Tandon scales pain barrier to lift Challenger 5 title

He had to withdraw midway through his last tournament two weeks ago because of a twisted ankle, and has yet to fully recover.

Yet, India's Ramit Tandon still found enough in his tank to win the Professional Squash Association men's Challenger 5 event at the Singapore Squash Open yesterday at the Kallang Squash Centre.

The world No. 88, seeded sixth for this tournament, beat Chinese Taipei's James Huang 3-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-3) to claim the title.

"I am happy that I was able to finish the game and play through the tournament," said Tandon.

"Coming into this (event), my plan was to complete the tournament and not walk out injured.

"I am happy I achieved that and a win is just the bonus at this point."

The 25-year-old trailed Malaysia's Sanjay Singh 1-2 in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Circuit No. 4 tournament, a Challenger 15 event, when he got injured.

He recovered in time for the Singapore Open, where he beat Singapore's Benedict Chan in the first round, and edged out Malaysian fourth seed Elvinn Keo 3-2 (7-11, 8-11, 11-2, 12-10, 12-10) in the quarter-finals.

Tandon said: "I wasn't moving as freely as I normally do throughout the event; I did feel some aches and pains.

" I really struggled in the quarter-finals, but I got better as the tournament went on."

Tandon then beat top seed Henry Leung of Hong Kong 3-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-5) in the last four on Saturday to reach the final.

The losing finalist Huang, 32, said: "Before the final, I knew that he was a smooth player with good skills and I needed a good strategy against him.

"My strategy worked a bit today, but physically I was a bit slow, and I couldn't maintain my shots in the second game when I worked him a little."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2017, with the headline 'Tandon scales pain barrier to lift Challenger 5 title'. Print Edition | Subscribe