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13/09/2018
Women's World Team Championship 2018

LATEST

Results

Final

Semi Finals Quarter Finals

3rd qualifying

2nd qualifying

1st qualifying

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Women's World Team Championship 2018
11 - 16 Sep

Dalian, China
 Dalian images courtesy of Guoxiaoming
REPORTS
Final

RESULTS: CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship, Dalian, China

Final:
[1] EGYPT bt [2] ENGLAND 2/0
Nouran Gohar bt Alison Waters 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7 (55m)
Raneem El Welily bt Laura Massaro 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3 (36m)

Bronze medallists: [5] HONG KONG CHINA & [6] FRANCE

5th place play-off:
[3] USA bt [4] MALAYSIA 2/0
Sabrina Sobhy bt Aifa Azman 11-5, 15-13, 11-8 (23m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Nicol David 6-11, 11-9, 11-3, 12-10 (32m)

7th place play-off:
[8] CANADA bt [7] NEW ZEALAND 2/0
Nikki Todd bt Abbie Palmer 4-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (27m)
Samantha Cornett bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7 (35m)

9th place play-off:
[9] AUSTRALIA bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 2/1
Sarah Cardwell bt Milnay Louw 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (21m)
Donna Lobban lost to Alexandra Fuller 12-10, 8-11 ret. (21m)
Christine Nunn bt Elani Landman 11-2, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6 (34m)

11th place play-off:
[10] JAPAN bt [11] INDIA 2/1
Ayumi Watanabe lost to Aparajitha Balamurukan 6-11, 3-11, 5-11 (16m)
Satomi Watanabe bt Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (20m)
Risa Sugimoto bt Tanvi Khanna 9-11, 11-5, 3-11, 12-10, 13-11 (46m)

13th place play-off:
[13/16] SWITZERLAND bt [13/16] GERMANY 2/0
Celine Walser bt Saskia Beinhard 11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4 (30m)
Nadia Pfister bt Franziska Hennes 9-11, 15-13, 11-9, 11-8 (40m)

15th place play-off:
[13/16] FINLAND bt [13/16] CHINA 2/1
Riina Koskinen bt Ying Dou 11-1 ret.
Emilia Soini lost to Li Dongjin 9-11, 6-11, 6-11 (18m)
Emilia Korhonen bt Jenny Peng 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-2 (26m)

Egypt Crowned Women's World Team Champions

Defending champions Egypt fulfilled their seeding in the CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship today in China, successfully retaining their title by beating perennial rivals England, the No.2 seeds, 2/0 in the final of the biennial World Squash Federation championship at the Xigang Gymnasium in the seaport city of Dalian.

It was the two nations' fifth meeting in the final in since 2006 and Egypt's fourth triumph over the seven-times champions.

Things looked to be going the way of the favourites early in the opening match between the third strings Nouran Gohar and Londoner Alison Waters (both pictured below). Such is the might of the Egyptian squad that they were able to rest their number one - the world No.1 Nour El Sherbini - yet still field at third string Nouran Gohar, the squad number four who is ranked six in the world!

Gohar raced to a two-game lead - but Waters, earning her 140th international cap for England, battled back to level the match. It took just less than an hour but Gohar finally nailed her opponent, winning 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7 in 55 minutes.

Experienced Egyptian world team championship campaigner Raneem El Welily then faced England's Laura Massaro - both former world number ones. The match was the pair's 31st meeting since May 2004 - with the English player having a 19-11 head-to-head advantage going into the match.

El Welily, the reigning world No.2, took a two-game lead over Massaro (both pictured above) before the Lancashire lass reduced the deficit by winning the third game. But the fourth game was a short affair, El Welily dropping just three points before winning 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3 to give the title to Egypt.

"You always forget about how hard it is for managers and coaches to watch the players - especially on the women's side where it's all about tactical squash," said Egypt coach Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion afterwards. "The attrition and speed has gone up in the last ten years. But at the end of the day it's very tactical - and you can see the tactics going back and forth.

"So I am very proud of the girls especially after Nour El Sherbini messed up her Achilles tendon yesterday - so I am very happy that they stuck together and kept it together."

When asked if the approach to this fifth final against was any different from before, Shabana responded: "I tried to fire them up: I asked them, just before they started to warm up, how many times they have won the world team title? I know England has won it seven times - but how many times have you won it, how many times did England win it?

"It is only four. So I said, you are not exactly favourites here; you are not used to that feeling. You still have a long time before you can say you are dominant - and that's what I wanted them to know. I wanted to remind them, it's not us on top of the mountain, it's actually England on top of the mountain. It's up to us to work our way up to that."

When reminded that Australia have won the title nine times, Shabana immediately said: "So we are not even among the two best teams yet! We might be higher in the rankings but by far we're not the most dominant nation as of yet. Yes, we're higher-ranked right now, but people tend to think we have always been this!"

Which nations represented the biggest potential threat to Egypt in the future? "Hong Kong, Malaysia and India - in that order," said the coach. "After that you can see USA coming up next. Hong Kong have an amazing system, as does Malaysia. And USA wants to show off that university mentality."

England coach David Campion was not dismayed by his team's performance: "We were fairly confident Alison might be able to get us off to a decent start with her track record against Gohar. But, to be fair, both Raneem and Gohar played really well for Egypt - both played superb squash. And from 2/0 down when Al came back I thought she might be able to do - but it wasn't to be.

"They both gave it everything. Laura's match with Raneem was a quality match. Raneem was superb and when she plays like that she's very difficult - she beats everybody when she plays like that.

"We can't really be too disappointed with the outcome when you see the level of squash they play at today.

"It's another silver medal against Egypt. We'll keep fighting away and hopefully keep as competitive as this going forward!"

Earlier in the day, USA and Malaysia replayed the 2016 battle for 5th place - again to decide the same position in the 2018 standings. Seeded three and four, respectively, both teams won their pools - then came unstuck in the quarter-finals.

With the day's ties being played in team orders 3-1-2, third string Sabrina Sobhy put the USA ahead after being 16-year-old Malaysian Aifa Azman 3/0 before older sister Amanda Sobhy clinched the tie for the third seed - and retained their 5th position - by repeating her win over Nicol David exactly two years ago, surviving a tight clash against the former world number one 6-11, 11-9, 11-3, 12-10 in 32 minutes.

"I'm very proud of the team - we're still a young team, we're still learning in this competition," explained US team coach Thierry Lincou, the former world champion from France later. "Even though USA have featured in several world team events, this team is very new - new to the culture of getting used to the pools, and the concept of getting out of the pool into the second stage - which is like another competition. So we are really learning.

"This year we had a better seeding, but that doesn't guarantee you anything - so we learnt a lesson. I am proud because we beat France, who came fourth - so we beat a top four team - and we beat Malaysia who were seeded fourth. So we are there.

"It reinforces the fact that we belong with the top five countries in the world. There is still a lot of work and hope - but there is a bright future for these guys."

After the disappointment of failing to make the quarter-finals, former champions Australia fulfilled their seeding by winning the play-off for 9th place. But despite losing, 12th seeds South Africa exceeded their seeding and recorded their best finish since 2010.

