Pallikal wins qualifier, Ghosal out of New York squash

New York, Jan 19: India’s top squash player Dipika Pallikal began her 2014 season with a convincing 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 win over Emily Whitlock of England in the opening qualifying round of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions here Saturday night.

Saurav Ghosal, India’s highest ranked men’s player at 15, lost a hard fought battle against World No.13 Simon Rosner of Germany in the first round of the simultaneously held PSA World Series event. The Kolkata-based player lost 12-14, 16-14, 11-4, 9-11, 5-11 in 101 minutes.

World No.12 Pallikal, the highest-ranked player in the qualifying draw, will now face Hong Kong’s Annie Au for a place in the main draw for the third year in a row. Au defeated Australia’s Donna Urquhart 11-7, 11-3, 12-10.

US number one Amanda Sobhy single-handedly kept home hopes alive after beating compatriot Cecelia Cortes in the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Gold event at the Princeton Club.

Bidding for a second successive appearance in the main draw of the event at Grand Central Terminal in New York – where she made the quarter-finals in 2013 – Sobhy despatched 24-year-old Cortes 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 in just 19 minutes.

The 20-year-old from New York, ranked 18, will now face Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini, ranked just two places higher.

Former world No.4 El Sherbini is making her first appearance on the WSA Tour since May 2013 after suffering a series of injuries. The 18-year-old from Alexandria defeated England’s Sarah Kippax 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 in 60 minutes.

Results (women’s first qualifying round):

Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (31m)

Annie Au (HKG) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-7, 11-3, 12-10 (27m)

Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (60m)

Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Cecelia Cortes (USA) 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (19m)

Line Hansen (DEN) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 (47m)

Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 11-6, 4-11, 11-13, 11-9, 13-11 (53m)

Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 12-10, 11-3, 11-8 (33m)

Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Fernanda Rocha (ARG) 11-0, 11-3, 11-4 (19m)