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Serena announces retirement after US Open

The 40-year-old admitted afterwards she was “getting close to the light at the end of the tunnel” with regards to her remarkable career, before furthering that statement with her article…reports Asian Lite News

Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, on Tuesday hinted towards her retirement, saying that she is “evolving away from tennis” after the US Open.

Writing for Vogue, the American said she is moving towards “other things that are important to me”, adding she does not like the word “retirement”.

Williams made her singles return at Wimbledon in June after a lengthy injury lay-off that had led to speculation about her retirement. She registered her first singles win in 14 months, beating Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz to reach the second round of the National Bank Open in Toronto on Monday.

The 40-year-old admitted afterwards she was “getting close to the light at the end of the tunnel” with regards to her remarkable career, before furthering that statement with her article.

“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Williams wrote in Vogue.

“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.

“I’ve been reluctant to admit that I have to move on from playing tennis. It’s like a taboo topic. It comes up, and I start to cry. I think the only person I’ve really gone there with is my therapist,” she added.

The star player was knocked out by Harmony Tan at Wimbledon in her first singles match for a year earlier this summer, but has her sights set on the US Open in what could prove her farewell tournament.

Williams’ last Grand Slam title came in 2017 to take her tally to 23, leaving her one shy of a 24th that would bring her level with Margaret Court’s record for most majors.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun,” she added in the article.

“I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’, I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

ALSO READ-Lanka Premier League 2022 to start on December 6

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Qatar WC to start a day earlier

Under the requested change the Netherlands game would then move from a 1pm kick-off slot to the 7pm slot originally for Qatar v Ecuador, while the England and US games would not be affected…reports Asian Lite News

The upcoming football World Cup is to start a day earlier than planned to allow hosts Qatar playing the first match.

DPA and other media have learnt that the council of the world governing body FIFA is dealing with an according request. The match between Qatar and Ecuador on November 20 would start at 7pm (1700 GMT) at Al Bayt Stadium.

FIFA is yet to comment on the issue.

Under the original tournament format the game would have been the third of four matches scheduled for the first day, November 21, starting with the Netherlands v Senegal and the other games being England v Iran and the United States v Wales.

Under the requested change the Netherlands game would then move from a 1pm kick-off slot to the 7pm slot originally for Qatar v Ecuador, while the England and US games would not be affected.

The request was made after an according agreement of both teams and the South American confederation CONMEBOL. It also apparently won’t lead to changes of release dates for players.

The host nation has played the first match between 1958 and 1970, and again since the 2006 tournament in Germany.

The 1974-2002 tournaments were opened by the defending champion who however is no longer automatically qualified. There was no official opening game between 1930 and 1954.

ALSO READ-India-Qatar bilateral trade touched $15 billion: Naidu

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PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, Saina Nehwal handed tough draws in BWF

Malvika Bansod is the third Indian in the women’s singles draw and starts her campaign against Danish world No. 21 Line Christophersen…reports Asian Lite News

After a successful campaign at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games, Indian badminton players, including PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen, will be keen to continue their stellar run at the BWF World Championships 2022 which starts in Tokyo from August 22.

World No 7 Sindhu, who won her maiden singles gold at CWG 2022 in Birmingham, will be eyeing her second world title, having won the event in 2019.

However, it will be a challenging task for the two-time Olympic medallist, who may run into Wang Zhi Yi of China, the reigning Asian champion, and An Se Young of Korea, ranked No. 3 in the world badminton rankings, even before the semi-finals.

Sindhu got a bye in the first round and will potentially face Wang Zhi Yi in round three. An Se Young remains a possible opponent for the quarterfinals if the seedings play out.

Meanwhile, former World No 1 Saina Nehwal will return to the court after missing the CWG. The London Olympics bronze medallist, currently ranked 28th, will meet Jong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in her opener and may come across world No 6 Nozomi Okuhara of Japan as early as in the second round.

Malvika Bansod is the third Indian in the women’s singles draw and starts her campaign against Danish world No. 21 Line Christophersen.

Among the men, India’s Kidambi Srikanth (ranked 13th), Lakshya Sen (10th) and HS Prannoy (18th) are in the same half of the draw, and only one of them can make the semi-finals.

