India’s Joshna Chinappa produced a fine performance with tremendous stroke-play combined with accurate placements in defeating second seed Line Hansen of Denmark. It was the 10th WSA title for the third-seeded Indian, whose last victory on the circuit came in the 2014 Richmond Open. As on Thursday night, there were three Indians in contention but while Joshna stayed on course for the top honors, Kush Kumar and Mahesh Mangaonkar dropped out on the way. Kush Kumar lost in the quarter finals to Steven Finitsis of Australia after two confident rounds and Mangaonkar lost in the semifinal to the Australian top-seed Ryan Cuskelly, who was the eventual winner in the US $ 15,000 Victorian Open at Melbourne.
The Victorian Open was first played as an amateur event in 1931. That made the 2015 event as the 85th edition. It is the second largest squash event down under after the Australian Open squash. Indians have had a good run in the 2015 Vic Open and until the quarterfinal stage, they made their presence felt until the quarterfinal stage on the permanent all-glass courts of Melbourne. On the last day, August 02, 2015, Joshna Chinappa took the women’s title while her male compatriots Mahesh Mangaokar and Kush Kumar faded out on the way on Friday and Thursday respectively.
Kush Kumar was the first Indian to exit the men’s section of the Vic Open. On Thursday, the former national junior champion Kush had a tough opponent in the sixth-seeded Australian Steven Finitsis. Kush couldn’t stand to the relentless shot-making of the Australian and fizzled out in three straight games 5-11, 7-11, 9-11. On Friday, July 31, Mahesh Mangaokar also lost his semifinal match to top seed Ryan Cuskelly of Australia. In the quarterfinal, Mahesh had played creditably against England’s Jaymie Haycocks and completed a four game victory at 13-15, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7. But Ryan Cuskelly proved too strong for Mahesh. The Australian had dropped just one game in the tournament before his semifinal face-off with the Indian and he kept it that way and played tough against the Indian in completing a forceful 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 victory.
But Joshna Chinappa made the decisive difference in Sunday’s final. The third seeded Indian had a good semifinal earlier on Saturday, in which she defeated eighth seeded Australian Christine Nunn. The Australian could not repeat her earlier performance against the top seed Rachael Grinham, against whom she had scored an upset victory. But Joshna played an intelligent game and overpowered Nunn in three games; 11-7, 11-5, 11-9. When time came to face the tournament’s second seed Line Hansen of Denmark, Joshna was ready. She surprised the Danish woman with a mix of powerful smashes and accuracy in placement. After easily winning the first game 11-5, Joshna kept the momentum intact in the next two games before finishing a creditable 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 victory. It was a sweet revenge for Joshna after her loss to Hansen last week in Kooyong. Mahesh Mangaokar’s conqueror and top seed Ryan Cuskelly took the men’s title with a 12-10, 13-11, 11-9 victory over Scotland’s Greg Lobban of Scotland.
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