Chinappa & Pallikal Guarantee India’s First Commonwealth Games Medal
A dramatic upset by Joshana Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal over second-seeded Australian pair Kasey Brown & Rachael Grinham in Friday’s Women’s Doubles semi-finals at Glasgow 2014 has guaranteed India its first ever Commonwealth Games Squash medal.
The fifth-seeded Indians recovered from a second game fight-back on the all-glass showcourt at the Scotstoun Sports Campus in Glasgow to win 11-9, 7-11, 11-4 in 50 minutes.
“It’s historic that we’ve won a medal but we won’t be satisfied until we get the gold medal,” said Pallikal, the 22-year-old from Chennai who was taken ill on the eve of the 2010 Games in Delhi and unable to make her eagerly-anticipated Commonwealth debut on home soil.
“Every match is difficult but we have come this far and don’t want to give up,” continued Pallikal, ranked 10 in the world. “The English girls are number one but anything can happen in doubles.”
Chinappa explained the bond between the two: “Last Commonwealth Games, Dipika was sick and we had a really good chance. This time we were confident nothing would happen – we were fit and well and both of us were doing our respective training.
“We knew we would cause some upsets and it is fantastic for our Squash to finally get that first medal,” added the 27-year-old world No21. “Hopefully the government will help us more and promote the game more.
“The gold medal in any discipline is a fantastic achievement. This is our Olympics.”
Duncalf and Massaro overcame compatriots Emma Beddoes & Alison Waters 11-7, 11-8 to earn their place in the final.
On what he described as a “critical day”, Australia’s David Palmer survived two tough battles to keep alive his hopes of a first ever Games gold medal – and of extending his shared six-medal record since his debut in 1998.
The 38-year-old from New South Wales, nicknamed ‘The Marine’, first partnered Rachael Grinham to an 11-6, 11-9 Mixed Doubles win over Indians Dipika Pallikal & Saurav Ghosal – then, less than an hour later, returned to the spectacular showcourt with fellow New South Welshman Cameron Pilley to beat local heroes Stuart Crawford & Greg Lobban 11-9, 11-5 in the Men’s Doubles quarter-finals.
The atmosphere in the packed arena was something to behold – a sell-out crowd (in excess of 2,000) of partisan Scots cheering and stamping their feet in support of underdogs Crawford & Lobban, the 8th seeds who upset the seventh seeds to secure their place in the quarters.
It was neck and neck throughout the first game before the second seeded Aussies pulled away from 9-all.
After the earlier mixed quarter-final victory, Palmer said: “We’re just happy to get through – we knew it was going to be tough, it was one of the hardest quarter-finals.
“Dipika’s very strong on the forehand and Saurav’s one of the best movers in the game. This is a critical day.
“Rachael has great touch down the middle of the court – her deception down the middle really worked.”
Grinham added: “Every time we get on this court it’s a great day. Each time I come into this arena, I get goose-bumps – it’s the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in.
“Doubles? I’m really loving it!”
Palmer’s men’s doubles partner Cameron Pilley is also still in line for double gold. He and Kasey Brown, winners of the mixed gold medal in Delhi, eased in to the semis following an 11-1, 11-8 win over New Zealanders Amanda Landers-Murphy & Paul Coll.
Brown, who was celebrating her 29th birthday, said: “It’s not a bad way to start your birthday. It’s great in front of all this crowd – I’m pretty happy at the moment.”
Pilley added: “We both gelled together really well then, especially in the first game. We just blew them away in the first and they warmed up in the second. But we managed to reel off about six points on the trot.”
England retain medal hopes in all three events. Top seeds and defending champions Adrian Grant & Nick Matthew took their anticipated place in the men’s semi-finals after beating Welshmen Peter Creed & David Evans 11-9, 11-4.
“It was a war in all respects really, it’s just really intense and we had to hang in there and be tough, try and play our best squash and keep it together in a lot of momentum shifts,” explained singles silver medallist Willstrop.
“They could have beaten us today and that is going to be able to happen every game, we know that.
“I can’t really explain doubles, it’s like a leveller with different angles. There is a whole different environment – but in badminton and tennis they have doubles specialists so it feels like a whole different sport to us.”
Willstrop’s partner Selby admitted: “James is a very good and calming influence on me – I wish I could have him with me in the singles. It works well for us.
“They are both very good doubles players – they moved us out of position a lot. Paul Coll is an excellent athlete.
“I’m really enjoying playing doubles – it’s great to be able to fight for a medal.”
Beddoes said: “That’s about as close a doubles game as you can get. Doubles is just a different game but some of the top players don’t like it.
“I’ll be back next time absolutely. I’m only 21 and Paul is only 22.”
The action on the fourth day of 2014 Commonwealth Games Squash Doubles was perfectly – and succinctly – summed by event MC Alan Thatcher: “Drama, excitement, passion, skill noisy crowds all add up to a brilliant showcase for doubles squash!”
RESULTS: Commonwealth Games Squash, Glasgow, Scotland
Men’s Doubles quarter-finals:
 Adrian Grant & Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Peter Creed & David Evans (WAL) 11-9, 11-4 (45m)
 Alan Clyne & Harry Leitch (SCO) bt  Ryan Cuskelly & Matthew Karwalski (AUS) 11-7, 11-5 (46m)
 Daryl Selby & James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Lance Beddoes & Paul Coll (NZL) 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 (68m)
 David Palmer & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt  Stuart Crawford & Greg Lobban (SCO) 11-9, 11-5 (45m)
Women’s Doubles semi-finals:
 Jenny Duncalf & Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Emma Beddoes & Alison Waters (ENG) 11-7, 11-8 (39m)
 Joshana Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt  Kasey Brown & Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-9, 7-11, 11-4 (50m)
Mixed Doubles quarter-finals:
 Kasey Brown & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt  Amanda Landers-Murphy & Paul Coll (NZL) 11-1, 11-8 (24m)
 Rachael Grinham & David Palmer (AUS) bt  Dipika Pallikal & Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-6, 11-9 (33m)
 Alison Waters & Peter Barker (ENG) bt  Sarah Kippax & Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-5, 11-7 (39m)
 Joelle King & Martin Knight (NZL) bt  Joshana Chinappa & Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 7-11, 11-8, 11-6 (55m)