Vikram shocks second seed Harinderpal to storm into men's final

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Mumbai, Jun 14 (UNI) India's top junior Vikram Malhotra shocked second seed Harinderpal Singh Sandhu to power into the men's final in the Otters Open Squash Tournament, at the Otters Club, here today.

A determined under-19 top seed Malhotra, rallied brilliantly from a 0-2 deficit to fashion his biggest career win with a 5-9, 8-10, 9-5, 9-2, 9-3 verdict over a formidable opponent, who is billed as the fastest developing player in the country, under the Squash Rackets Federation of India's training programme.

Giant-killer Malhotra, who earlier upset third seed and former national champion Manish Chotrani, ignored the early blemishes, including dropping the second game over extra points, and changed the pace in the last three games to surprise the young sardar.

Harinderpal was set to live up to his billing and book his place in the final after taking a comfortable lead. But Malhotra upset his rhythm and snatched the next three games without much ado in an absorbing contest that lasted an hour and 20 minutes, to make a surprise entry into the championship round.

Malhotra will take on top seed Ritwik Bhattacharya in the final.

Fresh from his triumph at the Indonesia Open last week, India number 2 Bhattacharya, swept past Parth Sharma of Rajasthan 9-0, 9-2, 9-3 in the second semi-final.

Defending champion Mandy Kennedy of England and second seed Deepali Anvekar-Parikh lived up to their reputations to set up the women's championship round clash.

Former England international and women's number 1 Mandy Kennedy, in line for her third Otters title in a row, overcame a late challenge to beat a gallant number 4 seed Saumya Karki 9-6, 9-1, 5-9, 8-10, 9-2 in the semi-finals, while Anvekar-Parikh rallied from the loss of the opening game to overcome third seed Sachika Balwani 5-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-7.

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