Then most dramatic tie took place in the battle for 11th place - in which 10th seeds Japan came back from losing the first match against India, the No.11 seeds, to win 2/1. Hero of the Japan team was second string Risa Sugimoto who was taken the full distance by Tanvi Khanna, saving two match balls in the decider before beating the Indian 9-11, 11-5, 3-11, 12-10, 13-11 in 46 minutes.

"We were seeded ten and disappointed not to achieve at least that position," said Japan number one Satomi Watanabe. "It's been a good experience for us being here and, with a young team in Dalian, including my 16-year-old sister, we can look forward to being more successful in two years.

"We have been really well looked after here in Dalian, the hotel has been great and the weather too - and everyone has worked so hard to make the event a success."

For the latest information, check out the official event website www.wsfwomensteams.com
For details of live streaming, visit
wsfwomensteams.com/watch/
Regular updates will be posted on Twitter at @WWTsquash

Semi Finals

RESULTS: CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship, Dalian, China

Semi-finals:
[1] EGYPT bt [5] HONG KONG CHINA 2/1
Raneem El Welily bt Joey Chan 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (24m)
Nour El Sherbini lost to Annie Au 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 3-11 (51m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Lee Ka Yi 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (21m)

[2] ENGLAND bt [6] FRANCE 2/1
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Coline Aumard 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 (41m)
Laura Massaro lost to Camille Serme 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11 (52m)
Alison Waters bt Melissa Alves 11-6, 11-3, 12-10 (25m)

5th - 8th place play-offs:
[3] USA bt [7] NEW ZEALAND 2/0
Reeham Sedky bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 (57m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Joelle King 11-7, 11-5, 5-6 ret. (25m)

[4] MALAYSIA bt [8] CANADA 3/0
Low Wee Wern bt Danielle Letourneau 6-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-2, 11-5 (47m)
Nicol David bt Samantha Cornett 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 (29m)
Aifa Azman bt Hollie Naughton 11-6, 11-4 (15m)

9th - 12th place play-offs:
[9] AUSTRALIA bt [11] INDIA 2/0
Sarah Cardwell bt Tanvi Khanna 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9 (34m)
Christine Nunn bt Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 (34m)

[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [10] JAPAN 2/1
Elani Landman bt Misaki Kobayashi 12-10, 11-1, 11-7 (18m)
Alexandra Fuller lost to Satomi Watanabe 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 9-11 (42m)
Milnay Louw bt Risa Sugimoto 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (25m)

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[13/16] SWITZERLAND bt [13/16] FINLAND 2/1
Gaby Huber bt Emilia Korhonen 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5 (36m)
Cindy Merlo lost to Emilia Soini 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11 (45m)
Celine Walser bt Riina Koskinen 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (18m)

[13/16] GERMANY bt [13/16] CHINA 2/1
Nele Hatschek bt Jenny Peng 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (17m)
Franziska Hennes lost to Li Dongjin 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 3-11 (30m)
Saskia Beinhard bt Ying Dou 11-1, 11-1, 11-0 (9m)

For the latest information, check out the official event website www.wsfwomensteams.com
For details of live streaming, visit
wsfwomensteams.com/watch/
Regular updates will be posted on Twitter at @WWTsquash

Egypt & England To Contest Women's World Final

For the fifth year time in seven years, Egypt and England will contest the final of the CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship in China after the top two seeds survived semi-finals in the biennial World Squash Federation championship which went the full distance.

Defending champions Egypt, boasting a powerful squad featuring four players in the world top six, were the first to make the final after overcoming surprise opponents Hong Kong China, the fifth seeds who defeated No.3 seeds USA in the quarter-finals at the Xigang Gymnasium in the city of Dalian.

Second string Raneem El Welily, currently the world's second best player, eased Egypt ahead following a straight games win over Hong Kong left-hander Joey Chan. But the favourites suffered an uncharacteristic setback - for the second time in 24 hours - when top string Nour El Sherbini, the world No.1, went down in five games to the top-ranked Hong Kong player Annie Au (both pictured above).

Au led 1/0 and 2/1 - then squandered a match ball in the fourth before finally closing out the match 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-3 to level the tie. Despite a brave fight in the decider, HK event debutant Lee Ka Yi, the fourth string ranked 57 in the world, was no match for Nour El Tayeb, going down to the world No.3 from Egypt 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (both pictured below).

"Our number one player is always going to have a tricky match," said Egypt coach Amr Shabana later. "But you have to give it to the Hong Kong federation - their system is amazing. I remember maybe 15 years ago, it was a surprise when a Hong Kong player did well - now it's not a surprise! The Hong Kong federation and the national team should be very proud of themselves.

"Even their number four player today was playing against our number three player - and she was very promising. As the Egyptian national team, we have to be very proud to have got through this match.

"But we're in the final now, so as far as I'm concerned, it's job done for me. It was up to me not to lose before the final, and if we do win this tournament none of the credit is to me. We're playing with the best players in the world and all I am trying to do is manage them and get the best out of them. Once they step out on court tomorrow it's up to them. So far so good!"

The later semi-final bore a striking similarity to the first - when England took the lead, then saw surprise opponents France, the sixth seeds, strike back before the second seeds restored order with a straightforward win in the decider.

In only the fourth championship meeting between the two nations in 31 years, England moved ahead through Sarah-Jane Perry, who beat French opponent Coline Aumard 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6.

France then registered their first ever match win over England in the competition when world No.5 Camille Serme extended her 11-8 head-to-head record over Laura Massaro by beating the former world No.1 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 to level the tie.

With some 200 world ranking positions between them, it was perhaps no surprise that England's experienced world No.10 Alison Waters needed only three games to overcome French opponent Melissa Alves (both pictured above) 11-6, 11-3, 12-10 to put England into the final.

The semi-final success extends England's remarkable record of having been in every final, bar one, since 1981 - 37 years ago!

"It's never straightforward," explained England coach David Campion. "Especially when you've got players shooting at you like you saw at the end there with Melissa.

"Our team is vastly experienced - but there are a lot of top players here, so you've got to prepare for every match. You can't expect to just walk into a final. We'll push Egypt as hard as we can!"

There was drama in both the ties in the play-offs for the 5-8 places. Third seeds USA beat No.7 seeds New Zealand - third string Reeham Sedky being taken the full distance by the Kiwi No.2 Amanda Landers-Murphy before winning 11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 in 57 minutes, then US No.1 Amanda Sobhy pulling through against Joelle King (both pictured in action below) when the NZ world No.4 was forced to retire hurt with a toe injury to her left foot.

"We had to regroup after yesterday's loss - of course, we were disappointed," admitted US coach Thierry Lincou. "We rested Reeham and today she was fresh and ready to go. We hoped she would inject some positivity into the group and she had good start - it was close but she did a good job

"We knew that the second match would be tough especially after Amanda's match yesterday and Joelle's win yesterday. So we knew that the first one would be important.

"So winning the first one enabled us to relax. We knew had the advantage in the first string.

"Then Amanda went out there very relaxed and played super squash."

