Squash: Dipika Pallikal beats former World No.1 to win Macau Open

Macau, Oct 20 (IANS) India's top squash player Dipika Pallikal upstaged former World No.1 Rachael Grinham of Australia to win the Macau Open Sunday, the seventh Women's Squash Association (WSA) title of her career.

It was a commendable performance from the 22-year-old, who reached the final defeating Rachael's younger sister Natalie, a former World No.2 currently ranked eighth in the WSA rankings.

There was not much to choose between the two finalists. Dipika played better in the crucial stages of the 42-minute contest, capping off a memorable week with a 12-10, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9 victory.

"It seems all the summer training is paying off now. I trained really hard on and off the court. Beating Natalie in the semifinals gave me a lot of confidence. She is the most experienced player on the circuit," World No.17 Dipika told IANS.

Dipika, the first Indian to break into the top-10, had beaten another higher-ranked player, Kasey Brown of Australia, in a New York tournament earlier in the month.

"It is time I beat the top-10 players regularly. One of the reasons I have started beating them is Ken Way," she said of the sports psychologist, who has also worked with Dipika's coach and five-time World Open winner Sarah Fitz-Gerald.

"Ken has helped me a lot. Earlier it was frustrating to come close to beating the higher-ranked players. With his help, and Sarah of course, I am playing the mental side of the game better," said Dipika.

She now heads to Shanghai for the China Open next week.

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