India's Saurav Ghosal and Ramit Tandon came up with a wonderful show to win the battle of the Asians against Hong Kong and enter the quarterfinals of the WSF Men's World Teams Squash Championship in Mulhouse, France.
Ghosal started as a strong favourite against World No.34 Max Lee and duly delivered the goods, putting India 1-0 ahead with a comfortable 3-1 win in just over an hour.
In the next game, Tandon showed his composure to ride out of the storm and win the crucial tie against Yip Tsz Fung 3-0 in 38 minutes.
In just under 100 minutes, India had booked a berth in the quarterfinals with still a match to go. However, in the dead rubber, Harinder Pal Sandhu lost to Leo Au 1-2.
Eighth seed India will play against favourites Egypt in the quarters. A win could take India closer to their bid of becoming the first nation since 1987 to win the title three times in a row.
In the match against Lee, Ghosal started strongly and his usual busy game reaped good rewards as he won the first game.
Quarterfinalist at Asian Championship in Pakistan and the Hong Kong International in May, Lee came back strongly, matching Ghosal stroke for stroke and dominating the front court. He opened a 7-2 lead in the second game.
Ghosal paid the price of being too aggressive and Lee took full advantage to open up the front of the court.
The Indian, however, was quick to realise his mistake and he made amends. Ghosal held himself back a little allowing a bit more time to stretch his opponent.
Ghosal won seven points on a trot, including cashing in on three unforced errors from Lee, to take a 9-7 lead and eventually close out the game 11/8.
The third game was an equally interesting tussle with little to choose between the two. At one stage the scores were tied at 7-7. Ghosal inexplicably froze, making uncharacteristic errors and missing a boast to hand the game to his opponent.
But the lapse proved momentary and Ghosal regrouped quickly to get back into his rhythm and controlled the pace in the fourth game to win 11-6.