USA move progress to meet Malaysia in the playoff for fifth place for the second time in a row after the No.4 seeds triumphed over eighth seeds Canada. Playing in the event for the first time since 2014 after a two-year layoff following knee surgery, Low Wee Wern gave Malaysia the perfect start by fighting back from 2/0 and match-ball down to beat Danielle Letourneau (both pictured below) 6-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-2, 11-5.

Team number one Nicol David clinched the win by beating Samantha Cornett 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 before 16-year-old Aifa Azman showed enormous promise by beating Canadian Hollie Naughton 11-6, 11-4 in the best-of-three dead rubber.

"It was good today - Wee Wern was great," said Malaysian coach Peter Genever. "She played first and was two games and match-ball down and came back and won. Then Nicol was dominant and played at a really good tempo and played beautifully in the end.

"Then Aifa in the dead rubber was good - I told her, we still want to win 3/0 - and she played positively. She's going to be really good for us in the future. Overall, it was a good result for us.

"Now we'll play the US who beat us in the same match in the last edition - they came fifth and we came sixth - so maybe we can get a little revenge, but it's going to be tough!"

Final: [1] EGYPT v [2] ENGLAND

Bronze medallists: [5] HONG KONG CHINA & [6] FRANCE

5th place play-off: [3] USA v [4] MALAYSIA
7th place play-off: [7] NEW ZEALAND v [8] CANADA
9th place play-off: [9] AUSTRALIA v [12] SOUTH AFRICA
11th place play-off: [11] INDIA v [10] JAPAN
13th place play-off: [13/16] SWITZERLAND v [13/16] GERMANY
15th place play-off: [13/16] FINLAND v [13/16] CHINA

For the latest information, check out the official event website www.wsfwomensteams.com
For details of live streaming, visit
wsfwomensteams.com/watch/
Regular updates will be posted on Twitter at @WWTsquash
 

Quarter FInals

RESULTS: CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship, Dalian, China

Quarter-finals:
[1] EGYPT bt [7] NEW ZEALAND 2/1
Nour El Sherbini lost to Joelle King 9-11, 9-11, 7-11 (35m)
Raneem El Welily bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 (18m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Abbie Palmer 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (14m)

[5] HONG KONG CHINA bt [3] USA 2/0
Annie Au bt Amanda Sobhy 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 (53m)
Joey Chan bt Olivia Blatchford 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 13-11 (41m)

[6] FRANCE bt [4] MALAYSIA 2/0
Camille Serme bt Nicol David 11-9, 11-2, 11-5 (29m)
Coline Aumard bt Sivasangari Subramaniam 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (48m)

[2] ENGLAND bt [8] CANADA 2/0
Laura Massaro bt Samantha Cornett 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 (45m)
Alison Waters bt Hollie Naughton 11-1, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[9] AUSTRALIA bt [13/16] FINLAND 2/0
Christine Nunn bt Emilia Soini 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 (27m)
Sarah Cardwell bt Emilia Korhonen 11-3, 11-7, 11-1 (19m)

[11] INDIA bt [13/16] SWITZERLAND 2/0
Sunayna Kuruvilla bt Cindy Merlo 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 (27m)
Tanvi Khanna bt Nadia Pfister 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 (26m)

[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [13/16] CHINA 2/0
Alexandra Fuller bt Li Dongjin 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9 (26m)
Milnay Louw bt Jenny Peng 11-2, 11-4, 11-3 (15m)

[10] JAPAN bt [13/16] GERMANY 2/0
Satomi Watanabe bt Franziska Hennes 11-3, 11-8, 11-4 (19m)
Misaki Kobayashi bt Nele Hatschek 11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9 (27m)

France & Hong Kong Gatecrash World Semis In Dalian

France and Hong Kong China upset the form book in today's quarter-finals of the CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship in China by despatching fourth seeds Malaysia and third seeds USA, respectively, to secure surprise semi-final berths in the 2018 edition of the biennial World Squash Federation championship being staged in the seaport city of Dalian.

It was Hong Kong who produced the event's first significant upset on one of the two all-glass showcourts at the Xigang Gymnasium. Seeded five, the recently-crowned Asian Games gold medallists came into the quarter-finals knockout stage of the championship as underdogs - having lost to Asian rivals Malaysia in the qualifying stage and therefore ending up as runners-up in the Pool.

It was the Hong Kong number one Annie Au who set the tone for the upset, twice leading against Amanda Sobhy and twice seeing the US top string fight back to draw level. But world No.11 Au (pictured below with Sobhy) led throughout the decider to close out the match 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 after 53 minutes to put the fifth seeds in the driving seat.

Fellow left-hander Joey Chan made the most of the opportunity - and repeated her victory over Olivia Blatchford last week in Shanghai by beating the US number two 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 13-11 in 41 minutes to take Hong Kong into the semi-finals for the third time in a row.

"There was always a chance," said HK national coach Chris Robertson when asked if USA had been their ideal opponents in the knockout stage. "On paper there was definitely a chance. I don't think we were favourites, which is why we were seeded five and they were seeded three.

"We played quite well against Malaysia - a 3/2 and two 3/1s, and Annie was 2/0 up against Nicol (David) - so it wasn't as if we hadn't been playing OK. Obviously we had a really good Jakarta, so the girls are a little bit more used to winning.

"So today was in many ways our final. We just wanted to give just one last push. Both Rebecca (Chiu) and I told the girls: just use the whole of the court a bit more. Annie and Joey are both good shot players - and Annie just set the tone. She just attacked.

"Once she won, it changed the dynamics a little bit: Joey has a chance, and Joey beat Olivia just last week in Shanghai, so you know you've got a chance. And she went out there and played - and used the front of the court a little bit more than she's done earlier in the week.

"I don't we were favourite at number three so maybe the playing order today helped us a little bit.

"You've just got to take the opportunities when they come - and I don't think we did that against Malaysia. But I think we did it a little bit more today.

"I'm absolutely delighted. To come here and win a medal is really beyond our expectations. Now we can go and play Egypt with absolutely zero expectation - and go on and enjoy it!"

It was in the evening session that France, led by world No.5 Camille Serme, pulled off the day's second upset by denying Malaysia a place in the last four for the second time in succession. Serme led by example, taking just three games to overcome her illustrious opponent Nicol David, the former world No.1 (both pictured above), 11-9, 11-2, 11-5.

David, making her ninth successive appearance in the championships since 2002, boasted a 19-2 head-to-head record over the French number one going into the match - and the win proved to be Serme's third in a row over the past 10 months.

Buoyed by this unexpected advantage, France's second string Coline Aumard recovered from a game down to defeat Malaysian teenager Sivasangari Subramaniam 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 before collapsing in tears of joy with her jubilant team-mates (all pictured below) on the showcourt.

"Today Camille played really, really, well - and maybe Coline played her best game ever," said French coach Philippe Signoret afterwards. "I am so happy for the girls. We were seeded six and we now have a bronze medal - and maybe more!"

