Indian squash player Joshna Chinappa pulled off a major upset at the El Gouna international squash tournament, as she overcame 8 time world champion and World No. 1 Nicol David 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 in the second round on Sunday, to register her first ever career victory against David.
Chinappa, who won a silver medal for India at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast attacked David (who is seeded 8th in the tournament) from the off, and did not allow her to settle into a rhythm. She was up by two games in relatively quick fashion, requiring to win only one more game to seal the victory.
Chinappa’s dominance continued, and she was 7-1 up in the third game in no time. Despite some resistance late on by the Malaysian David, the third game too ended at the score of 11-8 to give Chinappa an entry into the third round of the tournament.
Speaking to the official PSA World Tour website after the win, Chinappa said, “I don’t know how I did it. A few of us are just back from the Commonwealth Games, not just me, and that’s one of the challenges of being a professional athlete. I knew I had a tough first round, then Nicol in the pre-quarters, so I had no pressure, and I just wanted to play freely and enjoy myself.”
Joshna’s opponent in the next round will be the winner of the match between England’s Laura Massaro and Hong Kong’s Joey Chan. She continued, “I think I played pretty well, most of my balls went in, but I was just thinking one point at a time. I didn’t come on court with any particular game plan, I just came to play, I didn’t think about the match before, just had a good night sleep, ate well, and came for my match.”
Even national coach Cyrus Poncha was in a jubilant mood after Chinappa’s win, and said, “Ever since the Commonwealth Games campaign, Joshna has been determined to sharpen her skills in the run-up to the Asian Games. This is a great day for Indian squash.”
However, not all Indians playing in the tournament made it to the last eight. Dipika Pallikal was beaten by Camille Serme of France 10-12, 7-11, 12-14 in the first round in El Gouna.