Pallikal storms into final of Tournament of Champions
New Delhi: Dipika Pallikal today became the first Indian ever to reach the summit clash of a Silver event when she clinched a three-set thriller against New Zealand`s Jaclyn Hawkes to march into the final of the Tournament of Champions squash meet in New York.
Seventh seed Pallikal, India`s top ranked female player, overcame a spirited challenge from fifth seed Hawkes to prevail 11-5 14-12 11-9 in the first semifinal of the USD 27,000 WISPA silver event at Grand Central terminal.
In the final, Pallikal will meet second seed the Netherlands` Natalie Grinham, who edged past Egypt`s Nour El Sherbini 6-11 11-5 11-5 7-11 11-4 in the other women`s semifinal.
The final matchup will be a test of experience versus youth as 33-year-old Grinham, four-time former World Open finalist, and 20-year-old Chennai sensation Pallikal will be out there to stamp their supremacy over each other.
Against the New Zealander Hawkes, the world ranked 15th Pallikal was especially effective when stepping in to take an early volley -- a playing pattern that was the hallmark of her current coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald.
After coming off the court, Pallikal`s competitive instincts were evident.
"I won`t be happy until I have finished my job and won the tournament," she said.
"I`ve been on the tour since I was 16 and coaches have always been telling me `you`re getting there, you`re getting there. I was thinking `when am I going to get there?` So I am glad things are starting to fall into place," she added.