Hong Kong now play defending champions Egypt for a place in the final - but the firm favourites suffered a major blow in their tie against 7th seeds New Zealand when top string Nour El Sherbini, the world No.1, went down 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 to Kiwi Joelle King (see below), ranked three places lower.

Order was quickly restored when last week's China Open champion Raneem El Welily, the world No.2, defeated Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 to level the tie for the top seeds before Nour El Tayeb clinched Egypt's anticipated place in the semis by dismissing Abbie Palmer 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 in just 14 minutes.

"I know that Nour Sherbini is always going to have strong matches - because, if anything, all the countries have at least one or two good players," explained Egypt coach Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion, later.

"She started off well - but what I really liked about Joelle today was that her demeanour inside the court was amazing. She was very positive, very composed and focussed.

"For Nour, it is still early in the season and she didn't have that very high level of concentration that Joelle had. And I think today was a match of attitude - it wasn't a match of attrition or skill ... it was more of a mental match. And I think Joelle, being early in the season, had the superiority today.

"Joelle is a very solid player - you can see from the results - and she deserved her win today.

"This is early in the season and Nour likes to take her time and ease into things. She only started training in August. She likes to peak towards the majors of the year - even though this is important for her. We're lucky to also have 2, 3 and 6 in the world in the team!

"This has been very good for our players - they are still young, believe it or not. Even Raneem is young in her squash years - so it is good to be in this position today. It's been very good for us to be put in this position.

"But, in the world teams you are playing for your country - you are not playing for yourself - so it's very easy to get stressed out. It's good to experience this stress - it's very healthy to be put in this position."

Former champions England were the final team to secure their place in the semi-finals - beating 8th seeds Canada to set up the last four clash with European rivals France. Team number one Laura Massaro battled for 45 minutes to overcome her Canadian equivalent Samantha Cornett (both pictured above) 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 - having to save game balls in the fourth to prevent a decider.

It took just 24 minutes to seal the semi slot after England number two Alison Waters beat Hollie Naughton 11-1, 11-6, 11-6.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] EGYPT v [5] HONG KONG CHINA
[2] ENGLAND v [6] FRANCE

5th - 8th place play-offs:
[7] NEW ZEALAND v [3] USA
[4] MALAYSIA v [8] CANADA

9th - 12th place play-offs:
[9] AUSTRALIA v [11] INDIA
[10] JAPAN v [12] SOUTH AFRICA

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[13/16] FINLAND v [13/16] SWITZERLAND
[13/16] GERMANY v [13/16] CHINA

For the latest information, check out the official event website www.wsfwomensteams.com
For details of live streaming, visit
wsfwomensteams.com/watch/
Regular updates will be posted on Twitter at @WWTsquash

Dalian images courtesy of Guoxiaoming

 

3rd Qualifying 

RESULTS: CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship, Dalian, China

3rd & final qualifying round - Pool A:
[1] EGYPT bt [13/16] GERMANY 3/0
Nour El Sherbini bt Nele Hatschek 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 (18m)
Nouran Gohar bt Annika Wiese 11-1, 11-2, 11-1 (13m)
Raneem El Welily bt Saskia Beinhard 11-6, 11-6, 11-2 (22m)
[8] CANADA bt [9] AUSTRALIA 2/1
Samantha Cornett lost to Donna Lobban 9-11, 8-11, 6-11 (30m)
Hollie Naughton bt Sarah Cardwell 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (30m)
Danielle Letourneau bt Christine Nunn 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11 (47m)

Final positions: 1 Egypt, 2 Canada, 3 Australia, 4 Germany

Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND bt [13/16] FINLAND 3/0
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Emilia Soini 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (22m)
Victoria Lust bt Riina Koskinen 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 (19m)
Alison Waters bt Emilia Korhonen 11-1, 11-6, 11-4 (16m)
[7] NEW ZEALAND bt [10] JAPAN 2/1
Joelle King bt Satomi Watanabe 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (26m)
Kaitlyn Watts lost to Risa Sugimoto 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 4-11 (44m)
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Misaki Kobayashi 11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8 (32m)

Final positions: 1 England, 2 New Zealand, 3 Japan, 4 Finland

Pool C:
[3] USA bt [13/16] CHINA 3/0
Olivia Blatchford bt Li Dongjin 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (21m)
Sabrina Sobhy bt Ying Dou 11-2, 11-0, 11-1 (9m)
Reeham Sedky bt Jenny Peng 11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (21m)
[6] FRANCE bt [11] INDIA 3/0
Camille Serme bt Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (22m)
Enora Villard bt Aparajitha Balamurukan 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 (23m)
Coline Aumard bt Tanvi Khanna 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (27m)

Final positions: 1 USA, 2 France, 3 India, 4 China

Pool D:
[4] MALAYSIA bt [13/16] SWITZERLAND 3/0
Sivasangari Subramaniam bt Cindy Merlo 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 14-12 (30m)
Aifa Azman bt Celine Walser 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (20m)
Low Wee Wern bt Nadia Pfister 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (23m)
[5] HONG KONG CHINA bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 3/0
Annie Au bt Alexandra Fuller 11-3, 11-8, 3-11, 11-2 (28m)
Ho Tze-Lok bt Lizelle Muller 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (27m)
Joey Chan bt Elani Landman 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (17m)

Final positions: 1 Malaysia, 2 Hong Kong China, 3 South Africa, 4 Switzerland

World Quarter-Final Line-Up Completed In Dalian

After the third day of qualifying action in the CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship in China, France, New Zealand, Canada and Hong Kong China secured the remaining four places in the quarter-finals of the biennial World Squash Federation championship being staged in the seaport city of Dalian.

Following the safe passage through to the last eight by the top four seeds Egypt, England, USA and Malaysia the previous day, it was the turn of the 5-8 seeds to prevail today - and all did so, albeit in contrasting styles.

Canada were the first to achieve their goal - but the No.8 seeds had to do so after fighting back from a match down against Pool A rivals Australia, the ninth seeds. World No.17 Donna Lobban put Australia ahead with a straight games defeat of Canadian Samantha Cornett, ranked 15 places lower.

But Canada drew level after a courageous performance by second string Hollie Naughton (pictured below) which saw the left-hander beat Sarah Cardwell 11-7, 11-7, 11-9. In the decider, Danielle Letourneau clinched victory for Canada after beating Christine Nunn in four games, squandering two match-balls in the final game before converting the third in an 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11 scoreline.

The win guarantees Canada a top eight finish for the first time since 2000 - a fact which Graeme Williams found difficult to grasp minutes afterwards: "It's not really quite sunk in yet - it was a little bit stressful - but Danielle did a fantastic job to bring the team home," said the Canadian coach. "And we mustn't forget Hollie - from 1/0 down, she came up with a really solid display to turn things round. And that sort of performance this gives the rest of the team a great deal of confidence. That was a great - and then Danielle brought us home. It was a little bit nervy but she held it together at the end.

"The top eight has been the target for the last two world teams. Being seeded eight adds a little bit of pressure because we're expected to do that. We haven't done it for an awfully long time. In the past we've been seeded outside the top eight so it's a different kind of pressure to be favoured to get there.

