The Philippine men’s and women’s national teams fought hard but could not pull off the upsets against higher-seeded opponents on the first day of the 2021 Asian Squash Team Championships, Tuesday at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The men’s squad is seeded at No. 8 overall and in fourth seeds in their pool, Pool A. On the other hand, the women’s is ranked in No. 7 overall — fourth seeds in the four-team Pool B.
Philippines no. 1 Robert Garcia and the men’s team stood their ground against top-seed India, but ultimately absorbed an 0-3 sweep, to go down with a win-loss record of 0-2.
Garcia, the former world No. 216, outsmarted current world no. 15 Saurav Ghosal in some rallies to make it close in the first two games of the match. The Indian top player though had some great shots of his own eventually take the win for his side, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4, and the 2-0 lead for the tie.
Earlier in the tie, Velavan Senthilkumar put the South Asians in the lead with a win over Reymark Bergonia, 11-5, 11-7, 11-2. Mahesh Mangaonkar then completed the sweep with a dominant win past David Pelino with an 11-1, 11-6, 11-6.
The Filipinos suffered a similar sweep against India’s neighbors Pakistan earlier in the morning.
Amaad Fareed took down Bergonia, 11-8, 11-5, 11-2, before Garcia faltered against Tayyab Aslam, 11-13, 7-11, 7-11. Nasir Iqbal then prevented an upset of Pelino to take the 3-0 rout, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1.
For the women’s side, the Philippines also got swept by third-seed India in their lone tie for the day.
Jemyca Aribado came close to getting a game for the Filipinos, but Joshna Chinappa took two straight points to snag the opening game at 13-11. The former world number 10 Indian then took the next two games for the win, 11-8, 11-4.
Urwashi Joshi took India for the lead with a rout of Lizette Reyes, 11-2, 11-3, 11-2. Sunyana Kuruvilla rounded up the sweep over Yvonne Alyssa Dalida, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2.
Both squads will attempt for wins as their campaign continues on Wednesday.
The men’s side will take on Indonesia at 10 a.m., before facing Japan later at 4:30 p.m. On the other hand, the women’s team will battle Iran also at 10 a.m.