Incheon:It was a case of so near yet so far for Saurav Ghosal as the top seed had to be content with silver medal in squash – India’s maiden in the discipline – at the Asian Games here Tuesday.
He was shocked by world No.16 Abdullah Al Muzayen of Kuwait in the final of the men’s singles event at the Yeorumul Squash Courts here.
Coming into the tie, the 28-year-old was the odds-on favourite to win the first gold for India in the racquet sport at the Asiad and that belief was only strengthened after he won the first two games.
But in one of the biggest shocks of the Incheon Games, Ghosal, ranked No.16 in the world, lost the next three games to hand the Kuwaiti a 10-12, 2-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9 win in an hour and 15 minutes.
Ghosal had done the hard bit of beating the two-time former Games champion and top-10 player Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia in straight sets to move into the final.
The Kuwaiti player was hardly given a chance against the marauding Indian. Ghosal duly obliged by taking the first game 12-10 in 21 minutes – the longest game of the match.
In the second game, Ghosal blitzed his opponent 11-2 in just six minutes and it seemed the Indian would canter to the gold medal.
But the second game thrashing seemed to awaken Al Muzayen from his slumber and the Kuwaiti hit back by edging Ghosal 14-12.
It still looked as if it was only a matter of time before the Indian would dispose off his opponent but the lower-ranked Kuwaiti only got stronger to tie the match 2-2 by winning the fourth game 11-8 in 12 minutes.
In the decider, Ghosal led 6-4 but Al Muzayen again refused to give up and came back brilliantly to take a 10-7 lead and finally wrapped the match 11-9 to take gold.