Chennai: Dipika Pallikal exited from the Asian Squash championship after suffering a crushing 5-11, 5-11, 2-11 defeat at the hands of world number one Malsysian Nicol David in the women’s semifinals here on Monday.
The challenge of Saurav Ghosal, world no 27, also ended as he went down fighting against defending champion Mohd Azlan Iskander of Malaysia 5-11, 6-11, 5-11 in men’s semifinal.
The Malaysians are just a step away from retaining both the titles, Iskander will take on Amir Atlas Khan of Pakistan in the final while David will play Rebacca Chiu in the women’s final on Tuesday.
Atlas Khan required just 31 minutes to dispose of compatriot Yasir Ali Butt 11-6, 11-7, 11-0.
Ghosal played well but Iskander’s expereince stood him in good stead.
Earlier in the first semifinal, Hong Kong’s highest ranked player at 18, Chiu had to dig deep into her reserves to beat compatriot Joey Chan, an equally talented player.
Down 0-2, Chan made a stunning comeback to level the scores but eventually held her nerves to eke out a 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 15-17, 11-4 win in 46 minutes.
Pallikal, ranked 38 in the world, found the going tough but earned praise of her opponent.
The world champion praised Pallikal’s fighting abilities and said she had improved her game.
“My assessment of Dipika is that she has made tremendous strides and showing great improvement in short time. She was not giving easy points to me and made me work hard,” David said.
“It is good to have such young players from Asia showing strengths of making big at the world level,” she said.
As for the match, Pallikal led 3-0 in the first game and once David assessed the strength of the Indian and also understood her game plan, the Malaysian required just about five minutes to clinch the game.
The story was no different in the remaining two games as David hardly broke sweat in sealing the final match berth.