Mumbai: National champion Saurav Ghosal kept the Indian challenge alive in the USD 35,000 CCI Open Squash Championships with a hard-fought 3-2 semi final victory over up and coming Egyptian rival Mazen Hesham here on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Indian, at a career-high 15 in world rankings and seeded no. 2 in this the second tournament of the JSW Indian Circuit, had to put his best foot forward against his 21-year-old rival, ranked 20th, before winning 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8 in 89 minutes.
The Kolkata-born Indian ace will meet top-seeded Spanish rival Borja Golan in tomorrow's final.
Golan, world No 13, was leading 11-7, 10-8 against South African opponent Shaun Le Roux pulled out of their semi-final contest after an on-court injury when he and the Spaniard collided.
The Ghosal-Hesham match was expected to be a razor sharp contest and ultimately it proved to be after the Indian star, who has entered his third PSA tour event final in five months, took a commanding 2-0 lead.
The fight-back by Hesham, who rose to prominence in 2012 after securing his first PSA World Tour title at the NSC Sram Series No.3 in Kuala Lumpur, stunned the Indian and forced a deciding game.
It was fought tooth and nail before the ten-time national champion clinched it after a needle contest to enter the final at the Cricket Club of India?s courts.
The Ghosal-Hesham clash was a battle between two
fleet-footed players with the Indian champion egged on by the crowd.
Ghosal jumped to a 7-5 lead before Hesham drew level only for the Indian to raise his game a notch and win it 11-7.
Hesham led 6-3 in the second and then 7-4 and 8-6 before the Egyptian played two fine drops to go up game-ball. A string of errors enabled the Indian to draw level and force the game into extra points which Ghosal won from 11-all when his opponent committed costly errors.
Hesham led 9-6 in the third before going into his error-prone ways to allow the Indian draw level at 9. The Egyptian took the next point and then played a superb two-wall boast to clinch the game.
The two went hammer and tongs at each other in the fourth till 7-all when he produced two fine winners to make it 9-7 and then closed out the game to draw level in the match.
With everything hanging on this game, Ghosal took a 9-8 lead following another error from Hesham after the two players level-pegged. The Indian kept his nerves, went to match-ball and then finished off the match in style.