World Junior Squash: India go down fighting to Canada

Wroclaw (Poland): Canadian girls won the crucial points to claim victory over the Indians in the 5th-8th play-off at the WSF World Junior Women`s Team Squash Championship here.

In the first singles Friday, Harshit Kaur Jawanda swept past Hollie Naughton 11-4, 13-11, 12-10 to put India ahead. The Canadians levelled when Alyssa Mehta beat Lakshya Raghavendran 6-11, 11-8, 11-4, 12-10.

With the tie finely poised on a knife edge, Sachika Ingale could not find the magical touch to clinch the tie for India as Chloe Chemtob defeated the Indian 11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10 to take Canada to a 2-1 victory.

Jawanda gave India a perfect start by dominating Canadian No.1 Naughton. The Indian dominated to win the first game on the back of some superb drives and drops.

Naughton, with her ankle heavily strapped, put up brave resistance in the second and the third games, but Jawanda played smart, moving the Canadian around the court and eventually forced the errors to win two tight games and put India ahead.

Raghavendran raced away to a 6-0 lead and closed out a comfortable first game against Mehta in the crucial second match. Mehta kept it tight in the second and at 8-8, she won a couple of good points to take the game 11-8.

Raghavendran’s shoulders dropped and her intensity vanished allowing the Canadian to race away with the third game.

Trailing 2-7 in the fourth game, Raghavendran finally found the spirit to get out of the rut and put up a fight. While the Indian narrowed the gap, Mehta had enough of a lead to close out the match 12-10 and level the tie at 1-1.

With the outcome of the tie hinging on the final match, Chemtob took Ingale by surprise with her attacking play to take the first two games, but surely, the Indian worked her way back into the match, slowing the tempo to suit her game and reined in her aggression.

Ingale’s tactical shift paid rich dividends as she won the next two games to take the match into a decider. The final game proved every bit as enthralling as one could expect.

Ingale, trailing 8-10, played couple of wonderful volleys to save the match points and draw level, but she followed those two saves with an easy miss on her forehand volley into an open court and a backhand into the tin to lose the game 10-12, match and tie to Canada.

India take on New Zealand in the final match in a bid to finish seventh.


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