India is assured of its first ever women's singles medal in the Asian Games after top players Dipika Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa won their respective openers in Incheon, South Korea on Saturday and set up an exciting contest in the quarter-finals.
World No.21 Chinappa blanked 183rd ranked South Korea Song Sunmi 11-9 11-7 11-7 at the Yeorumul Squash Courts.
Soon after, World No.12 Pallikal stepped on the court against 150th ranked Jinyue Gu of China. The highest-ranked Indian slipped a bit before prevailing 11-6 10-12 11-6 11-4.
The teammates now face each other in the quarter-finals on Sunday, less than two months after winning India's first ever squash medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, where they won the women's doubles gold.
Whoever wins the match will be assured of a medal as the losing semi-finalists get a bronze each in the quadrennial event.
Both Pallikal and Chinappa have called the draw "unfortunate" and the former had even considered a pullout claiming "manipulation".
The face-off will be pulsating nonetheless. Both players know each other's game very well and the difference in their rankings is going to count little.
India has so far won four medals (all bronze) at the Asian Games since the sport was introduced in the 1998 Bangkok edition. Two of them have come courtesy Saurav Ghosal and the rest in men's and women's team events.