For the first time since 2012, India’s no.1 squash player Saurav Ghosal won a PSA World Tour title by registering an emphatic 3-0 victory over Egypt’s top-seeded Marwan Elshorbagy in the final of the Kolkata International JSW Indian Squash tournament. World no.12 Marwan Elshorbagy is the brother of world’s top ranked player Mohamed Elshorbagy and a competent player in his own right.. But Ghosal packed too much ammunition in the match and played brilliantly throughout the tournament without losing a single game. Though he had the support of the partisan Kolkata crowd; that was not the only reason for Saurav Ghosal’s victory in the title match against Elshorbagy.
Saurav Ghosal’s last PSA World Tour title came in February 2012, when he defeated Pakistani qualifier Yasir Butt in the final of the METROsquash Windy City Open at Chicago. In the Kolkata International JSW Open, the Indian had a great run up to the final. In the quarterfinal, Ghosal defeated compatriot Mahesh Mangaonkar 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 and set up a semifinal clash with South Africa’s second seeded Stephen Coppinger. Against the South African, the 29-year old Indian maintained a consistent and generally error-free game while Coppinger struggled and had to save two match points in the third game before Ghosal sealed the match with an emphatic 11-4, 11-4, 11-3 victory. But Marwan Elshorbagy had a much harder challenge thrown at him by England’s Chris Simpson, whose resilience took the semifinal match to four games despite the top-seeded Egyptian winning the first two. Finally, Elshorbagy emerged victorious with a 11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6 score-line in a 55 minute match.
In the final on Sunday September 27, 2015, the no.3 seed Saurav Ghosal came face to face with top-seeded Elshorbagy. Egged on by the home crowd, Ghosal began with a fierce pace and the Egyptian struggled to keep up with Ghosal’s powerful game. Ghosal kept attacking and Elshorbagy ran all over the court for retrieving the ball. Towards the end of the first game, a couple of strokes went in Ghosal’s favor as he took the game 11-7. Ghosal carried the momentum in the second game and Elshorbagy’s unforced error count rose. Ghosal capitalized on his opponent’s wayward game and his dominance was manifest in his 11-2 win in the second game. Elshorbagy looked somewhat frustrated but he forced himself into the third game and scored some impressive points against the Indian. However, Ghosal kept his cool and his unrelenting energy prevailed over the Egyptian as he took the third game as well and sealed the match with an 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 triumph. It was the Indian’s fifth career PSA World Tour title and the first PSA M35 crown.
It was a sweet redemption for the world no.15 Ghosal, who lost to Borja Golan in Mumbai two weeks ago. But in Kolkata, the Indian truly deserved the victory as he performed creditably all through the tournament. Ghosal didn’t drop a single game in his progress to the final while Elshorbagy had a five-game thrilling quarterfinal against Australia’s Rex Hedrick before he could secure his place in the semifinal.
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