The focus will be on Lakshya, who won the men’s singles gold in Birmingham this week. He also got a first-round bye for the Tokyo world championships.

Srikanth and Lakshya won the silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the last edition of the world championships in Spain. World No 5 Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia and World No 2 Kento Momota of Japan will be the major threats for the Indian men.

B Sai Praneeth is also part of the touring party but has a tough first assignment against Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen, the current world No 4 in his way, an report said.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, gold medallists from Birmingham 2022, will lead the Indian charge in men’s doubles. Indian pairs Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy, Krishna Prasad Garaga/ Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala and MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila are also in the fray.

On the other hand, Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand and Ashwini Ponnappa/ N Sikki Reddy will be India’s best hopes in the women’s doubles, where Pooja Dandu/ Sanjana Santosh and Ashwini Bhat K/ Shikha Gautam will also be looking to impress.

The mixed doubles section will see two Indian pairs, Ishaan Bhatnagar/Tanisha Crasto and Venkat Gaurav Prasad/ Juhi Dewangan, in action. Overall, a total of 27 shuttlers will be part of the Indian contingent in Japan.

Indian shuttlers have ensured 12 podium finishes at the world badminton championships but Sindhu’s gold medal in women’s singles back in 2019 remains the only gold in the lot.

ALSO READ-Lanka Premier League 2022 to start on December 6

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Lanka Premier League 2022 to start on December 6

Asia Cup, set to begin on August 27, was also shifted from Sri Lanka to the UAE due to similar reasons…reports Asian Lite News

The rescheduled 2022 Lanka Premier League will be held from December 6 to 23, the organisers announced on Tuesday.

The third season of the LPL was initially slated to be held in August, but the economic crisis engulfing the island nation had forced a postponement last month.

“It’s my pleasure to announce that the LPL will be held from 6th to 23rd December,” LPL tournament organiser Samantha Dodanwela told the media. The news was also confirmed by IPG, the LPL’s official promoter, on Twitter.

According to ESPNcricinfo report, the sponsors of LPL felt that organising the tournament in August during the crisis was suboptimal, which led to the official postponement in July. Later, the Asia Cup, set to begin on August 27, was also shifted from Sri Lanka to the UAE due to similar reasons.

Meanwhile, no decision has been taken yet on a potential LPL re-draft. It is understood that the tournament organisers are deciding between two options: either holding a fresh draft, or going ahead with as many of the available players as possible with only the slots taken up by any unavailable foreign players being re-drafted.

As per Sri Lanka’s Future Tours Program, the tournament will likely be sandwiched between a home Test series against West Indies in November and an away ODI series against India in December-January.

The LPL is a five-team competition being held since 2020. Jaffna Kings, formerly the Stallions, have been champions in the two previous seasons while Galle Gladiators have been runners-up in both those editions.The other three teams are Colombo Stars, Kandy Falcons and Dambulla Giants – all three of whom have also gone through changes in ownership since the inaugural edition.

ALSO READ- Indian women’s hockey team wins bronze medal

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 Indian women’s hockey team wins bronze medal

India started the match cautiously, holding the ball in the midfield, trying to draw the New Zealand players out…reports Asian Lite News

In a perfect culmination to its more than two month journey on the road, the Indian women’s hockey on Sunday won the bronze medal in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games here on Sunday.

It was a fitting retribution for India as it defeated Zew Zealand 2-1 in the penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw in regulation time to finish third. India had lost to Australia in the semifinal in penalty shoot-out after the Hockeyroos were asked to take the first shoot-out again after Indian goalkeeper Savita had saved it.

On Sunday, there was no such drama as Sonika and Navneet converted their penalty shoot-out attempts while Savita thwarted four attempts by the New Zealand attackers, sending the team into wild celebrations.

Earlier, Salima Tete has given India the lead in the just before the half-time and they looked on their way to victory as they attacked well.

However, New Zealand scored in the last 15 seconds off a penalty stroke that was awarded to them when a Indian defender kicked the ball off a desperate last-ditch attack by New Zealand. Olivia Merry converted the stroke to push the match into a shoot-out.

Savita made three sensational saves in the shoot-out, while Sonika and Navneet Kaur struck past Kiwi goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon as India pulled off a thrilling win. With the bronze medal win, Indian women’s hockey team ended their 16-year wait for a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

India started the match cautiously, holding the ball in the midfield, trying to draw the New Zealand players out.

