Monday, December 4, 2023

Vikram Malhotra and Mahesh Mangaonkar in all-Indian final

Mahesh Mangaonkar watches Richie Fallows in action

Mahesh takes out top seed Richie Fallows
By DAVID IRESON – Squash Mad Correspondent in Aberdeen


The final of the TRAC North of Scotland Open Championships here at Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club will be an all-Indian clash between Vikram Malhotra and Mahesh Mangaonkar. It is the eighth all-Indian final in PSA history but the first outside of India.

They powered through in two high-quality semi-finals. Mangaonkar took out England’s top seed Richie Fallows and Malhotra overpowered world junior champion Eain Yow Ng from Malaysia.

Top seeds have a habit of being toppled on ASRC’s show court and Semi-final day was no exception. Fallows was unable to keep his composure at key moments, and struggled to avoid clipping the top of the tin. His high error count coupled with some excellent retrieval from Mangaonkar saw him take the first match of the day three games to one.

The second match of the day saw the young Malaysian Eain Yow Ng, who had a marathon match with Scot Douglas Kempsell last night take on the talented Indian Vikram Malhotra who plays at a frantic pace!

Malhotra tried to use his pacey game to quickly tire Yow. Despite a spirited comeback which saw the Malaysian take the third game, Malhotra ran away with the fourth game; Eain Yow having no answers to the Indian’s fast style of play.

Both players seem to be very excited to be part of the first all-Indian Men’s PSA final not on home soil – kindly confirmed by Howard Harding from – which they see as a very positive sign for Indian squash.

[7] Eain Yow Ng (Mal) v [2] Vikram Malhotra (Ind)
Eain Yow looks a bit lost in the first game. The tempo that Malhotra is playing at is just too much for the young Malaysia to deal with, barely getting in front of the Indian. A couple of nicks and flicks from Malhotra and its all over in less than 10 minutes. First game to Malhotra 11-4.

Even when Malhotra is driving the ball he’s hitting nicks! Several cross court lengths just roll.

Yow starts to slow the pace of the game down to cope with the frantic pace being imposed by the Indian. Second game to Malhotra 11-7.

In the third game the young Malaysian came out with a do or die attitude, going for a series of drop winners from the back of the court – all coming off and taking a 6-2 lead. But anytime the ball came loose Malhotra pounced. Some ridiculous retrieval from the Malyasian, landing the balls so tight, Malhotra can’t scrape it off the wall. Game to Yow 11-6.

In the fourth, Malhotra is ferocious, totally dominating the court to lead 9-0. Yow grabs a couple of points but is powerless to stop his opponent from winning 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-2 in just under an hour.

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[1] Richie Fallows (Eng) v [3] Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind)
After a cagey start, littered with mistakes, Fallows hits some outright drive winners to take an early lead. Mangaonkar then takes the ball in short to win four points in a row to edge ahead. Fallows hits three drop shot winners to earn three game balls.

Mangaonkar saves then all, hurling about the court to stay in the rallies – pace has gone up now! Two more drop winners from Fallows and he takes the game 12-10.

Fallows’ short game deserts him in the second game, and Mangaonkar goes 9-5 ahead. Fallows claws his way back into it, but a stray drop into the tins hands Mangaonkar the game 11-8.

The third game is tighter, with fewer errors, but Mangaonkar seems to be trying to drag the referees into the game, but the referees are having none of it. “No further discussion” seems to be the phrase of the moment.

Fallows starting to dominate most of the rallies but at game ball up he has a nasty fall on to his wrist and needs to take a three-minute injury time out. Comes back on, and makes three errors to give the game to Mangaonkar 13-11.

The fourth game was a patchy game, there were several stoppages for court cleaning (big shout out to court cleaner supreme Arthur Jacobsen aka “ASBO”), but despite Fallows controlling a lot of the play, the Englishman just couldn’t keep his final ball out of the tin. Mangaonkar is just more consistent, and closes out the game 11-3.

Play starts at 1pm today where we have the final of the Tony Squash Graded Event, the final of the PSA Women’s Closed Satellite (1.30pm) and then lastly the final of the main PSA Event at 3pm at Aberdeen Squash and Racketball Club. Spectators are welcome, and viewing is free!

PSA M10 TRAC Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open 2017, Aberdeen Squash & Racketball Club, Aberdeen, Scotland.

[3] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v [2] Vikram Malhotra (IND)

[3] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt [1] Richie Fallows (ENG) 10-12, 11-8, 13-11, 11-3 (70m)
[2] Vikram Malhotra (IND) bt [7] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-2 (58m) 

Pictures by ASRC 


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