Top Indian players Saurav Ghosal and Sidharth Suchde placed themselves one victory away from entering the main draw of the US Open Squash Championships at Philadelphia by recording comfortable victories against their first qualifying round opponents.
Qualifying round top seed and world no 26 Ghosal downed John White of Scotland, a former world number one and now head coach at Drexel Univerisity, in three straight games to earn a shot at Ryan Cuskelly of Australia for a place in the main tournament.
Siddharth Suchde also defeated a Scot - Jamie MacAulay -12-10 11-6 11-4 in 42 minutes and would have to beat Nicolas Mueller of Switzerland next to advance to the main draw of the fifth PSA World Series event of the year.
Ghosal defeated the 38-year-old Australian-born White, who represents Scotland and was runner-up in the World and British Opens nine years ago before becoming world No 1 in 2004, 11-8 11-6 11-4 in 36 minutes, to make it to the final qualifying round, according to information available here.
The 25-year-old Ghosal said he expected his vastly experienced rival, who was one of the hardest hitters in the game in his prime, to come hard at him. "I played John once before, when he was still on tour -so I knew what I was going to get. He hits the ball so hard, especially on the forehand, and you have no idea where it's going. I tried to keep it on the backhand but he found winners from elsewhere, so I just had to try to get the ball straight and as tight as I could," said the Kolkata-born Ghosal. Whilte was full of praise for Ghosal's speed around the court.
"He's a speedy boy. He gets everything back and its hard to find a way past when you haven't played in that standard of match for a while.
I enjoyed it though, it was a good match and fun for the crowd, hopefully they'll all be back for the rest of the tournament over the next few days," said White.
The Scot led 8-6 in the opening game before the Indian bounced back and grabbed five points in-a-row with some help from the Scot's errors. He breezed through the next two. "I'm pleased to get off 3-0. He's the draw nobody wanted but I was really looking forward to playing him, he's such a fair player and a crowd pleaser - I always tell the kids in India if you want someone to look up to and emulate John White is the one to look at," said Ghosal after his victory.
Ghosal's Indian compatriot Suchde, the world no 75 from Mumbai, recovered from 0-6 deficit to win the first game against MacAulay 12-10 and then took the next two comfortably against his fast-tiring rival. "It wasn't the greatest of starts. I was probably too relaxed and a bit complacent, but he surprised me and played really well at the start, getting everything right," said Suchde who had studied in Edinburgh University with MacAulay.