Egypt Deny India World Cup
Under-21 Triumph In Chennai
In a dramatic clash which went the full distance, favourites Egypt eventually overcame surprise opponents India 2/1 in the final of the SDAT WSF Under-21 World Cup to deny the hosts a historic first world title in the inaugural World Squash Federation event before an ecstatic crowd at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai.
It was a tall order for India in the opening match where team number one Ravi Dixit, ranked 183 in the world, faced Egypt's world No33 Marwan El Shorbagy, the highest-ranked man in the tournament.
But El Shorbagy, still only 18, stamped his authority to win 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 in 58 minutes - and put Egypt into the lead.
But the match of the championship then followed - in which the star of Indian squash Dipika Pallikal, the highest-ranked woman in the event, faced Egyptian rival Nour El Sherbini.
Chennai born-and-bred Pallikal took the opening game, but to the dismay of the crowd, Sherbini won the next two to move ahead.
The Egyptian maintained her control of the match to march on to match-ball at 10-6. But Pallikal was not about to concede and, urged on by the exuberant crowd, clawed her way back into the game - saving four match-balls to draw level.
The crowd erupted - shouting and screaming more than ever before - and it as some time before the local heroine was able to resume play. Twice more Sherbini moved to within a single point of the title - and twice Pallikal fought back before finally converting her own first game ball - having saved six match-balls - to win the game 14-12.
With crowd scenes and screams rarely witnessed before at a squash event, Pallikal returned to the court inspired. After losing two points from 8-3 up, she returned the next serve into the nick, delivered a delicate back hand drop shot again into the nick before winning the third on a no let to claim a sensational 11-7, 4-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-5 victory after 74 long minutes.
Later, the Indian champion who is now coached by Australian legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald, admitted that the match had been her toughest of all-time. "I spoke to Sarah this morning and I knew she'd be watching - and all I could think about, when I was match-ball down, was what would I tell her when we next spoke.
"She had told me to keep going until the very end - the game's not over until somebody wins - and that's where I got my strength and confidence," explained Pallikal.
"And I didn't want to lose in front of my family and friends."
With the crowd now sensing a shock victory, the semi-final hero Ramit Tandon took to the court to face Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad in the decider.
Gawad, a 20-year-old ranked 42 in the world, took the first game after a tie-break and then moved 2/0 ahead. But spurred on by the increasingly noisy crowd, Kolkata-born Tandon - ranked almost 300 places below his opponent - battled hard and took the third game to reduce the deficit.
But as the Egyptian reclaimed the advantage in the fourth, the crowd became more muted until Gawad eventually clinched his third match-ball to win 12-10, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 after 67 minutes to earn the title for Egypt.
"It was a quality match for both sides - but I'm happy we did it for the second time," said Egyptian coach Amir Wagih, making reference to his country's victory almost 12 months earlier in the senior World Cup in Chennai.
 EGYPT bt  INDIA 2/1 Marwan El Shorbagy bt Ravi Dixit 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 (58m)
Nour El Sherbini lost to Dipika Pallikal 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-14, 5-11 (74m)
Karim Abdel Gawad bt Ramit Tandon 12-10, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 (67m)
 EGYPT bt  ENGLAND 2/1
 INDIA bt  FRANCE 2/1 Ravi Dixit lost to Lucas Serme 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 7-11 (65m)
Dipika Pallikal bt Chloe Mesic 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (26m)
Ramit Tandon bt Geoffrey Demont 11-5, 6-11, 11-2, 14-12 (57m)
5th - 8th place play-offs:
Round robin RESULTS:
 INDIA bt  AUSTRALIA 3/0 Ravi Dixit bt Jamie McErvale 11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 11-9 (58m)
Dipika Pallikal bt Sarah Cardwell 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (42m)
Ramit Tandon bt Walter Koteka 11-1, 11-2, 11-4 (17m)
2nd qualifying rounds:
 EGYPT bt  INDIA 3/0 Marwan El Shorbagy bt Ravi Dixit 11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 12-10 (44m)
Nour El Sherbini bt Anaka Alankamony 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 (25m)
Karim Abdel Gawad bt Karan Malik 3-11, 11-9, 11-0, 11-3 (31m)
1st qualifying rounds:
 INDIA bt  GERMANY 3/0 Ramit Tandon bt Rudi Rohrmuller 11-2, 11-5, 12-10 (45m)
Dipika Pallikal bt Franziska Hennes 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 (20m)
Karan Malik bt Valentin Rapp 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (33m)
Search for content
Indian Squash Professionals
B/705, 7th Floor, Raylon Arcade, Next to Pidilite, Kondivita Lane, Andheri -East, Mumbai – 400 059
Tel : 9122-42382000 (50 lines)
Fax : 9122-42382020