Mahesh becomes first Indian to win Bratislava squash event
Teen sensation Mahesh Mangaonkar became the first Indian squash player to win the IMET Open, the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 event, in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava.other Updated: Dec 16, 2013 15:47 IST
Teen sensation Mahesh Mangaonkar became the first Indian squash player to win the IMET Open, the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 event, in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava.
The five-game victories over the event's top two seeds led to Mahesh making a breakthrough appearance in the sixth edition of the IMET Open.
The 19-year-old World No 98 from Mumbai downed two-time champion Jan Koukal, the top seed from the Czech Republic, 13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 13-11 in the semi-finals in 98 minutes at the Imet Squash Centrum.
Third seed Mahesh then lined up against defending champion Greg Lobban, the No 2 seed from Scotland, who was celebrating his third successive appearance in a Tour final.
Despite his heroics less than 24 hours earlier, the Indian teenager was still able to call upon reserves to recover from losing the first game to take a 2-1 lead.
Edinburgh-based Lobban, ranked 82 in the world, dug deep to take the fourth and force a fifth game decider.
But Mahesh refused to give up, reclaiming the advantage to close out the match 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-7 after 77 minutes to take the title.
"The turning point of this final was in the second set, where I started to move properly on the court," said the jubilant champion after the second Tour title triumph of his career.
"I was happy to win the third, rested a bit in fourth and fought back in fifth. Squash is also a mental game and I gave it all I had in the final game," he said.