Manchester: Saurav Ghosal outsmarted higher-ranked Alister Walker to enter the pre-quarter-finals of the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship here. A win in the next round will make him the first Indian to reach the quarters of the prestigious men's competition.
World No.17 Ghosal, who made history last year by becoming the first Indian ever to make the last 16 of worlds, beat Walker 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 in 55 minutes Tuesday. It was the first time in six years the player from Botswana failed to make the pre-quarters.
"It was a good win. I controlled the match pretty well. My straight play was decent too. I was controlling the pace and trying to make him play in my strength, and was trying to take the ball to the back to go pass him and take the volley away from him," Ghosal told IANS.
The Kolkata based player experienced nervous moments in the fourth game after losing the third.
"In the fourth, he had the confidence from winning the third. But I got it back and went 7-2 up - but it was a hard battle to try and close it off," said Ghosal after his first win against Walker.
He has a great chance of making the quarters Thursday. His expected opponent, Peter Barker of England, got injured in his match against unseeded Henrik Mustonen when leading 11-4, 11-2, 6-11.
When asked if he felt he could push through and make the last eight for the first time, Ghosal responded: "If I was able to do so, yes, it would be huge for India. Dipika (Pallikal) was the first ever to reach the quarters, but never has a male player reached that stage."
"And in my view, I'm not only doing it for me, but it's also for India - for all those players that are coming after me."
Ghosal said: "If my results can help and popularise the sport, then the impetus will carry on, and maybe one day, we'll have 15 Indian players in the main draw of the World Champs."