Minutes after Saurav Ghosal registered the biggest win of his career over Cameron Pilley in the opening round of the Punj-Lloyd PSA Masters, the national champion was gushing with happiness. Whether that happiness was due to the victory or the prospect of playing Amr Shabana in the next round remained a guess.
For, during the post-match conference, Ghosal spend more time adoring and talking about the quality of four-time world champion Shabana.
On Monday, Ghosal showed the master that he could also come up with some exceptional strokes but could not match the overall quality of Shabana and went down 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10 in 48 minutes.
Though the Indian was thoroughly outplayed in the first game that lasted only nine minutes, Ghosal had his moment of glory when he made the most of a “generous” gesture by Shabana to clinch the second game.
At 4-4, the referee gave a let when Shabana was in the way of Ghosal but the defending champion told the referee that his opponent should be awarded the stroke as he had not moved out of line soon.
Shabana won the third with ease despite making too many unforced errors while trying to play the short drops. Ghosal led his opponent for the major part of the fourth game and even had a game ball but a debatable call allowed the experienced Egyptian to wrap up the match.
Ghosal was disappointed with the way he lost but was happy with his overall display. “Obviously, playing Shabana is very difficult. But I guess I kept pace with him and that will give me confidence for the future,” he added.
Shabana will now face compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy for a place in the last four. Shorbagy upset sixth seed James Willstrop of England in a hard-fought five-game encounter.