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Grant grinds Hisham for title

other Updated: Mar 22, 2009 00:52 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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Third-seeded Adrian Grant won the second Indian Challenger 3-star PSA meet defeating Hisham Mohd Ashour of Egypt 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 in the final at the Calcutta Racket Club on Saturday.

The Englishman, ranked 13th in the world was up by two games and had two matchpoints, exactly like top-seed Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia had against Hisham in Friday's semi-final. But a second Egyptian comeback did not happen.

Going for broke and trying yet another fancy drop from the back court, Hisham hit it down, his appeals for a 'not-up' earlier in the rally were ignored by the referees. Grant, who takes a break from competitive squash next, took home a cheque of $4293 and Hisham got $2937.

Shooting to a 6-2 lead with an array of brilliant shots from the front court, Hisham began the final from where he had left on Friday. But Grant, aware of Hisham's injury, kept slowing down the game and prolonging the rallies. He clawed back to 7-7 and then 8-7.

A couple of attempted winners by Hisham going down took Grant to gamepoint. The Englishman dominated the second game which finished in a hurry but right through, Hisham won applause for some amazing winners. Irrespective of the situation of the match, the Egyptian went for his shots going for some amazing angles, winning hearts but risking a lot in the process.

Grant stayed back and just kept running each and every ball down. In the third game too, Hisham got to a 6-3 lead and then let Grant regain the lead. Just like in the first game, Hisham kept going for winners and in some cases looked too hasty in his shot selection.

“I knew his game, the way he goes for his shots. So, I banked on my fitness and kept keeping the ball in play for as long as possible,” said Grant, who won his first title this year in his fifth tournament after reaching four finals. “I had just come back from a three-month lay-off because of a back injury.

But now my hip is not feeling too good. I had a long match yesterday and so I tried to preserve myself and go for winners. Somehow things did not go my way today. But I like the way the crowd got behind me,” Hisham said.