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All eyes on Joshna-Dipika doubles pair for CWG squash glory

india Updated: Oct 10, 2010 16:18 IST

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India's best hopes of winning its first medal in squash at the Commonwealth Games now rest with the second seeded doubles pair of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal after the early exit of the hosts from the singles event.

On Tuesday, curtains were drawn on the Indian campaign in the singles event after national champions Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa went down fighting to their respective opponents in the pre-quarters of the men's and women's section.

Earlier, in the men's event, Harinder Pal Sandhu and Siddharth Suchde had become the second round casualty while women's event saw the downfall of Anwesha Reddy, Surbhi Mishra and Anaka Alankamony.

The promising women's singles player Dipika Pallikal, who had pulled out of the singles event due to a mild fever, is recovering fast from her illness and Chinappa believes with her Chennai partner, the country can look for a medal haul in the doubles event when the Indians hit the court on October 9.

"We have a good chance of winning a medal in the doubles category. Even we can get positive about mixed doubles category where Pallikal will pair up with Saurav Ghosal. India have never won a Commonwealth Games medal and we do hope this year we will be able to change this record," Chinappa told PTI.

"Our higher seeding in the doubles event will also work to our advantage. India will have to ward off some stiff challenge from English and Aussie players. We all are looking forward to give our best," the world ranked 34th Chinappa added.

The 19-year-old Pallikal, who has regularly come up with heartening performances with Chinappa at both national and international events, echoed similar sentiments and said she is confident of a good showing in the event.

"The preparation has been good. We have been seeded second in the doubles category and are mixing up well at the international tournaments. We are looking for a good medal haul. The home crowd will also play an important role," Pallikal said.

The Indian duo won an invitational tournament in Manchester this year and from there on, started taking the doubles game more seriously.

While Chinappa won the German Open on the WISPA Pro tour in May this year, Dipika won the WISPA Indian challenger this year and reached the finals of the Cairo Open in Egypt.

Ever since its introduction in the Commonwealth Games in 1998, squash has been one of the low-profile events for India but the medal jinx could be broken this time with in-form trio of Ghosal, Chinappa and Pallikal making waves internationally.

The 24-year-old Kolkata racqueter Ghosal said he is realistic about his chances in the mixed doubles event with Pallikal.

"I am pairing up with Dipika in mixed doubles and we have done pretty well in recent past. Harinder Pal Sandhu will line-up with Joshna Chinappa in mixed doubles. They have also done well. So we have bright chances in that category. In doubles, Joshna-Dipika pack a punch. They are simply great in their equation," said Ghosal.

The main attractions in the mixed doubles category will be top seed Australian pair of Kasey Brown and Cameron Pilley, second seed English pair Jenny Duncalf and James Willstrop and Malaysia's Nicol David and Ong Beng Hee, seeded third.

In the women's doubles, Joshna-Dipika pair have to ward off some stiff challenge from English and Aussie players which include top seed Australians Kasey Brown and Donna Urquhart and fourth seed Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters of England.