Dipika Pallikal Karthik ousted the sixth seed Olivia Blatchford of USA in straight games 13-11, 11-6, 11-9 to storm into the semi-final of the Oracle Netsuite San Francisco Open, a major PSA world tour event here on Wednesday. In the next round, Pallikal will face former World Champion Nicol David.
The Egyptian coach of Indian squash, Achraf El Karugui who was monitoring the match said that Dipika's show was all of grit and class. She was down 6-10 in the first game but clawed back not only to restore parity but win the extra points to grab the game. The next two games went close but the Indian was always in the lead right through. Only once had she lost to this American in their four earlier meetings.
Earlier in yesterday, Pallikal made a winning start in the San Francisco Open squash tournament, a major PSA world tour event where she upset fourth-seeded Emily Whitlock 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 to advance to the last eight.
Played across various clubs in the city, the unseeded Dipika was the lone player in the women's section to induce an upset by beating a player who is ranked 13 in the world, eight rungs above the Indian. The Indian ace won 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8. The victory was in keeping with Dipika's record of not having lost any time to Emily. The two had met three times earlier, the last being in January this year.
Dipika now braces up to meet a tough opponent in second seed Nicol David, a former world champion and a legend in the sport, next in the last four on Friday (Saturday in India).