"It still feels amazing to have got the job done - and now it's just a matter of how high can we finish!"

The Pool B tie between New Zealand and Japan also went the full distance before seventh seeds New Zealand emerged triumphant 2/1. Originally seeded eight, the Kiwis were elevated to 7th position following a re-seeding after the withdrawal of India's two leading players as a result of injury. World No.4 Joelle King put NZ ahead after an 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 dismissal of Japan's top string Satomi Watanabe.

But the 10th seeds fought back when Risa Sugimoto beat 17-year-old New Zealander Kaitlyn Watts in four games. With the prospect of a first-ever top eight finish for her country, Japan's Misaki Kobayashi battled back from a game down to level the decider against Amanda Landers-Murphy (both pictured below).

But the higher-ranked Kiwi ultimately prevailed, winning 11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8 after 32 minutes to ensure a top eight finish for New Zealand for the second time in a row.

"That was a very big match for us," admitted NZ team manager Kylie Lindsay. "We knew it was going to be tough. It was good having Joelle on first to get us off to a good start. We had our young junior on second - I thought she played really well but just couldn't quite get us over the line.

"I really backed Amanda to beat Misaki - Misaki is tricky because she goes for it and sometimes produces some outrageous winners. I thought Amanda held her nerve really well. I definitely thought she'd pull through.

"Four years ago we had Joelle missing through injury and we came tenth. Top eight was our first goal here, but we knew it would be tricky. When the seeding changed it was a little bit better for us - but we knew Japan were going to be tricky. The girls had to play well - and they did.

"It's good to get that first battle out of the way. I know we'll have Egypt now in the quarters. I'm looking forward to the girls having a good run tomorrow - then we'll see what happens!"

After the disappointment of losing to USA yesterday, sixth seeds France secured second place in Pool C - and a place in the quarter-final knockout stage - after beating 11th seeds India 3/0 following straight games wins by Camille Serme, Enora Villard and Coline Aumard.

"It's the first target, to get in the top eight," said French coach Philippe Signoret succinctly afterwards. "The second is to be on the podium!

"Yesterday we lost against the USA so we knew today we had to get in the top eight. We know that India are not the team they might have been - but it was not easy.

"I am sure we have a good chance tomorrow."

After losing out to Asian rivals Malaysia on day two in Pool D, fifth seeds Hong Kong China made sure of their anticipated place in the last eight with a 3/0 win over South Africa.

The top four seeds also duly posted convincing wins on day three - favourites Egypt beating Germany in style before team coach Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion from Cairo, was called upon to meet local media (see above).

Third seeds USA beat hosts China 3/0, while Malaysia defeated Switzerland/ by the same margin.

Former champions England overcame Finland 3/0 - with second string Alison Waters making no allowances for the birthday celebrations of her opponent Emilia Korhonen. Despite mid-game advice from seasoned Finnish coach Ari Pelkonen, 23-year-old Korhonen (both pictured below) went down 11-1, 11-6, 11-4 to the world No.10 from London.

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] EGYPT v [7] NEW ZEALAND
[3] USA v [5] HONG KONG CHINA
[4] MALAYSIA v [6] FRANCE
[8] CANADA v [2] ENGLAND

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[9] AUSTRALIA v [13/16] FINLAND
[11] INDIA v [13/16] SWITZERLAND
[12] SOUTH AFRICA v [13/16] CHINA
[10] JAPAN v [13/16] GERMANY

For the latest information, check out the official event website www.wsfwomensteams.com
For details of live streaming, visit
wsfwomensteams.com/watch/
Regular updates will be posted on Twitter at @WWTsquash

Dalian images courtesy of Guoxiaoming

 

2nd Qualifying Results

RESULTS: CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship, Dalian, China

2nd qualifying round - Pool A:
[1] EGYPT bt [8] CANADA 3/0
Raneem El Welily bt Danielle Letourneau 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (24m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Hollie Naughton 8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (38m)
Nouran Gohar bt Nikki Todd 11-3, 11-5, 11-2 (16m)
[9] AUSTRALIA bt [13/16] GERMANY 3/0
Donna Lobban bt Franziska Hennes 11-1, 11-2, 11-8 (17m)
Christine Nunn bt Nele Hatschek 11-3, 11-8, 11-3 (20m)
Sarah Cardwell bt Saskia Beinhard 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (20m)

Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND bt [7] NEW ZEALAND 3/0
Laura Massaro bt Joelle King 11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (40m)
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 (22m)
Alison Waters bt Kaitlyn Watts 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (23m)
[10] JAPAN bt [13/16] FINLAND 3/0
Satomi Watanabe bt Emilia Soini 11-2, 11-7, 12-10 (20m)
Misaki Kobayashi bt Emilia Korhonen 11-1, 11-4, 11-8 (15m)
Risa Sugimoto bt Riina Koskinen 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (20m)

Pool C:
[3] USA bt [6] FRANCE 3/0
Amanda Sobhy bt Camille Serme 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-8 (41m)
Olivia Blatchford bt Coline Aumard 11-4, 11-5, 12-10 (30m)
Reeham Sedky bt Melissa Alves 8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8 (62m)
[11] INDIA bt [13/16] CHINA 3/0
Sunayna Kuruvilla bt Li Dongjin 11-8, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7 (35m)
Tanvi Khanna bt Jenny Peng 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (17m)
Aparajitha Balamurukan bt Ying Dou 11-2, 11-4, 11-1 (9m)

Pool D:
[4] MALAYSIA bt [5] HONG KONG CHINA 3/0
Nicol David bt Annie Au 6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (43m)
Sivasangari Subramaniam bt Joey Chan 15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (35m)
Low Wee Wern bt Lee Ka Yi 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (38m)
[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [13/16] SWITZERLAND 3/0
Alexandra Fuller bt Cindy Merlo 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (21m)
Elani Landman bt Nadia Pfister 11-5, 11-3, 12-10 (22m)
Milnay Louw bt Gaby Huber 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (27m)

Top Four Seeds Clinch Quarter-Final Slots In Dalian

Despite it only being the second day of qualifying action in the CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship in China, it was an important one for the top four seeds Egypt, England, USA and Malaysia - all of whom pulled out all the stops and confirmed their positions in the quarter-final knockout stage of the biennial World Squash Federation championship in the seaport city of Dalian.

Arguably, the key tie was the afternoon battle between Malaysia, the fourth seeds, and Asian rivals Hong Kong China - the fifth seeds who less than two weeks ago deposed Malaysia as the Women's team gold medallists in the Asian Games.

Eager to avenge the loss of their eight-year reign, Malaysia went to battle on the all-glass showcourt centre-stage at the Xigang Gymnasium with Nicol David, the country's most successful woman athlete in the Games, at the helm. David went into the match boasting a 26-1 career head-to-head lead over her opponent Annie Au - but the Hong Kong left-hander quickly built up a 2/0 lead as the Malaysians' revenge bid faltered.

The now 35-year-old David (pictured above with Au), who topped the world rankings for an unprecedented 109 unbroken months, bravely fought back however and eventually put her team into the lead following her courageous 6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 victory.

