7:04 am
14 Jun 2024

India Celebrate World Championship Breakthrough In Zurich

6 Aug 2008

India gate-crashed the semi-finals of the Men's World Junior Team Championship in Zurich after a stunning quarter-final victory over fourth seeds France in the biennial World Squash Federation championship being held for the first time in Switzerland.

The fifth seeds made the last eight after a 2/1 win over Australia, the 11th seeds, in the last sixteen round - 16-year-old Ravi Dixit winning the deciding match with a 9-2, 9-1, 9-0 victory over Joshua Larkin.

And it was the Chennai teenager who clinched India's historic maiden appearance in the semi-finals in the decider against France.

France went ahead when Gregoire Marche, a quarter-finalist in last week's individual championship, recovered from a game down to beat Vikram Malhotra, the Indian number one, 1-9, 9-4, 9-0, 9-1.

Having lost previously to Frenchman Lucas Vauzelle, India's second string Aditya Jagtap faced an uphill task in the next match. But the 16-year-old from Mumbai looked determined and played aggressive squash to give his opponent little chance to take the advantage. Jagtap oozed confidence as he had his opponent scrambling all over the court before winning 9-6, 9-2, 9-5 to level the tie.

The decider was a cliff hanger: Dixit started off nervously against Antoine Petrucci and was soon 0/2 down in games and 2-5 down in the third. But, in a remarkable comeback, the Indian number three overcame the deficit before rallying to an 8-10, 2-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-2 victory after 77 minutes to take India into the semis for the first time in its history.

Major Maniam, Consultant Coach to the Squash Rackets Federation of India said: "It was an absolutely outstanding show by three players who believed in themselves - and we can now dare to dream to lift the title in two years' time!"

India will face Asian rivals Pakistan, the second seeds who beat Germany, the No7 seeds, 3/0.

The other semi-final will see defending champions Egypt take on third seeds England in a repeat of the 2006 semi-final. Top seeds Egypt, led by the new world champion Mohamed El Shorbagy, despatched tenth seeds Canada 3/0, while former champions England fought back from a match down to beat Malaysia, the No6 seeds, 2/1.

Quarter-finals:
[1] EGYPT bt [10] CANADA 3-0
Mohamed El Shorbagy bt Nicholas Sachvie 9-3, 9-3, 9-4 (28m)
Andrew Wagih Shoukry bt Andrew Schnell 9-3, 9-4, 3-9, 9-4 (49m)
Amr Khaled Khalifa bt Fred Reid 9-1, 6-9, 9-6
[3] ENGLAND bt [6] MALAYSIA 2-1
Joe Lee lost to Ivan Yuen 9-2, 5-9, 6-9, 1-9 (70m)
Adrian Waller bt Jo Wen Ng 9-3, 9-4, 9-4 (36m)
Alex Ingham bt Kah Wah Cheong 9-1, 9-2, 9-1 (31m)
[5] INDIA bt [4] FRANCE 2-1
Vikram Malhotra lost to Gregoire Marche 9-1, 4-9, 0-9, 1-9
Aditya Jagtap bt Lucas Vauzelle 9-6, 9-2, 9-5
Ravi Dixit bt Antoine Petrucci 8-10, 2-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-2 (77m)
[2] PAKISTAN bt [7] GERMANY 3-0
Aamir Atlas Khan bt Florian Silbernagl 9-3, 9-2, 9-3 (18m)
Waqar Mehboob bt Raphael Kandra 9-7, 9-3, 9-2 (37m)
Mohd Shoaib Hassan bt Norman Junge 9-5, 9-1 (17m)

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[9] NEW ZEALAND bt [15] KUWAIT 3-0
Evan Williams bt Mohammed Al Tawari 9-2, 9-4, 9-1 (22m)
Keegan Burkhart bt Shamlan A Ali 8-10, 5-9, 9-1, 9-6, 9-6 (80m)
Cameron Jamieson bt Nasser Al-Rashid 9-5, 9-3 (16m)
[12] USA bt [13] SOUTH AFRICA 2-1
Todd Harrity bt Thoboki Mohohlo 9-5, 9-5, 9-4 (40m)
Alex Domenick bt Reinhold Hergeth 9-0, 9-6, 9-3 (34m)
Matt Domenick lost to Wian Louwrens 4-9, 4-9
[11] AUSTRALIA bt [14] SWITZERLAND 2-1
Matthew Hopkin lost to Nicolas Mueller 1-9, 6-9, 0-9 (21m)
Jacob Alexander bt Patrick Miescher 9-6, 9-6, 9-1 (43m)
Aaron Fyfe bt Lukas Burkhart 7-9, 9-1, 7-9, 9-1, 9-5 (72m)
[8] HONG KONG bt [17/24] FINLAND 2-1
Leo Au lost to Henrik Mustonen 2-9, 2-9, 3-9 (36m)
Fung Ji Yang bt Ville Hiltunen 9-7, 9-1, 9-3 (42m)
Choy Kit Lun bt Joonas Honkanen 9-5, 9-0, 9-0 (23m)