The mixed doubles and singles squash semi-finalists of the 19th Asian Games have been confirmed after an entertaining day at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre.
In the mixed doubles, which is making its Asian Games debut, top seeded Indian duo Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Harinder Sandhu survived a scare when they fought back to beat Philippines’ Jemyca Aribado and Robert Garcia.
Aribado and Garcia, seeded seventh, deservedly took the first game, with the pair well organised and covering each other effectively in an 11-7 win.
Pallikal Karthik – reigning mixed doubles world champion – and Sandhu quickly reset, though, with the Indian duo finding their rhythm as they flipped the match with 11-5 and 11-4 wins.
“Myself and Hari know each other well and, even without saying many words, we understand each other, which is a good thing. We try to pump each other up and remind each other to have fun on court because that’s when we play our best,” Pallikal Karthik said afterwards.
Pallikal Karthik and Sandhu will face Hong Kong, China duo Ka Yi Lee and Chi Him Wong after the No.6 seeds beat compatriots and No.5 seeds Tsz-Wing Tong & Ming Hong Tang 2-0.
The other semi-final also features Indian representation, with No.4 seeds Anahat Singh and Abhay Singh coming through a tricky encounter with Republic of Korean No.11 seeds Yeongsoo Yang and Dongjin Lee to earn a semi-final against Malaysian No.2 seeds Aifa Azman and Syafiq Kamal, who beat Republic of Korean No.9 seeds Hwayeong Eum and JaeJin Yoo 2-0.
In the singles events, Hong Kong’s Henry Leung came through a battling encounter as he upset compatriot and 3/4 seed Tsz Kwan Lau in straight games.
Leung and Lau went into the contest plenty familiar with each other and seemingly evenly matched, having met six times in recent seasons, winning three apiece.
Today, though, it was Leung who had the upper hand, with the 28-year-old getting the better of Lau in straight games, with the final game a tense 12-10 win.
Leung will take on No.2 seed and 2014 runner up Saurav Ghosal in the semi-final after the Indian No.1, who also won a bronze medal in 2018, 2010 and 2006, beat Japan’s 5/8 seed Ryunosuke Tsukue in straight games.
The other men’s semi-final will be contested by top seed Eain Yow Ng of Malaysia, who recovered from a difficult start to beat 2014 winner and 9/16 seed Abdullah Almezayen of Kuwait, and Qatari 3/4 seed Abdulla Al Tamimi, who comfortably overcame Malaysia’s 5/8 seed Addeen Idrakie.
In the women’s draw, play went to seedings, with top seed Satomi Watanabe becoming the first ever Japanese player to reach the semi-final thanks to an 11-5, 11-6, 14-12 win over India’s Tanvi Khanna.
Watanabe faces 3/4 seed Sivasangari Subramaniam in what could be an Asian Games classic tomorrow. Despite her lower seeding, the Malaysian goes into the match with a 9-1 head-to-head record against Watanabe, something the Japanese No.1 will no doubt be desperate to rectify on the grandest of stages tomorrow.
The other semi-final will be an all Hong Kong, China clash, with No.2 seed Tomato Ho going up against Sin Yuk Chan, with the pair recording comfortable victories over Japan’s Akari Midorikawa and Malaysia’s Aira Azman, respectively.
Tomorrow, October 04, sees the semi-finals of both the singles and mixed doubles events take place.
Play begins at 12:00 (GMT+8) at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre with the mixed doubles semi-finals, with the singles semi-finals beginning from 15:00.
Click here to view detailed results from the quarter-finals of the doubles and singles competitions at the Hangzhou Asian Games.