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Egypt's Ali Farag stuns India's top seed Saurav Ghosal

Thursday, 3 July 2014 - 9:58pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

  • Saurav Ghosal in action against Joey Barrington of England at the Pakistan Open Squash Championship in November 2006 AFP photo

India's top player and number one seed Saurav Ghosal crashed to a shock first round defeat against qualifier Ali Farag of Egypt in a five-game contest in the 2nd CCI PSA International Squash Championship on Thursday in Mumbai.

Eight-time national champion Ghosal, the world number 16 who entered the $25,000 event for gaining valuable practice for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month, had his plans upset when his Egyptian rival pulled off a 10-12 11-7 7-11 11-8 11-4 win in 77 minutes. The victory was also the Egyptian's first over the 27-year-old Kolkata-born Indian, a quarter finalist at the last world championship as the 190th ranked Farag rallied brilliantly from a 1-2 deficit to script a stunning upset.

However, India's number two player Harinderpal Singh Sandhu kept the country's hopes alive when he rallied from 0-2 deficit to shock fourth seed and world number 47 Mohd. Ali Anwar Reda of Egypt 8-11 8-11 12-10 11-9 11-9 win in an 87-minute thriller.

Farag launched a late recovery in brilliant fashion with some memorable shots as he forced the decider in which Ghosal committed a slew of errors, hitting the tin once too often. Those mistakes by Ghosal enabled Farag take a 10-3 lead at match-ball before he completed a memorable upset to disappoint the packed gallery at the Cricket Club of India's glass-backed court.

"Saurav's got a reputation and I knew what to expect. Yes, I was worried when I was down 1-2. But I played with no pressure at all, and that made the difference," said a delighted Farag. 

In another first round match, Kush Kumar of India went down to fifth seed Jamie Haycocks of England 12-14 13-11, 3-11 11-4 13-11 after a 73-minute struggle. Kumar, who recently won the under-19 silver medal at the 21st Asian Junior individual championship in Kish Island, Iran, frittered away a 2-1 advantage before losing a closely fought decider.

Results (1st round): 6-Zahed Mohd (Egy) bt Ammar Altamimi (Kuw) 11-5 8-11 11-4 12-10; 8-Kristian Frost Olesen (Den) bt Jens Schoor (Ger) 11-4 11-5 11-5; 5-Jamie Haycocks (Eng) bt Kush Kumar (Ind) 12-14 13-11 3-11 11-4 13-11; Nasir Iqbal (Pak) bt Shehab Essam Hosny (Egy) 11-1 9-11 12-10 11-9; Ali Farag (Egy) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 10-12 11-7 7-11 11-8 11-4; Harinderpal Singh Sandhu (Ind) bt 4-Mohd. Ali Anwar Reda (Egy) 8-11 8-11 12-10 11-9 11-9. 

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