Top seed Saurav Ghosal of India was in his elements as he knocked out fifth seed Karim Al Fathi 3-0 to enter the semi finals of the USD 35,000 Vedanta Indian Squash Open here today. Ghosal, the world no. 14 who has won the national title on 12 occasions, surged to 11-8 11-6 11-7 victory in just 37 minutes against the world no. 39 Fathi at the NSCI courts. But two other Indians, 49th ranked Harinder Pal Sandhu and wild card Mahesh Mangaonkar, who is ranked 69th in the world, made their exits. Sandhu went down to third-seeded Scot Greg Lobban, the world no. 33, 1-3 after raising hope by winning the opening game. Sandhu lost 11-9 5-11 9-11 7-11. Later, Mangaonkar, who upset sixth seeded Frenchman Lucas Serme in the first round yesterday, was beaten 11-9 5-11 11-9 11-9 by second seeded Nicolas Mueller, the world no. 24, of Switzerland. In the opening game Ghosal was down 4-6 and then 6-7 against Fathi before he struck a purple patch. He got to game ball at 10-8 with a backhand winner and another backhand winner gave him the first game. In the second game, the Indian champion took a commanding 7-2 lead before the Egyptian fought back but the leeway was too big to bridge. In the third game too Ghosal quickly got into his groove and led 8-3 and then held a match-ball at 10-6.
The Egyptian saved one point but then lost the last point via a 'stroke'. "Last year I lost to Fathi and I knew it was going to be a hard match and I had to be very precise on what I wanted to do. I think the first game was quite even, but I think I did well towards the end of the game to win that. Then on I got relaxed a little bit more and used my skill both to the back and to the front to open up the court to be better. Overall I did what I wanted to do," said the 31-year-old Indian ace after entering the semis. Results: (Quarter finals): 1-Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt 5-Karim Al Fathi (Egy) 3-0; 3-Greg Lobban (Sco) bt Harinder Pal Sandhu (ind) 9-11 11-5 11-9 11-7; 2-Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 11-9 5-11 11-9 11-9; 4- Omar 7-Chris Simpson (Eng) bt Abdel Meguid (Egy) 17-15, 11-8, 12-10.