Navneet Kaur and Vandana Katariya got into the circle in the early minutes, but New Zealand defence cleared away the danger. Nisha made a solid save after Rose Tynan made a dangerous pass inside the circle. Salima Tete almost put her team in the lead after India forced their way into the Black Sticks: circle through the central channel, but her shot went just wide as the first quarter ended with both teams goalless and searching for perfect rhythm.

The second quarter started with India making circle penetrations from the left flank and keeping the rival defence true. Navneet Kaur created chance but New Zealand kept their composure and cleared the ball. A counter-attacking move was set up Rose Tynan as she struck a shot towards Alex Lukin in front of the goal. But the ball just went wide and the Kiwis missed the opportunity to score.

India went ahead in the 29th minute when Salima Tete broke the shackles and found the back of the nets with a reverse hit as India entered halftime with a 1-0 lead.

New Zealand, who were contend to sit back in defence and look for counter-attack, started showcasing urgency in the second half, and pressed deeper in India’s half. Sonika broke into the circle from the left flanks, and Lalremsiami managed to get a shot, but was denied by a Kiwi defender.

Neha and Navneet Kaur created a beautiful chance for India to extend their lead. But the pass to Sonika in front of the goalpost just went wide. Before the end of the third quarter, New Zealand managed to hit the ball into the nets. But India used their referral well and the goal was disallowed due to an infringement in the lead-up.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, India burst into New Zealand’s half with Sushila Chanu making threatening runs from the central channel. Kaitlin Cotter got a shot away from an acute angle, but Indian goalkeeper Savita made a good save, only to see the ball go to Olivia Shannon. Shannon’s shot, though, went above the goalpost. India created a string of Penalty Corner opportunities, but the Kiwi goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon continued to make the saves. Olivia Merry scored from a penalty stroke in the final seconds of the regulation time to push the match to a Shoot-Out.

Megan Hull scored from New Zealand’s first attempt in the shoot-out, while Sangita Kumari, who was a surprise pick, missed India’s first attempt. Savita pulled off a great save as she denied Ralph Hope to keep India in the hunt.

Sonika levelled the score line 1-1 as she struck past Grace O’Hanlon. With Savita covering the distance and denying her a claer look at the goal, Rose Tynan struck the side netting.

Navneet Kaur struck past Grace give India a 2-1 lead in the shoot-out. With Katie Doar and Olivia Shannon missing for New Zealand, India went on to the win the match to claim the bronze medal.

ALSO READ-Nitu, Asian champion Amit Panghal stormed into the finals at CWG

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Sindhu qualifies for women’s singles semi-final

The Indian ace tried to mount a comeback using her height to create angles but Goh Jin Wei unleashed a flurry of smashes to take the opening game…reports Asian Lite News

Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu reached the women’s singles semifinals at the Commonwealth Games 2022 after seeing off a tough challenge from Malaysian No 1 Goh Jin Wei in the quarter-finals, here on Saturday.

Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, beat Goh Jin Wei 19-21, 21-14, 21-18 at the National Exhibition Centre for her second win over the Malaysian at CWG 2022. She had beaten the Youth Olympic Games champion 22-20, 21-17 in India’s mixed team final earlier in the week.

Former world champion Sindhu started the match strongly but Goh Jin Wei, seeded sixth, went into the break trailing by just two points. Goh Jin Wei then used her skillful drop shots to trouble PV Sindhu and lead for the first time in the match at 16-15.

The Indian ace tried to mount a comeback using her height to create angles but Goh Jin Wei unleashed a flurry of smashes to take the opening game.

Sindhu, known for her endurance, amped up her game to tire out Goh Jin Wei with longer rallies and lead 11-8 at the second break. Goh Jin Wei, who is on a comeback trail after retiring due to health reasons last year, struggled physically and could not close the gap as the match stretched into the decider.

With tactics paying off, Sindhu continued to test Goh Jin Wei physically with an average of nine shots per rally. Despite trailing at one stage, she persisted to beat Jin Wei in one hour and 17 minutes.

This will be Sindhu’s third straight semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games. She has a bronze and a silver from the 2014 and 2018 editions, respectively. The 27-year old will now take on the fourth seed Yeo Jia Min from Singapore for a place in the final.

World championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth and India’s highest-ranked men’s badminton player Lakshya Sen will be in action later in the day in the men’s singles badminton event.

ALSO READ-Sindhu, Srikanth win singles openers at Commonwealth Games

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Nitu, Asian champion Amit Panghal stormed into the finals at CWG

Nikhat got a perfect score of 30 from each of the five judges for three rounds as she mixed aggression with good defence against her 21-year-old opponent…reports Asian Lite News

Boxer Jaismine Lamboria added a bronze medal to India’s medal tally on Saturday even as three of her teammates — reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen, Nitu and Asian champion Amit Panghal stormed into the finals in their respective categories, setting up the country for another rich haul from the rings at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Three more boxers — Rohit Tokas, Sagar and Mohd Hssamuddin are scheduled to participate in their respective semifinal bouts later on Saturday.

While all eyes were on Nikhat, Nitu and Amit, Jaismine was unlucky as she went down to England’s Gemma Paige Richardson in a closely-fought Lightweight (over 63.5-67kg) division bout on Saturday.

Nitu started the good day for India by thrashing Canada’s Priyanka Dhillon in the Minimumweight (over 45-58kg) division, forcing the referee to stop the contest as she was pummelling her clearly outclassed opponent.

Panghal was also impressive as he defeated Patrick Chinyemba of Zambia 5-0 on points in the Men’s Flyweight (over 48-51 kg) division semifinals, though his opponent led at the end of the first round. But Panghal dominated the next two rounds and won the bout on the cards of all five judges to win on points.

Nikhat continued her dream run that started with her triumph in the World Championships as she stormed into the final of the Women’s Light Flyweight (over 48-50kg) division, winning on points 5-0 against England’s Savannah Alfia Stubley.

Nikhat got a perfect score of 30 from each of the five judges for three rounds as she mixed aggression with good defence against her 21-year-old opponent.

Playing from the blue corner against England’s Gemma Paige Richardson, Jaismine, the fourth Indian to take to the rings on Saturday, went down narrowly losing 2-3 in the semifinal.

Three of the judges scored in favour of the English girl — 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27 while two judges gave it to Jaismine at 29-27, 29-27. In the close bout, the English girl did just enough to impress the judges, Jaismine did put up a good fight but in the end it did not prove enough.

Meanwhile, Nikhat Zareen was happy to have made it to her first final in the Commonwealth Games, setting herself up for her maiden gold medal. In the final she will meet Carly McNaul of Northern Island, the silver medallist from the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a European stalwart.

“It was a very good fight. She’s young and talented and I congratulate her on her bronze medal. I’m really happy to win this match for my country and I’m looking forward to the final bout against Northern Ireland (Carly McNaul) and to win the gold medal,” said Nikhat after her bout.

“Although I sparred with her in a training camp before the Games I’ve never fought her in the ring.

“I’m grateful for the people who came to support me and to hear my name being called from the audience,” said Nikhat, who was cheered into the ring by the Indian supporters. She did not disappoint them by scoring an impressive win.

ALSO READ-CWG 2022: Medal spree continues for India

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CWG 2022: Medal spree continues for India

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat won gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the women’s 53kg event and completed the hat-trick of top podium finishes, in Birmingham on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Vinesh entered Birmingham 2022 as a two-time champion and ensured her third straight CWG gold after going undefeated. She had won the 48kg gold at Glasgow 2014 and the 50kg division at Gold Coast 2018.

With only four wrestlers in the women’s 53kg division at Birmingham, the medals were decided through a single-phase Nordic Group system, in which all the wrestlers faced each other once. The group topper after the sequence of matches won the gold while the second and third placed grapplers took silver and bronze, respectively.

World championships 2021 bronze medallist Samantha Stewart, Nigeria’s Mercy Bolafunoluwa Adekuoroye and Sri Lanka’s Chamodya Keshani Maduravalage Don were the other wrestlers competing in the division.

Mercy is the younger sister of three-time Commonwealth Games champion Odunayo Adekuoroye, who beat Vinesh’s compatriot Anshu Malik on Friday to pocket the women’s 57kg gold.

