-10. But a final stroke in Momen’s favour won him
the game, making the set score one all.
The third game began with Ibrahim in complete control, going up 8-1. He looked
fully in form, with determination etched upon his face. But the experienced World
Number 4 seemed to know exactly what to do; Momen leveled the score and took
the game, in almost miraculous style.
The fourth ended with Ibrahim once again playing stunning squash, but in the end, it
was Momen’s experience that got him through to win the match.
Up against Egypt’s Mohamed Reda, Saurav was looking at a match that wasn’t really going to be easy. Saurav played well in a court he knows very well, in a place he can very much call home. Perhaps all these things helped in the first game, which he won 11-1. But Reda leveled the match score by taking the second game, 11-7, playing very good squash, especially to the front court, against the World Number 12 from India. But Saurav made sure that he kept to his plan, as there was no room for anything loss of focus against the keen Reda, He managed the third game at 11-3, displaying squash that was smooth and telling of his talent and experience. He kept his form through the fourth game, winning it 11-6 and taking the match, He is up against his compatriot and good friend, Ramit Tandon, who beat Tom Richards earlier today.
Mangaonkar got off to more than just a fighting start—up against Marwan Elshorbagy, who last year reached his highest world ranking of world number 3. Mangaonkar won the first game 11-9, displaying tremendous determination and every fibre of quality in his being. Marwan gave him more of a fight in the second, and both players fought for the game. They both did well to stay level with each other through the business end of the game, locking in at 10 all. As one inched forward, the other caught up, but in the end and to the crowd’s delight, it was Mangaonkar who took the game to go two sets to love up.
With Elshorbagy not one, but two steps behind, Mangaonkar looked to take full advantage and played fearless squash in the third game. This worked in his favour, he stayed level with Elshorbagy and as the game hit the halfway mark at 6-7 with Elshorbagy in the lead. However, Elshorbagy has played many more high intensity matches and last year won major events; he is no stranger to pressure-cooker situations. He went up to 10-8 gameball. But then he went up to level with Elshorbagy… and lo and behold—took the match.
Vikram Malhotra had a super match yesterday, beating Mazen Gamal of Egypt in four games. Going off his win, he was due to face the legendary James Willstrop- reigning Commonwealth champion and former world number 1. Though malhotra played very well, Willstrop was just too good. He played his signature squash, very tight against the wall, and more than satisfied the crowd with a double fake. He won the match in three sets, and tomorrow will face Mahesh Mangaonkar.