Mumbai: India`s hope of witnessing its players in the main draw of the US Open squash tournament in Philadelphia were dashed when both Saurav Ghosal and Sidharth Suchde lost their last qualifying round ties.
World no 26 Ghosal, the top seed in the qualifiers, was shocked by Australia`s Ryan Cuskelly in a battle that lasted 80 minutes at the end of which the Kolkata-born Indian was beaten 11-7 6-11 13-11 11-9 at the Drexel University`s all-glass court, according to information received here.
Suchde, from Mumbai, went down 7-11 11-8 11-5 11-9 to Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller in another qualifying match of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year.
Against his steady and determined 24-year-old left-handed Australian rival, Ghosal found the going tough. After the first two games were shared, the New South Welshman took a crucial lead by saving a game ball in the third game.
Ghosal, known for his fleet-footedness, was made to scamper around by Cuskelly, ranked 42nd in the world, who controlled the rallies well, and forced the Indian to commit errors.
Ghosal sniffed a come-back chance midway through the fourth game as Cuskelly looked tired and fell behind 4-8 from 4-all. But the Aussie regrouped to draw level at 9 and then forced two errors from the Indian to squeeze into the main draw.
"I found a couple of extra gears. I wouldn`t have minded a shorter match. But I have to be happy to take out the top qualifying seed to make the main draw," said Cuskelly, after the tough battle with Ghosal.
The training stint Cuskelly has put in with former World and US Open winner Rodney Martin in New York seemed to have paid good dividends.
"The work I`ve been doing with Rodney is starting to pay off now. I`m able to play the type of game I want to play, keeping it tight, forcing the loose ball out of them and attacking when the opportunity comes. I felt my game was struggling, but he`s really given me a boost," he added.
There was further disappointment for India when Suchde went down to his Swiss rival Mueller, who withstood a fast-paced attack from the former.
Suchde bagged the first game and opened up a good lead in the second to raise visions of a victory before Mueller fought back to take the second and third games.
In the fourth, Suchde again stepped up the pace and led 7-4, but his go-for-broke game saw him finding the tin often which brought Mueller back into the game. Two errors at 9-all put paid to the Indian`s hopes.
"It was a tough first two games. He played well to go 1/0 and 5-2 up, but I was just too loose. I managed to get some quick points to get back into it, and started to control it better in the third. The last was point for point. He hit a few winners but fortunately he hit more tins," said the Swiss after his victory.