India might have been aiming for a first Commonwealth medal in squash but that particular challenge will have to wait now for another four years, at least in the singles event.
Eleventh seed Saurav Ghosal lost to third-seeded Englishman Peter Barker, but not before he put up a fight that drew cheers from the sparse crowd seated in the stands of the Centre Court.
The scoreboard, which said 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, did not do enough justice to the efforts 24-year-old Ghosal put into the match.
For 76 minutes, he effortlessly ran around the court, retrieving, chasing and picking, against an opponent ranked 8th in the world. Ghosal slowly picked up pace from the second game onwards. When the third game rolled in, he managed to take it to the frustrated English, who complained to the umpires on many occasions. As Ghosal won the third game 13-11, the crowd became vociferous in its chants and egged him on.
But Barker showed his worth as one of the top seeds and crushed his opponent 11-5 in the fourth and final game to seal the match. A defeated and dejected Ghosal walked off to loud applause.
"He defended very well in the beginning. I tried to pick up my pace to match his. I played well, but lost. I'd rather have played badly and won," pointed out Ghosal.
Among the ladies, 15th seed Joshna Chinappa was also shown the door by the world champion and top seed Nicol David. In a match that lasted just under 30 minutes, Chinappa was beaten 11-5, 12-10, 11-7 and seemed to give it a shot only in the second game. With a game-ball at 10-9, Chinappa served out and lost her chance to close the game.
The Indian contingent will now wait for October 9, when the doubles' events commence. Until then, it is time to practice and sweat it out. "I'm hoping mixed doubles goes well. Hopefully Dipika will recover in time and we can get a few practice sessions in," said a hopeful Ghosal.