New Delhi: Second seed Dipika Pallikal and Anaka Alankamony scored a historic first for India at the World Junior Women’s Squash championship by advancing to the quarterfinals of the elite event with comfortable wins in Cologne, Germany.
This is the first time that India will have two players in the last-eight stage of the prestigious event.
Lone seeded Indian in the women’s section, Pallikal got past Egyptian Salma Hany 12-10 11-8 11-8 in just 33 minutes, while Alankamony routed the challenge of Catalina Pelaez of Colombia 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 in 28 minutes in their respective pre-quarterfinal encounters.
Pallikal, who has been in good nick since winning the WISPA Indian Challenger in Kolkata in April, came back after trailing at one stage.
Down 0-5 in the first game, she levelled the scoreline before stretching the game to the tie breaker against Hany.
Although Pallikal made errors, she proved her superiority with lethal drives to win the crucial first game and the match in straight games to shrug off her defeat earlier this year at the British Juniors.
Alankamony was the first to enter the quarters after her clinical display against a determined Pelaez. Although it was a straight game win, Anaka was drawn into many grueling rallies where Palaez retrieved some amazing balls diving around the court.
Alankamony kept her cool and despite being down in both the first and third game played some delightful volleys and drops and often wrong footed Pelaez with her cross court drives. In the end, Alankamony proved to be too consistent for her senior opponent.
It was a perfect day for the other Indian girls as Aparajitha Balamurukan and Anwesha Reddy, featuring in their play-off position matches, won their respective encounters in straight games to confirm they would be ranked top 24.
Balamurukan got the better of Denmark’s Amalie Bornaes 11-1 11-4 11-2, while Reddy defeated Oxane Ah-Hu of France 11-5 11-3 11-7.
Both Balamurukan and Reddy had lost their opening round encounter to France’s Julia Lecoq 8-11 11-9 11-9 4-11 4-11 and Farah Abdel Megiud of Egypt 4-11 7-11 6-11 respectively.