Kuwait City: Joshna Chinappa led the Indian women`s team`s charge into the semi-finals with a 2-0 win over second-seeded Malaysia in their all-important final pool match of the 16th Asian Team Squash Championship here.
In the first singles Thursday, Joshna scored a spirited 3-1 win over Delia Arnold after losing the first game to prevail 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 12-10. Anaka Alankmony then outplayed Siti Munirah Josoh 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 to give India an unbeatable 2-0 advantage.
The inconsequential third singles match between Dipika Pallikal and Lo Wee Wern was withdrawn to confirm India`s progress into the semi-finals round.
By virtue of this victory, India topped their pool and play fifth-seeded Korea in the semi-finals while the Malaysians will take on top seeded Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, the Indian men`s team cruised past Japan 3-0 to also book their berth in the semi-finals and set up a clash with hosts Kuwait.
It was always going to be an uphill task for third-seeded India against the higher- ranked Malaysians. After Joshna lost the first game, things did not look good for the Indian contingent.
However, a disciplined and defiant Joshna turned things around very quickly, winning the second game 11-4. With this impetus, Joshna won the third game convincingly and was leading 7-3 in the fourth when Delia fought back to lead 10-9.
At that moment, Joshna`s adrenalin was pumping and she played a few wonderful volleys and cross-court drops to win the game and match.
With the Indians leading 1-0, Anaka went up against Siti who is ranked around 50 places above her. Anaka raced off to a 4-0 lead in the first and held on to her leads throughout the match winning in straight games to complete a brilliant performance all round.
Women: India beat Malaysia 2-0: Joshna Chinappa bt Delia Arnold 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 12-10; Anaka Alankmony bt Siti Munirah Josoh 11-6, 11-5, 11-4; Dipika Pallikal vs Lo Wee Wern (match withdrawn).
Men: India beat Japan 3-0: Saurav Ghosal bt Shinnosuke Tsukue 11-3, 11-6, 11-5; Siddharth Suchde bt Yuta Fukui 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3; Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu bt Ryosei Kobayashi 11-1, 11-6.