Jaipur: Asian Games gold medallists Mahesh Mangoankar and Harinderpal Sandhu will clash in the final of the first JSW Squash Challenger Circuit Trophy after winning their respective semifinals here on Saturday.
In the first semifinals, top seed Mangaonkar beat Englishman Angus Gillams 3-0 (12-10, 11-3, 11-2) to book a place in the final. Harinderpal Sandhu defeated sixth seeded England's Adam Murrills 3-1 (11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2) in less than an hour in the other semifinal to set up a summit clash against Mangaonkar. Sandhu and Mangaonkar were members of the gold medal-winning team in the Incheon Asian Games.
In the first semifinal, Gillans started well keeping Mangaonkar of the middle and moving him well to all corners of the court and got his nose ahead in the first game.
Mangaonkar got better and also fought for the T and pulled back to level terms before Gillans took it up a gear to reach 10-7. Mangaonkar, determined not to lose the first game, patiently cut out his Ufe's and improved his length to take the first game into a tie break and forced two errors from Gillans to win a nail-biting first game 12-10.
In the second game, Mangaonkar kept up the momentum to go up 5-1 and forced Gillams to change tactics and further increase the pace. Long rallys with Mahesh winning the majority of points as well as forcing many errors closed out the second game 11-3 to go up 2 games to nil.
In the third game, Mangaonkar was even more severe which he won 11-2 to earned a place in the final. In second semifinal, Sandhu started with full intensity and kept Adam pinned to the back corners with some amazing length and width to win the first game comfortably 11-5. The second game also seemed to follow the same pattern before Murrills slowly worked himself into the game from 3-8 down to level terms at 9-9 and won five points in a row to win the second game, making it a game a piece.
The third game saw Murrills start well and pull out a slender lead of 4-1 before Sandhu found his rhythms again and improved his intensity to again come out on top 11-6 and take a 2 to 1 advantage. The fourth game was Sandhu all the way till he reached 9-2 and looked like he would finish things off comfortably but Murrills came back strongly. But, ultimately Sandhu got the better of his opponent to clinch the issue.