Home News HCL Squash Tour: Anahat Singh, Ravindu Laksiri emerge champions 

HCL Squash Tour: Anahat Singh, Ravindu Laksiri emerge champions 

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Sri Lankan Ravindu Laksiri was declared the winner as second seed Rahul Baitha failed to turn up for the men’s final in the Chennai leg of the HCL Squash Tour, a PSA Challenger event at the Indian Squash and Triathlon Academy (ISTA) here on Saturday.

The match official, who declared Ravindu the winner after 3:05 p.m., announced that he was doing so since Baitha hadn’t turned up within 20 minutes from the match’s start time (2:45 p.m.).

Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) Secretary General Cyrus Poncha said that Baitha had misread 14:45 as 4:45 p.m. Speaking of the episode, Poncha said: “The women’s match finished nearly around 10 minutes to three. Then, I suddenly realised that they were looking for him. They said, ‘He’s not here.’a

READ | Teenager Anahat Singh, unbeaten in 2024, chases third straight title on PSA Challenger Tour

“I called him up around 3 o’clock and asked, ‘Where are you? You’ve got your match.’ I thought, possibly, he was warming up somewhere or in the loo. He said, ‘No, my match is at 4:45 p.m.’ So, I replied, ‘It’s not 4:45, it’s 14:45, which is now, time has passed.’”

Incidentally, Baitha arrived after his opponent had been declared the winner and didn’t stay for the presentation.

Anahat Singh had it easy, 11-5, 11-3, 11-3, versus Rathika Suthanthira Seelan in the women’s final to clinch her third straight PSA Challenger title of the year.

Rathika seemed off-colour in the match that mattered the most. She seemed to make enough unforced errors to play herself out of the contest. For instance, in the second game, she hit the tin twice for Anahat to go up 5-1 from 3-1. She also hit the tin for Anahat to go up 9-3 and for Anahat to close out the match 11-3. Contrastingly, Anahat hit the tin seemingly once for Rathika to get to 3-7 from 2-7.

This is the second knockout loss to Anahat for Rathika in the PSA Challenger Tour this year. She had lost in straight games in just 16 minutes in the semifinal of the JSW Willingdon Little Masters and Senior Tournament in Mumbai in January. Anahat went on to win that tournament before claiming the Hamdard Squashters Northern Slam title in New Delhi in April.

Speaking of her unbeaten run in the PSA Challenger Tour this year so far, the 16-year-old Anahat said: “I’m happy. I played these PSAs mainly just to get my ranking up so that I could participate in the bigger PSAs. I’m happy I could win these tournaments. It’s really helpful and important for my rankings.”

She added that she couldn’t practise for this tournament as much as she would have liked to because of her board exams.

The results (finals):

HCL Squash Tour – Chennai: Men: Ravindu Laksiri (SL) w/o Rahul Baitha (Mah); Anahat Singh (Del) bt Rathika Suthanthira Seelan (TN) 11-5, 11-3, 11-3.

Southern Slam: Boys: u-11: Dhairya Gogia bt Tilakvir Kapoor 11-4, 11-6, 11-2; u-13: Dhruv Bopana bt Shayan Samtani 14-12, 11-3, 11-6; u-15: Lokesh Subramani bt Shiven Agarwal 9-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8; u-17: Subhash Choudhary bt Vedant Chheda 11-6, 11-5, 11-8; u-19: Sandhesh bt Karan Yadav 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5.

Girls: u-11: Divyanshi Jain bt Shanaya Parasrampuria 11-3 11-7 11-4; u-13: Deepa Debiram bt Anika Kalanki 12-10, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7; u-15 Diva Shah bt Aadya Budhia 11-8, 11-6, 11-2; u-17: Akanksha Gupta bt Rudra Singh 11-8, 11-9, 11-8; u-19: Anahat Singh bt Shameena Riaz 11-6, 11-3, 11-2.

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