Hong Kong China proved too good for India in the Asian Games squash arena on Saturday, claiming the women’s team gold with a 2-0 win in the final.
Tze Lok Ho outwitted Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 11-3 in the first singles and Annie Au Wing blasted past Joshna Chinappa 11-3, 11-9, 11-5 in the second as Hong Kong China enjoyed a comprehensive victory.
India, silver medallists in 2014, thus retained that medal to sign off with a tally of one silver and four bronze medals. At Incheon, India had won one gold, two silver and one bronze.
It was 2-1 when the two teams met in the league phase with Sunayna claiming the lone win, with a gritty show against Ho. But the Hong Kong lady seemed in no mood to concede an inch on this day. The Indian youngster attempted to stay on and fight but Ho repeatedly caught her off-guard with her drops and there was also frustration in store for Sunayna with several calls going against her.
With India down 0-1, it was up to Joshna to bring them back into the game. But Annie was at a different level, powering away to an opening game win against an off-colour Joshna.
The India number one raised her play in the second game, fighting really hard and giving it her all. But at crucial points, Annie was always a step ahead. She maintained the advantage in the third game too, snuffing out India’s hopes with a thoroughly professional display.
Joshna admitted Annie was too good on the day. “Annie was very strong. I felt I played well in patches. I wasn't as consistent as I could have been. Annie put me under pressure from the beginning to the end. I think she was clinical today. She hardly made any errors and I made some which gave her a much bigger lead than she should have had,” said Joshna, who felt a turnaround could have happened in the second game.
“I think the second game was where I had my chances but all credit to her. I didn't have much of an answer to a lot of her shots,” she said, and hoped she would be able to play on for a few more years.
“I am 31 but I feel I can still continue for a few more years. I do want to play in the next Commonwealth and Asian Games. Hopefully, I can do it.”