Teenager Sivasangari Subramaniam followed her team-mate's lead by defeating Joey Chan 15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 before third string Malaysian Low Wee Wern, making her first championship appearance for four years since major knee surgery, recovered from a game down to overcome Lee Ka Yi 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 to give her team a decisive 3/0 victory, and virtually guarantee supremacy in Pool D.

"The first match was crucial," admitted Malaysia coach Peter Genever afterwards. "Annie was really controlling the game at the start so Nicol did brilliantly to come back. We needed to warm the ball up between games - it was quite cold on there.

"We changed the ball after the second game and it was a bit more lively, which suited Nicol's game. It almost became the start of a new match - and once Nicol got her rhythm, she really got into the game.

"Sangari played really well too. Wee Wern hasn't played a massive amount of glass-court squash competitively since her comeback so she's still finding her feet - she wasn't happy with how she played, which is often the mark of a good player when they're playing well and still think they could be better!"

On the significance of the tie, so early in the competition, Genever added: "It's a little different from the Asian Games where the pools are a bit bigger - so this was massive!

"The girls didn't need a lot of motivation - they were keen to do well today. It was a good win for us."

Another battle of similar proportions took place on an adjacent all-glass court where third seeds USA faced France, the sixth seeds. USA, whose highest finish to date is 5th, are relishing the opportunity of a best ever result in 21 appearances in the event - while France are eager to show that their 2016 third-place finish on home soil was not a flash in the pan.

The opening match between the two countries' top players lived up to expectations. Amanda Sobhy, a former world No.6 coming back from injury, faced French star Camille Serme, the reigning world No.5 (pictured above, left, with Sobhy) fresh from a major upset over world No.1 Nour El Sherbini in last week's China Open.

Left-hander Sobhy - who went into the match 2-5 down in the pair's head-to-head record - forged a two-game lead but Serme saved the third before USA took the lead when Sobhy clinched the fourth to record an 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-8 victory.

A straight games win by Olivia Blatchford over Coline Aumard gave the tie to USA before Reeham Sedky survived a 62-minute five-game marathon over France's No.3 Melissa Alves to give the third seeds maximum points.

On the significance of the tie, US coach Thierry Lincou - the former world No.1 from France, said: "We know that the finishing position in the pool can determine a slightly easier draw in the quarters - that's why that match was very important.

"Today Amanda won - but it was really close. And our number three was the same thing - it could have gone either way. There are four teams who are very similar, so in the quarters it's going to be as tough.

"I thought Amanda would have a chance today - but I knew Camille would be super-tough as she's so consistent - last week beating Sherbini, someone she hadn't beaten for a long time, so her confidence would be super-high. It was Amanda's first tough test of the season - it is a good win for her confidence."

But how easy was it for the former French squash supremo to take down his country-of-birth in this way? "It's my job ..... but it was tough!" admitted the smiling Frenchman. "It took me back a couple of months ago, during the football World Cup, when my natural instinct was to support the 'bleu, blanc et rouge'.

"But my job is here in the US - and I think we're bonding really well. This is the first time for me. When I looked at the seedings, I said 'oh no'!"

Second seeds England, who hold the phenomenal record of having reached the final in all but one of their 19 championship appearances since 1981, took on seventh seeds New Zealand for the anticipated top position in Pool B.

Laura Massaro, the former world No.1, led the way for England - eager to put behind her a shock early China Open exit last week in Shanghai. In her 101st England appearance, Massaro fought back from a game down to beat double Commonwealth Games gold medallist Joelle King (both pictured above) 11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7. Team-mates Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters quickly wrapped up the remaining two rubbers to ease England into the last eight.

"I'm happy with that," said England national coach David Campion. "On the back of Laura losing last week, she came out in a big match like that against Joelle. She finished so strongly last season and had a great summer of training - so last week was a huge disappointment to her, losing 3/0 like that.

"Playing well today was important for her - and that impacts on the team. At least she's shown herself and everybody else that she's a big threat. You need number ones to play well.

"It's good to get that under our belt - stage one is done now. We've come here with aspirations to win."

On England's final record, Campion continued: "We're all aware we've had a good track record - putting on an England shirt is a big deal for us. England has a good pedigree. Hopefully we can be successful again."

Favourites Egypt also came through relatively unscathed - Raneem El Welily (pictured above in action with Canadian Danielle Letourneau), Nour El Tayeb and Nouran Gohar all beating their Canada opponents to ensure leadership of Pool A.

The day also produced wins for 9th seeds Australia, 10th seeds Japan, 11th seeds India and 12th seeds South Africa.

For the latest information, check out the official event website www.wsfwomensteams.com
For details of live streaming, visit
wsfwomensteams.com/watch/
Regular updates will be posted on Twitter at @WWTsquash

Dalian images courtesy of Guoxiaoming
 

1st Qualifying Results

Pool A:
[1] EGYPT bt [9] AUSTRALIA 3/0
Nouran Gohar bt Sarah Cardwell 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (29m)
Nour El Sherbini bt Donna Lobban 11-1, 11-2, 11-9 (20m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Christine Nunn 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (24m)
[8] CANADA bt [13/16] GERMANY 3/0
Nikki Todd bt Annika Wiese 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (20m)
Danielle Letourneau bt Annika Wiese 11-8, 11-2, 11-9 (20m)
Hollie Naughton bt Saskia Beinhard 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (20m)

Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND bt [10] JAPAN 3/0
Victoria Lust bt Ayumi Watanabe 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (16m)
Laura Massaro bt Satomi Watanabe 12-10, 13-11, 12-10 (25m)
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Risa Sugimoto 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (18m)
[7] NEW ZEALAND bt [13/16] FINLAND 3/0
Abbie Palmer bt Riina Koskinen 11-2, 11-9, 11-1 (15m)
Joelle King bt Emilia Soini 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 (25m)
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Emilia Korhonen 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (17m)

Pool C:
[3] USA bt [11] INDIA 3/0
Reeham Sedky bt Aparajitha Balamurukan 11-4, 11-2, 11-4 (19m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (17m)
Olivia Blatchford bt Tanvi Khanna 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5 (30m)
[6] FRANCE bt [13/16] CHINA 3/0
Melissa Alves bt Ying Dou 11-1, 11-3, 11-2 (10m)
Coline Aumard bt Li Dongjin 11-7, 11-7, 13-11 (26m)
Enora Villard bt Jenny Peng 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (35m)

Pool D:
[4] MALAYSIA bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 3/0
Low Wee Wern bt Milnay Louw 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (24m)
Nicol David bt Alexandra Fuller 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (22m)
Sivasangari Subramaniam bt Elani Landman 11-6, 13-11, 11-3 (22m)
[5] HONG KONG CHINA bt [13/16] SWITZERLAND 3/0
Ho Tze-Lok bt Celine Walser 12-10, 11-9, 11-3 (26m)
Annie Au bt Cindy Merlo 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (18m)
Joey Chan bt Nadia Pfister 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (22m)

Top Seeds Survive Early World Hurdles In Dalian

The top eight seeds enjoyed a trouble-free outing on the opening day of action in the CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship - the sport's first world championship to be held in China, in the seaport city of Dalian.

