The much-awaited clash between the two Chennai girls, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal is likely to happen in the title round of the 73rd senior National squash championship at the Otters Club.
Joshna, two months away from turning 30, became the second Indian woman to break into the top 10 in the world rankings announced a few days ago.
She has won the senior National title 12 times four short of Bhuvneshwari ‘Candy’ Kumari’s 16 and she has been given the top billing for the senior Nationals that start with the qualifying rounds on Tuesday.
Dipika is 24, has won the senior national title once and has entered the nationals after five years. She held a world no. 10th ranking four years ago, but she is currently ranked no. 19.
In a draw of 64, no other woman player is expected to advance as far as the finals and upset the apple cart of the two champion players in Joshna and Dipika and the fact that they have not met each other in India as often as they have overseas, makes the prospective skirmish interesting.
Two years ago Dipika won a five-game humdinger against Joshna in the quarterfinals of the Incheon Asian Games.
Joshana enjoys a 9-3 win record against her famous rival of recent times. “I have enjoyed playing the nationals since I was 12 and it is one domestic tournament I look forward to in the year.
It is something I have to be a part of every year. I had a lot of competition while playing the senior Nationals early on in my career as a junior, and winning it then was hard. Now, it will be even harder playing against Dipika,’’ said Joshana in a release.