In a battle of veterans competing in possibly their last Commonwealth Games singles match, India’s Saurav Ghosal defeated England’s James Willstrop to win a historic bronze.
This was India’s first medal in a CWG squash singles competition; each of India’s three medals at the Games have come from doubles events.
Ghosal, who lost to Paul Coll in the semi-finals yesterday, looked determined to get a medal right from the start. He started with an attacking mindset in the first set and quickly got a 4-2 lead. He went on to win 11-6.
In the second set 38-year old Willstrop, the defending champion, was completely outpaced by the three years younger Ghosal. Ghosal raced to a 5-0 lead and quickly went on to win 11-1. The rallies in the third set followed a similar story with Ghosal having an answer in for every question posed by the Englishman. Ghosal easily won the final set 11-4 and erupted into an emotional celebration with his team-mates and family members in the crowd.
Ghosal had a 1-8 H2H record against Willstrop but made it count in one of the most high-profile matches of his career.
The camaraderie between Willstrop and Ghosal was evident by the way the former congratulated the Indian on his win; Willstrop’s late father Malcolm used to be Ghosal’s coach.
Ghosal will next be in action in the Mixed Doubles competition at Birmingham. Ghosal will be partnering Dipika Pallikal. Ghosal and Pallikal had won the silver at the 2018 CWGs and will be looking to improve the colour of their medal.
Paul Coll wins Men’s Singles title
New Zealand’s Paul Coll lived up to his billing as the gold medal favourite in Men’s Singles but not before being pushed to the limit by Welshman Joel Makin.
The gold medal match lasted over two hours. Makin won the first set 11-3 with surprising ease. Coll came back to win a second set 11-9 but Makin fought back to win the third 11-8.
Reigning British Open champion Coll then showed why he is regarded as one of the game’s elite players by taking the final two sets 11-8 and 11-7 and winning his first CWG gold. Current World No.2 Coll had to settle for silver at Gold Coast 2018 after losing in the finals to Willstrop.
This was also the first ever CWG Men’s Singles gold for New Zealand.
Coll is also a gold contender in Mixed Doubles where he will be partnering Joelle King.
Georgina Kennedy wins gold in Women’s Singles
Canadian Hollie Naughton’s impressive run in the Women’s Singles competition was brought to an end by England’s Georgina Kennedy. World No. 20 Naughton had beaten higher ranked players Joshna Chinappa and Joelle King to get to the finals.
Third seed Kennedy, ranked World No.8, was tested by Naughton early in the first set but went on to win 11-7. Kennedy won the second 11-5. The third set was a thrilling contest where Naughton gave up a 10-4 advantage to trail 11-12 before finally winning 14-12.
However Kennedy came back strongly in the fourth set and easily won 11-5 to get England’s first ever CWG Women’s Singles gold.
Sarah Jane Perry ensured another podium place for the host nation by beating defending champion Joelle King in a dramatic bronze medal match. Perry came back from two sets down to win 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 14-12.
Sunayna Kuruvilla wins Women’s Singles Plate final
India’s Sunayna Kuruvilla may have gone out of medal contention early in the WS competition but she still has some consolation in form of the Plate title.
Sunayna beat Guyana’s Mary Fung-A-Fat 11-7 13-11 11-2 in the Plate final.
Sunayna will be partnering 14-year old squash sensation Anahat Singh in the Women’s Doubles competition.