Ritwik Bhattacharya in final (Article in The Hindu, Mumbai : 31/7/2004)
Ritwik Bhattacharya beat
back a resurgent Sahil Vora to take his appointed place in the men’s final
of the Rs.6 lakh Herald Maritime Services Open squash on Friday. The top
seed from Delhi won 15-10, 15-7, 17-16 in the first semifinal and will take
on the winner of the match between second seed Siddharth Suchde and former
national Champion Manish Chotrani.
Ranked 67th on
the Professional Squash Association circuit, the Delhi-based pro-appeared to
be in control early on, before the unseeded Mumbai player caught up at 14-14
in the third, won the next two points for 16-14 before the former roared
back, clinching the tie with a delicate drop to the left corner.
The boy’s under-19 final
will be an all Mumbai affair, with top two seeds Rushabh Vora and Manek
Mathur winning their semi final matches against fourth seed Ritesh Sharma (Jindal)
and Imran Khan (Dhampur) respectively.
Sahil Vora tames Nandrajog (Article in The Free Press of Journal, Mumbai
Local player Sahil Vora
had plenty to prove on the squash court against Delhi’s fourth seed Gaurav
Nandrajog and he did it style, upsetting the higher ranked player in
straight games at 15-7, 15-10, 15-13 in the country’s richest squash event,
the Rs.6 lakh prize money Herald Maritime Services Squash Open at the
Otters Club, here, on Thursday.
Vora goes on to a
semi-final clash with the men’s top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya, who shrugged
off the challenge from Karan Bhatty with a 15-10, 15-6, 15-2 victory.
Action also hotted up in
the boys under-19 category with matches going the distance and providing
high drama in the pre-quarter-finals.
While top seed Rushabh
Vora sailed through his match against Dhampur’s Naresh Kumar 15-3, 15-13,
15-11. second seed Manek Mathur had to stretch every sinew of his tall, lanky
fram to quell the challenge from Dhiraj Nagpal before prevailing 15-11,
13-15, 15-13, 17-15, 15-11.
Also being taken the
distance was fourth seed Ritesh Sharma of Jindal, the decider going 17-16 in
his favour against Siddharth Samantray. While top seed Vora will meet Sharma
in the semi finals, Mathur awaits the winner of the match between Dhampur’s
third seed Imran Khan and Jindal’s Sarvesh Chauhan.
Vora, ignored for a
couple of selection trials inspite of featuring in the semi-finals of a
couple of all-India events, went into the match against Nandrajog with a
plan. He slowed down the game tremendously and kept going for his winners,
finding the nicks and corners with amazing accuracy.
Nandrajog, who succumbed
to Vora’s tactics, kept making silly errors as he ran out of patience and
finally handed the game on a platter to the player from Mumbai.
The boys under-19 match
between Mathur and Nagpal saw fortunes fluctuating with every game, but
Nagpal emerged the surprised packet, giving the more fancied Mathur a run
for his money.
Bhattacharya, Suchde set up title clash (Article in Mid-Day, Mumbai : 31/7/2004)
Top seed Ritwik
Bhattacharya and Siddharth Suchde set up a finals clash in the Herald
Maritime Service Squash Open at Otters Club in contrasting styles.
If number one seed
Bhattacharya had it easy against fifth seed Sahil Vora winning 15-10, 15-7,
17-16 the second seeded Suchde laboured against former top seed and current
number three Manish Chotrani, Suchde finally 15-13, 15-12, 10-15, 15-5.
Though Vora stretched
Bhattacharya in the third game and looked to pull one back after leading
16-15, his experienced opponent held his nerve and denied Vora the pleasure
of winning a game.
“I never had doubts about
who would win the game,” said Bhattacharya. “It was just that I relaxed a
bit and Vora took full advantage. Though he played well and got the lead, I
was sure of taking the next two points,” said the top seed Bhattacharya.
“This was the closest I
could get to beating Bhattacharya,” said Vora. “It was close and I had I
picked the ball properly the third game could have been mine,” Vora said
Age was the main factor
in the former national champion Chotrani’s loss to 19-year-old Suchde. The
difference was visible in the way the duo went about the game. Chotrani
could not keep up with the aggression and speed of his younger opponent.
Though the third seed
Chotrani had experience on his side he could not keep up with his younger
opponent who had played in the professional Squash Association tournament in
Chennai recently. Suchde a student of Harvard used his training in Scotland
and the experience of playing competitive games there to good effect.
“I was control but he
managed to win back the third game,” said Suchde. “He was making me run all
over, but I feel he could not keep up the pace and hence lost the fourth
On his title encounter
against Bhattacharya Suchde said he respected the top seed but on the court
it was different. “I will go all out for a win and it should be tough game,”
Though Bhattacharya had
beaten Suchde in the PSA at Chennai in straight sets he was cautious and
said he would have to be careful. “Suchde is a good player and can prove to
be a handful in crucial matches. I will have play my best game and be on me
toes as relaxing even for a moment can prove costly,” he said.
