India reach quarters of World Team Squash

Nimes (France): India created history by making their maiden entry into the quarter-finals of the WSF World Women`s Team Squash championship here on Wednesday after defeating eighth seeded Netherlands 2-1.

India, seeded 10th, had defeated higher ranked Ireland and Argentina in the pool stage to qualify for the knock-out pre-quarter-final round and they went one better by upstaging the Dutch.

Anaka Alankamony went out first against Milou van der Heijden and the Indian teenager showed great maturity and resilience to play a simple medium paced basic game to overcome her opponent 3-0.

In the second singles, Dipika Pallikal, ranked 13, was up against former World No.2 Natalie Grinham. From the outset, Natalie was firing from all cylinders. Dipika gave everything she had but in vain as the Dutch girl used her drops and lobs to a great effect to win 3-0.

In the deciding match, India No.2 player Joshna Chinappa dropped the first game against a charged up Orla Noom. However, the Indian gathered herself in the second, using effective cross cross-court drives and drops.

The third game once again was close, going Orla`s way. The match once again turned around with Joshna using a wide array of shots which caught Olra Noom flat footed time and again to take the fourth game.

Joshna was on a roll and convincingly won the final two games to ensure India made a historic entry into the elite group of eight.

It was only the third time India has participated in this event which has been running since 1979. In 2002, the Indian women finished 18th and in 2010, 11th.

The results (pre-quarter-finals):

(10) India beat (8) The Netherlands 2-1: Anaka Alankamony bt Milou van der Heijden 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (42mins); Dipika Pallikal lost to Natalie Grinham 8-11, 4-11, 3-11; Joshna Chinappa bt Orla Noom 5-11, 11-9,8-11, 11-2, 11-3 (49m).