New York: India`s top squash player Dipika Pallikal began her 2014 season with a convincing 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 win over Emily Whitlock of England in the opening qualifying round of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions here Saturday night.
Saurav Ghosal, India`s highest ranked men`s player at 15, lost a hard fought battle against World No.13 Simon Rosner of Germany in the first round of the simultaneously held PSA World Series event. The Kolkata-based player lost 12-14, 16-14, 11-4, 9-11, 5-11 in 101 minutes.
World No.12 Pallikal, the highest-ranked player in the qualifying draw, will now face Hong Kong`s Annie Au for a place in the main draw for the third year in a row. Au defeated Australia`s Donna Urquhart 11-7, 11-3, 12-10.
US number one Amanda Sobhy single-handedly kept home hopes alive after beating compatriot Cecelia Cortes in the Women`s Squash Association (WSA) Gold event at the Princeton Club.
Bidding for a second successive appearance in the main draw of the event at Grand Central Terminal in New York - where she made the quarter-finals in 2013 - Sobhy despatched 24-year-old Cortes 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 in just 19 minutes.
The 20-year-old from New York, ranked 18, will now face Egypt`s Nour El Sherbini, ranked just two places higher.
Former world No.4 El Sherbini is making her first appearance on the WSA Tour since May 2013 after suffering a series of injuries. The 18-year-old from Alexandria defeated England`s Sarah Kippax 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 in 60 minutes.