KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 15 Joshna Chinappa could not contain her excitement after defending the Asian Individual Championship crown.
The player from India, who won it two years back, defeated world No. 10 Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 in the finals at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil here Sunday (May 5).
Previously, Malaysian squash queen Nicol David dominated the biennial continental event when she won it eight consecutive times from 1998-2011.
“Ohh wow...I mean Nicol’s shoes is such a big one to fill and if in a very small way I’ve done one-tenth of what she has done, I’m very thrilled and I’m very happy with the win,” said Joshna, 35.
For Joshna, she finally got one back against Annie, having lost to the player from Hong Kong the last three times they met.
“I lost to her in straight sets the last three times so I knew it was going to be hard but this time, I came really prepared and I think physically, I was better than her. She was struggling a bit on the big points and I took advantage of that.”
It was a double for India as world No. 10 Saurav Ghosal also clinched the men’s title in an 11-9, 11-2, 11-8 win over world No. 23 Leo Au of Hong Kong.
Saurav also created history when he became the first Indian to win the title.
“I think in the first and third (matches), he played really well and it was some of the best intensity I’ve seen from him, but I stuck to the plan I wanted to do for the most part,” said Saurav.
“But to beat someone like him and playing the way he has been playing is a good result for me.
“Winning it for the first time for me is pleasing, and to win it for India for the first time, is very pleasing but to win it with Joshna is just unbelievable.
“Its brilliant for Indian squash that it has happened and hopefully, it leads to more (wins) in the future,” he added.
The 32-year-old lost in the final in front of his home crowd in the same event two years ago in Chennai, India.
“It happened two years back against Max Lee (of Hong Kong) who is a top player but I wasn’t thinking of redemption.
"I just went in thinking of the present and that I have come a long way to play at a top 10 level and I’d like to say this week, I deserved to win,” he said.
Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Leo Au (Hkg) 11-9, 11-2, 11-8.
Joshna Chinappa (Ind) bt Annie Au (Hkg) 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6.