Perhaps the most notable qualifying encounter was the opening Pool A tie on one of the two all-glass showcourts in the city's Xigang Gymnasium - which also boasts a further four permanently-sited all-glass courts on the centre's fifth floor - between two of the giants of world squash.

Champions Egypt, the top seeds, faced former champions Australia, this year the No.9 seeds. Egypt carried on where they left off in the 2016 final in France, seeing off their opposition in style - third string Nouran Gohar beating Sarah Cardwell 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (both pictured in action below), before team number one Nour El Sherbini defeated Aussie Donna Lobban 11-1, 11-2, 11-9 and second string Nour El Tayeb secured maximum points following a 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 win over Christine Nunn.

With its four players in the world top six, Egypt are firm favourites to retain the title: But Egypt coach Amr Shabana had some sympathy for underdogs Australia: "I know what it's like," said the four-time men's world champion. "I remember back in 1998 when Egypt came up against Australia. They were the top seeds and we had only being playing in the event a short time. They had great players like Michelle Martin, Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Liz Irving - and they beat us easily!"

The other tie in Pool A saw No.8 seeds Canada beat Germany 3/0 - with Nikki Todd, Danielle Letourneau and Hollie Naughton all claiming straight games wins.

"It's always nice to get the first one out of the way and let everyone play on the court," said Canadian coach Graeme Williams. "We've been here for five days - a long time - so we've been itching to get onto the court.

"Most of the teams here you can't take lightly, but today gave us the chance for us to rest Sam (Cornett), our number one, and let Nikki have a go. We've got four players and we're going to need them all.

"We haven't finished top eight for a long time so our first priority is to finish second in the group - realistically Egypt are going to be a tough nut to crack - then get to the top eight play-offs and see what happens. Our real goal is to get into the top eight.

"We've got great depth - our players are all very similar. They're all battle-hardened and ready to go."

It was in Pool B that former champions England began their 2018 campaign by beating 10th seeds Japan 3/0. In the first match, Victoria Lust put the No.2 seeds into the lead by beating the event's youngest player Ayumi Watanabe (both pictured above), aged 16, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5.

Ayumi's older sister Satomi Watanabe took England's Laura Massaro the full distance before the former world No.1 prevailed 12-10, 13-11, 12-10 - in a match which earned Massaro her 100th international cap for England. Sarah-Jane Perry guaranteed maximum points with an 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 win over Japan's Risa Sugimoto.

Also in Pool B, seventh seeds New Zealand beat Finland 3/0 - without dropping a game. Whilst the Kiwis have participated in all but one of the championships since 1979, their opponents were making a comeback after a 22-year gap since 1996.

"It's great to be back here," said Finland coach Ari Pelkonen. "I'm so pleased to be with these players - and they really want to improve. We are not in the top eight but it's very good experience for the players to be here.

"At the moment we have three good players - one is training in the States, one in the UK and one in Germany - and in two years I hope we will have more.

"It's my aim to be back in two years in Malaysia - and it's the girls' aim too!"

In the evening session, fourth seeds Malaysia beat South Africa, the 12th seeds, 3/0. Team number Nicol David was not only celebrating her ninth successive appearance for Malaysia since making her debut in 2002 - but also her 50th match in the event.

"I had no idea," conceded the former world number afterwards. "But it feels great!"

The 35-year-old from Penang, recently voted the Greatest Woman Player of All-Time in a poll conducted by the PSA, is enjoying a resurgence in her career after winning a record fifth Asian Games gold medal last month.

"It's just good to get back into the momentum of this event, and good to be back with the team again after the Asian Games," David continued. "The Games was very special and I was very proud to win gold for Malaysia - every medal counts there.

"I took some time off in the summer - it was about two and a half months. I needed space to do other things. I kept up my training of course - but I needed time to refresh. I had to find my edge again - but I never lost my passion for squash."

Pool D rivals Hong Kong China also won 3/0, beating Switzerland - while the two winning teams in Pool C were USA and France, who beat China 3/0 (top strings Coline Aumard & Li Dongjin pictured in action below).

To see the hosts compete on the all glass showcourt in his home city of Dalian was a dream come true for Championship Director Wang Guoguang, General Secretary of the Dalian Squash Association. It was just over two years ago, when he announced his intention to bid for the 2018 World Championship, that Wang said: 'The city has been a great supporter of squash and I would like to show my appreciation to the city by bringing the World Championship here - it would be a great milestone in my life.'

Wang said today: "We had to work very hard with the local government and the sports council to achieve this dream - but as a passionate supporter of squash, I wanted to give something back to the city and the country.

"If this is successful, I want to bid for the Men's World Team Championship - and then stage a men's and women's PSA World Tour event here each year."

At the opening ceremony for the championship, several dignitaries from the city and province welcomed the athletes and tournament officials - including (pictured above, L to R) Wang Guoguang, General Secretary of the Dalian Squash Association & Championship Event Director; Lu Zhijun, President of the Dalian Squash Association; Fu Weidong, General Secretary of the Dalian Bureau of Sports; Andrew Shelley, CEO of the World Squash Federation; Tan Zhenyao, Honorary President of the Dalian Squash Association; David Mui, President of the Asian Squash Federation & Honorary Chairman of the Chinese Squash Association; Chen Yingbiao, Dean of the Multi-ball Centre of the General Sports Administration of China; Ms. Liu Xiaoping, Vice Executive Secretary of the Dalian Municipal Government; Shan Jiren, Vice Director of the Dalian Bureau of Sports; and Song Huaxun, Project Manager/Supervisor of the Multi-ball Centre of the General Sports Administration of China.

Dalian images courtesy of Guoxiaoming
 

China Makes Squash History In Dalian

Squash history will be made tomorrow (Tuesday) when China hosts its first World Squash Championship - and the first ever to stage all matches on all-glass courts - when teams from the five continents compete in the 21st CGG WSF Women's World Team Championship in the Liaoning Province seaport city of Dalian.

With 15 players from the world top 20 amongst the 62 representing 16 nations, the biennial World Squash Federation event takes place at the Xigang Gymnasium - featuring two all-glass showcourts, with arena seating, plus four permanent all-glass courts - from 11-16 September.

Egypt, with four players in the world top six including world No.2 Raneem El Welily fresh from her unexpected triumph in last week's China Open in Shanghai, are the top seeds - firm favourites to become the first team to successfully defend the title since Australia in 2004. Egypt open their 2018 campaign against Australia, the No.9 seeds, in Pool A.

England boast the unprecedented record of having competed in all but one final since making their debut in the event 37 years ago in 1981! The No.2 seeds face Japan, the tenth seeds, on day one of their bid to reach the final for the 13th time in a row.

USA are one of only three teams to have competed in every championship since the inaugural event in 1979 - and, as third seeds, are expected to reach the semi-finals for the first time ever.

"It's feels good to be in this position - it is a sign that USA are recognised as a force in the women's game," conceded US coach Thierry Lincou, the former world No.1 and world champion from France (pictured below, left, with his squad).

