Egypt beat India to enter World Team Squash semis


Chennai : Favourites and top seeded Egypt, led by world champion Amr Shabana, drubbed India 3-0 to enter the semi-finals of the 21st ICL World Men’s Team Squash Championship here Monday.

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Egypt will take on Australia who got past Canada 3-0 while, France who beat Malaysia 3-0, face second seeded England, the 3-0 winners over the Netherlands.

The Indians came away wiser from the experience while the Egyptians hardly felt the absence of World No.8 Karim Darwish who is nursing an injury.

Only in the first match did the Indians manage to keep pace with their opponents when Ritwik Bhattacharya stretched a wayward world no.9 Wael El Hindi.

El Hindi, often distracted by referee’s decisions and also warned for “excessive pushing”, took a close first game 13-11, before running away with the next two at 11-4, 11-8 to put Egypt in front.

Later, Shabana, the 28-year old southpaw who only last week won the World Open at Bermuda, was just too good for Indian champion Saurav Ghosal, comfortably winning 11-5, 11-8, 11-9, despite looking nowhere near his best.

“It has been a tough five weeks for me and I am still getting used to the conditions here. But I am sure, I will play better since we have two more matches and playing Australia in the semis tomorrow,” said Shabana.

Ghosal, playing the world champion for the first time, admitted that he barely had a chance against Shabana although in a couple of rallies, the Indian did stretch his opponent with some delectable shots.

“It was a great experience for me. Shabana is just awesome with his length and width besides strokes that only he can play. That is why he is the world’s best player. I would love to play the top-10 players much more and it is bound to improve my game,” said the 21-year old Ghosal, ranked 48th as he chose to look at the positives he could take from the match.

In the third match Mohammed Abbas defeated Sidharth Suchde 11-6, 11-8 to complete a 3-0 sweep for Egypt.

Indian coach Cyrus Poncha said: “Honestly, we didn’t expect any other result from this match. But then, I am extremely happy that we broke into top-eight. There is still a lot of potential for us to do even better. Overall, our performance was better than the target we had set, which was to be in the top 12.”

India will play Canada while Netherlands meet Malaysia for fifth to eighth positions.

Results (quarter-finals):

Egypt beat India 3-0 (Wael El Hindi beat Ritwik Bhattacharya 13-11, 11-4, 11-8; Amr Shabana beat Saurav Ghosal 11-5, 11-8, 11-9; Mohammed Abbas beat Sidharth Suchde 11-6, 11-8)

Australia beat Canada 3-0

France beat Malaysia 3-0

England beat Netherlands 3-0.