Dipika Pallikal Karthik dethroned defending champion Joshna Chinappa to regain the women’s title in the 73rd Senior National Squash Championship in Mumbai on Sunday.
The men’s crown was captured by title holder and top seed Saurav Ghosal, who created history by winning it for the 11th time, defeating fourth seed Harinderpal Singh Sandhu in five hard-fought games at the Otters Club.
Ghosal beat Sandhu 11-7 7-11 3-11 11-8 14-12 after an 88-minute battle to go past RK Narpat Singh’s feat of 10 titles, won from 1946 to 1955.
“We have played five national finals. We played well right through. There was very little to separate us. It’s hardest to play Harinder Pal. It was one of the most enjoyable and high quality matches I have played,” said Ghosal after his triumph.
It was also his second successive five-game match after having got past third seed Vikram Malhotra in the semi finals yesterday.
World no. 19 Dipika, who was playing in the nationals after a five-year gap when she won in 2011, made it to the tops once again by beating arch-rival Joshna 4-11 11-6 11-2 11-8 in 43 minutes.
Up 2-1, Dipika raced to a 7-2 lead in the fourth game before Joshna closed in at 7-8 to raise hopes of a humdinger. But the second seed did not leave it for the decider and won three points in a row to take the match away and deny Joshna her 15th national crown.
“There was no solid gameplan. I just wanted to keep the ball in and win as many points as possible. We’ve had many close battles on court in the past. We are attacking players and both have similar games. This has been a satisfying victory since it’s come after a long time.
“We now look forward to defending the gold at the Commonwealth Games in two years for which we have already started training,” said Dipika.
“I think I got too defensive in the second and third games. Dipika stepped up the pressure and hit good winners while I wasn’t playing the game I really wanted to play. I was excited to play at the Otters Club and wanted to display a good match,” said Joshna.