Ritwik, Rushabh in India’s richest tourney (Article in Afternoon, Mumbai : 23/7/2004)
Ritwik Bhattacharya of
Delhi and Rushabh Vora of Mumbai will get top billing in the men’s and boys
under-19 respectively in India’s richest prize money (Rs.6 lakh) 2nd
Herald Maritime Services Squash Open to be held at Otters Club, Bandra from
Monday, July 26 till Saturday, July 31.
Sponsored by Herald
Maritime Services and organised by Indian Squash Professionals under the
auspices of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra, the tournament
will see competition in four categories, with the men’s singles winner
standing to gain a purse of Rs.1 lakh, an unprecedented amount in the
country’s squash history.
“As part of this
tournament, the Chief Referee Yoginder Singh of Delhi will conduct a
five-day refresher course and referees clinic for July 27-31,” Captain
Jamshed Appoo of Herald Maritime informed.
“Another bold step by the
sponsors will see country’s top player who is playing in the PSA circuit,
Ritwik Bhattacharya, conduct a two-days free coaching clinic for youngster at
the Khar Gymkhana on July 26 and 27,” he added.
The tournament will also
feature events for boys Under-15 and men Over-40. The top seed in Under-15
event is local lad Vikram Malhotra while Onil Parmanik is the top seed for
Announcing the prize
money, Capt. Appoo, said the men’s winner will take home Rs.1lakh while the
runner-up will get Rs.50,000.
The losing semi-finalists
and losing quarter-finalists will also stand to gain Rs.25,000 and Rs.10,000
The boys Under-19
champion will be richer by Rs.75,000 while the runner-up will get Rs.35,000.
The losing semi-finalists and the quarter-finalists will also make Rs.15,000
and Rs.8,000 each respectively.
The winner of the
Under-15 event will pocket Rs.25,000 while the runner-up stands to gain
The over-40 winner will
stand to gain Rs.40,000 while the runner-up will get Rs.20,000.
The seedings (Mens): 1.
Ritwik Bhattacharya, 2. Siddharth Suchde, 3. Manish Chotrani, 4. Gaurav
Boys Under-19: 1. Rushabh
Vora, 2. Manek Mathur, 3. Imran Khan, 4. Ritesh Sharma.
Under-15: 1. Vikram
Malhotra, 2. Laxman Joshi, 3. Ravi Dixit, 4. Nitin Chauhan.
Mens Over-40: 1.Onil
Parmanik, 2. Chandrakant Pawar, 3.Deepak Moolani, 4. Anant More.
Indians are picking up : Jahangir (Article in Asian Age, Mumbai : 2/8/2004)
On Sunday, trailing 1-2,
Ritwik Bhattacharya came out of the glass enclosure after winning the third
game of the match and asked, “Any tips” to the man sitting right in front.
There wasn’t a better person to advise him then. This man knew only about
Jahangir Khan was one
sportsman who came closest to invincibility. Not losing a single match on
the squash court for five years and eight months, he won six World Opens and
a record ten British Opens on the trot. His fitness regime and winning
strategy are legendary, and on Sunday, Mumbai got a glimpse of him.
Khan was in the city as a
guest of honour for the finals of the Herald Maritime All India Squash Open
at the Otters Club.
The 40-years-old, now the
President of the World Squash Federation, was treated to an exciting match
between India number one Ritwik Bhattacharya and the second Siddharth Suchde.
“It’s great to see Indian Players, especially the juniors, do so well in a
sport, they haven’t excelled traditionally” he said after the match. The
youngster, Suchde, had just caused an upset in five games and joined in the
impressive gang of India’s Squash teens.
The soft-spoken Khan
said, “Indian juniors are winning international competitions like the
British Open and that shows they are right up physically with the
Though not speaking in
the capacity of the president of the WSF, he said that squash needs to be
introduced in schools and colleges so that it can exit being an exclusive,
private club level sport.
“Countries like Indian
and Pakistan also need to introduce public squash courts to get all the
youngsters involved in the game.”
Disappointed with the
standard of the game in Pakistan, be said, “There is a definite decline in
Pakistan squash through the 1990’s. We used to have more competitions and
work hard. I don’t see that kind of standard anymore.” For almost a decade
the WSF has been working towards making squash an Olympic sport but the
response hasn't been encouraging. Even Khan thinks that squash cannot get
into Olympics till 2012.
“Almost 123 countries
take part in the Olympics, all of them have to agree and then you also have
to build the infastructure,” he reasoned.
Mahesh shocks Ravi in opener (Article in The Asian Age, Mumbai : 29/7/2004)
Juniors Mahesh Mangaonkar
and Cyrus Vakil came up with inspired performance, but finished with
contrasting finals of the country’s richest squash event, the Rs.6 lakh
prize money Herald Maritme All India Open Squash Championship, at the Otters
Club, here, on Wednesday.
While the unseeded
Mangaonkar upset the boys under-15 third seed from Dhampur, Ravi Dixit in
four games, Cakil took the boys under-19 third seed, Imran Khan also from
Dhampur to the distance before losing the decider 13-15.
