Mumbai : Former national champion Harinder Pal Sandhu sprang a surprise in the inaugural USD 35,000 Vedanta Indian Squash Open here on Thursday by ousting seeded English rival Nathan Lake of England 3-1.
Sandhu, ranked 49th in the world currently, out-stroked his 53rd ranked opponent 11-7, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 in 51 minutes and will meet third seeded Scot Greb Lobban, the world number 33, tomorrow for a place in the semis.
“It was indeed a tough match. Nathan was hitting good lengths from all over the court. I ensured not to give him anything loose in the front and centre as he was hitting the loose balls very well,” Sandhu, who has recently recovered from an injury, said.
Earlier, top seed and India number 1 Saurav Ghosal got off to a splendid start with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Egyptian qualifier Karim El Hammamy at the NSCI courts.
The 31-year-old national champion, currently the world no. 14, had things his own way barring the occasional hiccup and carved out an impressive 11-3 1-4 11-6 victory over his Egyptian rival, who is ranked 69th in the world, in 44 minutes to move into the second round of the PSA event.
“Karim gave a tough fight with some great volleys from the beginning. I ensured I keep it tight from the start of the game. Each game is a learning (experience) and I am sure I will get better with each one,” said the 12-time national winner after his facile victory.
Hammamy had made the 16-man main draw after vanquishing Chi Him Wong of Hong Kong 3-1 in a 62-minute final qualifying round clash.
Results (Round 1):  Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [Q] Karim El Hammamy 3-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-6);  Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0 (11-5, 13-11, 11-9); Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND) bt  Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-1 (11-7, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8);  Greg Lobban (SCO) bt [Q] Addeen Idrakie (MAS) 3-0 (13-11, 11-6, 11-9).