In her first bout against Samantha Stewart, Vinesh caught the Canadian in a headlock and converted it to a pin to win the match by fall. The bout lasted around 30 seconds. The second bout against Adekuoroye saw the Indian on the mat for the full six minutes to eke out a 6-0 win. The victory meant the Indian grappler already had one hand on the gold medal.

In what was a matter of formality, Vinesh completed the clean sweep, beating Chamodya Keshani Maduravalage Don by fall to end the tournament with a flawless record.

The medal comes as a huge booster for the Indian wrestler, who had a disappointing outing at the Tokyo Olympics and crashed out in the quarter-finals. She has been struggling with form and fitness since then.

Samantha Stewart bagged the bronze medal after beating Mercy in the final second of their bout, which decided the silver medal.

Dahiya wins gold

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged a gold medal by thrashing his Nigerian opponent Welson Ebikewenimo 10-0 on points in the Men’s Freestyle 57 kg final at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Victoria Park, Coventry on Saturday.

Dahiya, a three-time Asian champion and a bronze medallist in World Championship, started cautiously as he tested his opponent’s strength, Both the players failed to score any points in the first minute and the Nigerian went on the attack, trying to catch Dahiya by his leg. However the Indian boxer easily thwarted his effort.

The Nigerian made another attack but was thwarted again. At this juncture, Dahiya was warned by the referee for being too passive and defensive and that seems to have triggered some wire in the 24-year-old India’s mind, Dahiya launched a series of superb attacks and earned eight points in a row. He got the Nigerian in a leg-attack twice and then forced a takedown again.

The Indian wrapped up the bout with another takedown that earned him two more points. Dahiya went on to win the bout 10-0 and claimed his maiden gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.

The 24-year-old wrestler from the village Nahri in Sonipat district, Haryana, will now be preparing for the upcoming world championships next month and will be hoping to add to the bronze he won in Nur Sultan in 2019.

ALSO READ: Sindhu, Srikanth win singles openers at Commonwealth Games

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Women’s team extends unbeaten run at Chess Olympiad

Vaishali played splendidly in a drawn position, pressurising her opponent with precise positive play and finally scoring a delightful victory…reports Asian Lite News

Indian women’s A team notched up their seventh successive victory against sixth seed Azerbaijan with a 2.5-1.5 score to maintain their sole lead in the women’s section with 14 points at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Friday.

India A, though, suffered a few hiccups after Humpy ended on the losing side in the first game. However, Tania Sachdev and R Vaishali once again rose to the occasion magnificently by scoring hard fought victories while Harika Dronavalli also battled hard to split the point.

Vaishali played splendidly in a drawn position, pressurising her opponent with precise positive play and finally scoring a delightful victory.

Vaishali later commented, “Till the 40th turn, my game was dead equal and I considered settling for a draw. After Humpy’s loss, I had to keep pressing and interestingly, this was one position which we had worked in the camp with Boris Gelfand and I followed his suggestions to the ‘T’.”

A hall mark of the women’s A team has been the ability of every player to score a win when the team needed it most.

“The way Harika, Vaishali and Tania continued in this pressure situation is very heartening. The players understand the situation perfectly and deliver,” India A captain Abhijit Kunte said.

Meanwhile in the open section, India A hit the accelerator when it mattered, defeating fellow countrymen in India C with a 3-1 score.

Arjun Erigaisi defeated Abhijit Gupta and S L Narayanan outplayed Abhimany Puranik even while Pnetala Harikrishna was held to a draw by Surya Shekhar Ganguly and SP Sethuraman forced Vidit to split the point.

India B, after a loss to Armenia in the 6th round, bounced back with a 3.5-0.5 score against Cuba with D Gukesh leading from the front once again to notch his seventh successive victory in the tournament.

Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa too made merry with two fine victories while Adhiban B was held to a draw.

In another setback for the star-studded USA Team, Armenia held them to a 2-2 draw and continued their sole vigil at the top of the points tally with 13 points. India A and India B, USA , Uzbekistan are trailing behind with 12 points each.

India B in the women section lost to Greece 1.5-2.5.

Divya Deshmukh scored the lone victory for India while Vantika Agrawal and Soumya Swaminathan lost their encounters and Mary Ann Gomes had to stay content with a draw.

India Women C team defeated Switzerland 3-1.

