Chennai: Indian racqueters overcame a spirited challenge from South Africa to top Group F and qualify for the pre-quarterfinals of the World Team Squash Championship at Padewrborn, Germany.
India, seeded sixth in the tournament, will next play unheralded Denmark, who pulled off the biggest upset in the championship by beating Pakistan in today`s final qualifying round, a result which pushes one of the world`s most successful squash nations out of the world`s top 16 for the first time in their history.
India`s Siddharth Suchde won a hard fought battle against Shaun le Roux 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-1, 11-6 in 80 minutes in the first singles. Suchde had to claw his way back from a 1-2 deficit against hard hitting Shaun.
It was Suchde`s ability to finsh the ball that saw him win the fourth game comfortably and the decider from 5-all.
There seemed to be a repeat performance when Harinder Pal Sandhu too fought back from 1-2 games against the `Ninja` Clinton Leeuw to win 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8.
Sandhu seemed to be in total control of the match winning the first and leading in the second. A string of unforced errors gave Clinton the impetus who grabbed his chances to take a lead. It was Sandhu`s never say die attitude that ensured his victory after a 83-minute duel.
India`s top ranked player Saurav Ghosal then wrapped up the proceedings with a classy performance against Stephen Coppinger, showing his vast array of shots.
Ghosal, ranked 26th in the world, won 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 in 28 minutes.
The line-up for the pre-quarter-finals:
England vs Hong Kong China; Italy vs Mexico; Australia vs Netherlands; India vs Denmark; Malaysia vs South Africa; France vs Finland; Canada vs USA; Egypt vs Germany.