Mangaonkar, the under-11
current national champion, playing his first tournament in the under-15
category, played a game far mature to his age to flummox Dixit, who is the
country’s No.2 player in the under-13 age group. Mangaonkar goes on to meet
Jindal’s Naveen Jangra in the round of eight.
The unseeded Vakil also
did well to keep pace with the strongly built powerful hitter from Dhampur,
Imran Khan. The third seed won the first game at a canter but was taken
aback by the spirited fight back from the local lad, who won the next two
games in a jiffy.
Proving a point Vora shows he is good enough with upset win
over Nandrajog (Article in Mid-Day, Mumbai : 30/7/2004)
Sahil Vora had a point to
prove and he did it in style. The 20-year-old defeated India number four
Gaurav Nandrajog in three straight sets 15-8, 15-10, 15-13 in the Herald
Maritime Services Squash Open at the Otters Club to prove to the men who
matter in squash’s governing body in India----the Squash Racquets Federation
of India (SRFI) that they have not been fair by excluding him from the Asian
Seniors selection trails.
The win was sweet revenge
for Vora as he had been at the receiving end against Nandrajog, including a
loss in the final in this tournament last year. With the win Vora advanced
to the semi-finals of the men’s category.
Nandrajog was in trouble
from the start conceding the first ten points of the match.
Game two and three were a
repeat of the first. Only some concerted efforts on the part of Nandrajog
helped him get respectability to the scoreboard.
The urge to win was too
great for the winner and words like “I still play squash after the match
showed the extent to which Vora was affected by his non-selection.
“It hurts,” said Vora.
“Just because I haven’t been going for camps to Chennai, (home to SRFI) it
does not mean I am not fit to make it to the national team.
“They did not even call
me for the Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournament that was held at
Chennai recently. They did that just to miff me as I did not toe the line
drawn by them by following their schedule,” Vora complained.
Incidentally Vora’s younger
brother Rushabh was invited but he did not go as he wanted to concentrate on
the preparations for the Herald Open.
Nandrajog was devastated
by the loss and rued his inability to make it to the semi-finals. “Vora was
never a threat to me. I had beaten him when I wasn’t playing well, I feel he
was plain lucky today,” he said regretfully.
Noida’s Khanna Wins a thriller (Article in The Free Press Journal, Mumbai :
Noida’s Harish Khanna had
a fight on his hands against local professional superior fitness which held
him good sted in the decider as he prevailed in five games to make the main
draw of the men’s singles in the country’s richest squash event, the Rs.6
lakh prize money Hearld Maritime All India Squash Open at the Otters Club,
Khanna who won the first
two games at 15-9, 15-11 was taken aback at the gritty display from Solanki
who hung on tenaciously and raised his display to win the next two at 15-8,
15-10 and level scores. However, his legs gave way in the decider and he
could not match the player from Noida, who won quite comfortably at 15-8.
A total of 216 entries
were received for this event, which forced qualifying rounds to be held in
the boys under-19 and under-15 age groups also, the main draws of which will
also begin on Tuesday.
Vakil Stretches Khan (Article in Mid-Day, Mumbai : 29/7/2004)
Save me god,” yelled
unseeded Cyrus Vakil as a last resort to beat third seed Imran Khan. But
divine intervention was not forthcoming as he went down 15-9, 10-5, 10-15,
15-4, 15-13 in an under-19 third round match of the Herald Maritime Services
Squash Open at the Otters Club yesterday.
The match was to be a
formality as Khan had easily overcome Vakil in the Delhi Open some months
ago. But the third seed was stretched beyond expectations.
Calling on all his
experience, the 18-year-old Khan, who has been on the national circuit for
six years managed to make it par after he was down 1-2 before the fire-works
started in the deciding set.
Neither of the duo
relented and scores remained tied till 12-12 before Khan took a decisive
two-point lead. Not one to give up easily Vakil fought back and managed to
win a point. But a low backhand stroke that sounded the board put paid to
“I had a good chance of
winning the game,” said Vakil. “ have no regrets considering the difference
in our ages. Though I lost the game, it has helped me gauge where I stand at
the national level. It has boosted my confidence and I hope to do well at
the nationals in October,” stated Vakil.
Suchde downs Chotrani (Article in Times of India, Mumbai :
Local favourite Manish
Chotrani is a near certainly for all Otters Club finals. However, at this
year’s Rs.6 lakh Herald Maritime Services Squash Open, his hopes were dashed
by the young and energetic Siddharth Suchde.
The 19-years-old played
at a frenetic pace to put out the former national champion 15-13, 15-10,
12-15, 15-5 in the men’s semi-finals.
Suchde now plays
defending champion and top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya next. Bhattacharya
brushed aside Sahil Vora 15-6, 15-9, 17-16 in the other semi-final.
The sheer pace variety of
Suchde’s game had Chotrani scampering. His drop, volley and boasts were
exemplary. Chotrani did build up early leads but was unable to maintain the
momentum as he was forced into number of errors.
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