ALSO READ-Dipika Pallikal shines on mixed day for India in squash

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Dipika Pallikal shines on mixed day for India in squash

Dipika, who is married to India’s international cricketer Dinesh Karthik, talked about her return to squash after becoming a mother and said it was always her intention to start playing…reports Asian Lite News

India had a mixed day in the 2022 Commonwealth Games squash competitions here on Thursday with Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Saurav Ghosal winning their match while Joshna Chinappa and Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu getting knocked out in the Round of 16 matches at the Birmingham University Hockey and Squash Centre here.

There was success for India in the women’s doubles as Sunayna Kuruvilla and Anahat Singh won their match while the men’s doubles pair of Senthilkumar Velavan and Abhay Singh also advanced to the next stage.

All eyes at the squash court were on the seasoned mixed doubles combine of Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal after the latter bagged his first singles medal in the Commonwealth Games — a bronze. Dipika is playing her first Commonwealth Games less than a year after giving birth to twin boys. The pair had won the mixed doubles title in the World Doubles in Glasgow where Dipika partnered Joshna Chinappa to the women’s doubles title in April this year.

On Thursday, Dipika and Saurav got the better of Emily Whitlock and Peter Creed of Wales, winning 2-0 (11-8, 11-4) in the rather one-sided encounter.

However, a big setback was the defeat suffered by compatriots Joshna Chinappa and Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu to Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley of Australia. Joshna and Harinder lost 2-0 (8-11, 8-11) in the Round of 16 match.

In women’s doubles pre-quarterfinals, Sunayna and Anahat got the better of Yeheni Kuruppu and Chanithma Sinaly of Sri Lanka. They won in straight games 11-9, 11-4 to advance to the quarterfinals.

It was quite easy for the men’s doubles pair of Senthilkumar Velavan and Abhay Singh to defeat Luca Reich and Joe Chapman of the British Virgin Islands, winning 11-3, 11-1 in double quick time. However, the focus was on the pair of Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal and they did not disappoint the crowd as they emerged as winners.

Dipika said they made a tentative start but got their rhythm in time to win.

“The first few points were a bit edgy. It’s my first time on a glass court for four years so I was worried about my length and rhythm, but we made it through. The knockout format of this competition doesn’t give you any chance of a breather. Every point is important,” said Dipika after their match.

Dipika, who is married to India’s international cricketer Dinesh Karthik, talked about her return to squash after becoming a mother and said it was always her intention to start playing.

“When I took a break the plan was always to come back. I was 27 at the time so I knew I had enough years left in me. Me and my husband made the decision to start a family and that’s what we did.

“The plan was always to come back for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, but unfortunately the Asian Games were postponed,” said Dipika.

Dipika found success soon after her return as she won the mixed doubles title at the World Doubles along with Saurav and the women’s doubles with Joshna Chinappa.

“I still don’t know how I did it. I had the right people around me, I was very focused and I’m a goal-driven person. I wanted to come back to the squash court after a four-year break, get fit enough for the Commonwealth Games and get selected for the team.

“Most importantly, I want to be able to match the calibre of Saurav and Joshana – her women’s doubles partner] and help them in their quest to win a medal,” she said.

Dipika and Joshna had won the women’s doubles title eight years ago at Glasgow in 2014 and silver medal in Gold Coast in 2018. She and Saurav had won the silver in mixed doubles title in Gold Coast.

So, with so much success, there will be questions about the possibility of a return to the PSA Tour soon but Dipika said she will have to discuss the matter with her husband Dinesh Karthik before taking that decision.

“Returning to the Tour is something that I have to sit and think about. I have to think about my body and having time with the boys. It’s definitely on the radar and I really want to do it. I think I have a few years left in me, but it’s a decision I will only take after the Commonwealth Games.

“With Dinesh being back in the [T20 international] team it leaves a lot more responsibility on my shoulders. I’m not thinking about it, I will make that decision in a week or so.

“For now, it’s just a great honour to be back,” said the 30-year-old.

Whatever the decision she takes, at the moment Dipika is focused on playing in the Commonwealth Games and hoping to convert her twin silvers from Gold Coast to twin gold medals.

ALSO READ-India’s Vikas Thakur wins silver in men’s 96kg weightlifting