"But this is just a seeding - we've never reached the top four before. After finishing fifth the last two times, it means that we are getting there. We are in a better position to achieve a top four finish. I think everyone is proud and very excited.

"We've been waiting for this moment since the last time. We were so happy to finish fifth - but we thought we could have done a little better. We were seeded seven and it was really tough - but the seeding this year is a little more in our favour. That's why we are so excited - it's pure excitement, motivation and desire."

Malaysia, who recorded a best-ever runner-up finish in 2014, but slumped to a sixth place finish last time, are the fourth seeds in Dalian. The team will led by Nicol David, the former world number one who is celebrating her ninth successive appearance in the championships since 2002. Completing the squad will be Low Wee Wern and teenagers Sivasangari Subramaniam and Aifa Azman.

"The top two teams are obviously a little bit further ahead than everybody else in terms of rankings," admitted Malaysian coach Peter Genever (pictured below with his squad). "Our priority to start with is to try and get through the pool on top and then take it from there. But we've got a very strong team. Nicol played well in China last week - she's in good form - and Sangari's playing very well, and Wee Wern and Aifa too."

After two years out with a knee injury, Low bounced back two months ago to reach the Malaysian National final then win three Tour events in a row.

"Yes, Wee Wern came back and won her first three PSA tournaments back-to-back. The game's changed quite a lot since she's been out, including the lower tin, but she's adapted to it very well.

"This event is massive for us. Our biggest event is the Asian Games and the women's team did really well in the individual event with gold and silver, but in the team event we only got a bronze - so that's given us extra motivation to do well here and show that we are better than our performance there.

"Hong Kong won it and we've got Hong Kong in our group so that's going to be interesting. We're the higher seeds so coming top of the group would make it slightly easier for us in the knockout stage."

The city of Dalian hosted a welcome reception for the players on the eve of the event - as pictured above.

The Pool line-ups are as follows (with seeding in brackets):
Pool A: [1] Egypt, [8] Canada, [9] Australia, [13/16] Germany
Pool B: [2] England, [7] New Zealand, [10] Japan, [13/16] Finland
Pool C: [3] USA, [6] France, [11] India, [13/16] China
Pool D: [4] Malaysia, [5] Hong Kong China, [12] South Africa, [13/16] Switzerland

For the latest information, check out the official event website www.wsfwomensteams.com
Regular updates will be posted on Twitter at @WWTsquash

Dalian images courtesy of Guoxiaoming

 

Kiwis Boosted By China World Teams Re-Draw

While India have been dealt a bitter blow by the withdrawal of two key players on the eve of the CGG WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship in China, a redraw has boosted New Zealand's chances of a place in the knockout stages of the biennial World Squash Federation in the city of Dalian, which gets underway next Tuesday, 11 September.

Indian number one Joshna Chinappa is due to undergo emergency wisdom teeth surgery next week, while second string Dipika Pallikal Karthik aggravated an ankle injury this week in the China Open - leaving the Indian squad bereft of its two world top 20 players, both of whom were double bronze medallists in last week's Asian Games.

India, formerly the seventh seeds, have been reseeded 11 - while former eighth seeds New Zealand, who were likely to have battled with 9th seeds Australia for the all-important second place in the qualifying pool, have now taken India's place as the No.7 seeds in Pool B alongside No.2 seeds England, 10th seeds Japan, and Finland, seeded in the 13/16 group. Only the top two teams in each of the four Pools will progress to the quarter-final knockout stage of the championship.

The first world squash championship ever to be held in China will take place at the Xigang Gymnasium in the Liaoning Province seaport from 11-16 September. The venue will feature two all-glass showcourts, with arena seating, plus four permanent all-glass courts.

All the event's leading players are currently in action at the PSA World Tour season-opening JP Morgan China Open in Shanghai, where all four members of top seeds Egypt's squad - all ranked in the world top six - are still in contention for the title, led by world No.1 Nour El Sherbini.

Dalian images courtesy of Guoxiaoming

Qualifying rounds -

Pool A:
[1] EGYPT v [9] AUSTRALIA
Nouran Gohar v Sarah Cardwell
Nour El Sherbini v Donna Lobban
Nour El Tayeb v Christine Nunn

[8] CANADA v [13/16] GERMANY
Nikki Todd v Annika Wiese
Danielle Letourneau v Annika Wiese
Hollie Naughton v Saskia Beinhard

[1] EGYPT v [8] CANADA
[9] AUSTRALIA v [13/16] GERMANY
[1] EGYPT v [13/16] GERMANY
[8] CANADA v [9] AUSTRALIA

Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND v [10] JAPAN
Victoria Lust v Ayumi Watanabe
Laura Massaro v Satomi Watanabe
Sarah-Jane Perry v Risa Sugimoto

[7] NEW ZEALAND v [13/16] FINLAND
Abbie Palmer v Riina Koskinen
Joelle King v Emilia Soini
Amanda Landers-Murphy v Emilia Korhonen

[2] ENGLAND v [7] NEW ZEALAND
[10] JAPAN v [13/16] FINLAND
[2] ENGLAND v [13/16] FINLAND
[7] NEW ZEALAND v [10] JAPAN

Pool C:
[3] USA v [11] INDIA
[6] FRANCE v [13/16] CHINA
[3] USA v [6] FRANCE
[11] INDIA v [13/16] CHINA
[3] USA v [13/16] CHINA
[6] FRANCE v [11] INDIA

Pool D:
[4] MALAYSIA v [12] SOUTH AFRICA
[5] HONG KONG CHINA v [13/16] SWITZERLAND
[4] MALAYSIA v [5] HONG KONG CHINA
[12] SOUTH AFRICA v [13/16] SWITZERLAND
[4] MALAYSIA v [13/16] SWITZERLAND
[5] HONG KONG CHINA v [12] SOUTH AFRICA
 
England relishing Women’s World Team challenge

Seven-time champions England are aiming to add another title to their collection when the WSF Women’s World Team Championships 2018 gets under way in Dalian, China from 11th-16th September.

Boasting four players inside the world’s top 20, Team England will be striving to reclaim the title they lost to Egypt in 2016 in France.

The England quartet will comprise: Laura Massaro, Sarah-Jane Perry, Alison Waters and Victoria Lust.

England’s women boast a strong track record in team events having been crowned European Team champions for the last eight years. Massaro, Waters and Perry were part of the squad who claimed the World Team title in 2014, and more recently silver in 2016.

David Campion, National Coach at England Squash said: “The World Team Championships is a very special event and we have a strong team with high expectations in Dalian.

“The girls all finished last season on a high with some great individual performances. The summer period has gone well, and with four world-class players in the squad, we are confident we can challenge for the title.”

England No.1 Laura Massaro said: "Playing for England has always been a highlight of my career. I have some great memories of playing with the team in the Women's World Championships. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming event in China. The quality of the competition has probably never been as high but we are relishing the challenge."

The event, due to be staged at the Xigang Gymnasium will see 16 nations compete for the coveted title including former champions Egypt and Australia.

 

 

 

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