New Delhi: Dipika Pallikal rounded off a very successful year with another victory, her third WISPA (women's professional squash tour) crown in 2011. The India No. 1 overcame a tough challenge from local favourite Joey Chan to win the Crocodile Challenge Cup in Hong Kong, after a grueling five-game affair on Sunday.

Dipika, ranked No 17 in the world, is set to climb a few more rungs with this win, which is the fifth in her professional career.

The 20-year-old has had a golden year, having won two crowns in the US in September and October before rounding off the season with the triumph in Hong Kong. Dipika had also become the first Indian to reach the quarterfinals of the World Open last month, her exploits pushing her closer to the top-10 of women's squash, which is her target for next year.

As of now, Dipika is happy she could end the year on a high and believes the difference has been the guidance and presence of her Aussie coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald, a five-time world champion.

"I am so glad that I could end the year on a high," Dipika told the TOI from Hong Kong.

"I think what made the difference is that I had my coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald with me during this tournament. Getting her to travel with me will help me a lot. I hope I get more sponsor support so that I have my coach traveling with me during tournaments," added Dipika.

Dipika, who was seeded third for the Hong Kong event, had a tough opponent in fourth-seeded Chan in the final. Chan had the advantage as the final match progressed into the fifth and deciding game. The Hong Kong World No 20 seemed to make her home advantage count, rushing to a 7-4 lead in the decider. But Dipika clawed things back to seal the game in tie-breaker and capture the title with a 12-10, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 14-2 win.

However, the Chennai girl's most came cherished match in HK was in the semifinal, where she beat the experienced Sarah Kippax of England, the second seed in the tournament.

"Beating Sarah on Saturday just got my confidence up cause she's a very experienced player," said Dipika. "I had to use the front court a bit more because I felt I would get most of my points there and the plan worked.

"Playing Joey (Chan) in the final was always going to be tough. Playing front of home crowd gave her a lot of confidence. I am so happy to win this tournament and it will hopefully help me get up a few places in the rankings," added the 20-year-old, who plans to carry on the momentum from this win to next year. But before that she has a busy schedule at home, celebrating Christmas with family.

"I am confident of beginning the next season on a good note. As for now, it is holiday time and two weeks I will spend time with family and friends. The new season starts in the second week of January," added Dipika.

(Agencies)