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07/12/2014
World Team Championships 2014 (Women)

  Women's World Team Championships 2014
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
1-6 Dec
 
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Official website: wsfwomensteams.com/
live streaming: womensworldteams.com/squashtv

England Reclaim Women's World Team Championship Title

In a dramatic climax to the 2014 SHOP.CA WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship today in Canada, second seeds England defeated first-time finalists Malaysia 2/1 to win the biennial World Squash Federation championship for the seventh time.

It was less than 24 hours earlier that third seeds Malaysia created the upset of the championship at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, by dethroning title-holders and favourites Egypt. Meanwhile England established a new record 11th successive appearance in the final by seeing off Hong Kong China.

England began their latest campaign in convincing style when squad number three Sarah-Jane Perry beat Malaysian Delia Arnold 11-8, 11-9, 11-7.

"That was so, so, different from yesterday," said the world No.17, referring to the semi-final decider in which she beat the Hong Kong number three to put England into the final. "I wanted to get the girls off to a good start.

"I'm sharing with Laura, the team captain, and she's been amazing. It's good to have this solid team support. I know how much Ali and Laura want this after being in losing finals before."

Next on the all-glass showcourt were the two teams' top-strings - world number one Nicol David facing England's world number two Laura Massaro for the 30th time since 2005. The Malaysian was in dominant form - extending her ten-year unbeaten record in the event to beat Massaro 11-8, 11-9 11-3 and force a decider.

"I'm so pleased with my performance today," David said later. "Beating Laura is never easy, I had to dig deep, and beating Laura 3/0 is a great result. I'm so glad I brought a point to the team, it was such a wonderful feeling to be in the final. It was a dream for us."

England looked set to claim the title in straightforward style when Londoner Alison Waters took the first two games and led 8-6 in the third. But plucky Low Wee Wern - the world No.7 from Penang who had clinched Malaysia's historic place in the final the day before by winning the decider - reeled off five points in a row to reduce world No.5 Waters' lead.


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

But, from 2-3 down, the England number two (pictured above with Wee Wern) picked up seven successive points before Wee Wern again took serve - then grabbed the next two points to close out the match 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4 after 69 minutes and give the title to England.

The triumph marks England's seventh title since 1985 - but the first since winning it in Edmonton, Canada, in 2006.

"It was a great final," Waters told event MC Vanessa Atkinson. "We actually won here last time in Canada, so it's a good omen for us."

Waters had made an impressive comeback after the loss to a lower-ranked Hong Kong opponent on Friday which forced a surprise decider in the semi-final.

"Yesterday was probably the hiccup I needed. I got my game wrong and my tactics wrong. Today I just played my game," said Waters.

"Even after losing the third game, I was able to keep my composure.

"We have absolutely amazing support - we're so lucky to be here with the support we get.

"I'm just so happy for the team."


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

World individual champion Massaro echoed her team-mate's view. "This has been an amazing event from every point of view and thanks to Squash Canada for doing such a great job.

"A massive congratulations to Malaysia for what they've achieved this week - it was a great final.

"There's been an unbelievable team spirit in the England camp this week - and I honestly believe that is what has made the difference. And without the support of Sport England and the English Institute of Sport (EIS), this would not have been possible."

England team coach David Campion added: "It's been a great week for us, despite the ups and downs, and our success is down to the professionalism of the players and the spirit in the camp. It was a superb final.

"We always felt that Sarah-Jane would give a performance today and she did."

Malaysian team manager Sharon Wee was more than happy with her team's performance. "Being in the final is a fantastic achievement - this is a very special moment for us. It has made us believe we can win. I am very proud of our team.

"Wee Wern never gave up, but Alison was very calm.

"Congratulations to England for their win and to Squash Canada for hosting such a great championship. The event has shown that women's squash is fantastic!"

In the play-off for third place, Egypt beat Hong Kong China 2/0.

"After yesterday, we needed to win that to restore our players' confidence," said Egyptian coach Omar Elborolossy. "They are a very strong team and I am proud of them. They played solid squash today."

Sixth seeds USA beat France 2/0 in the play-off for fifth place to record their best ever finish in the event. "To improve on our seeding is awesome," said player/coach Natalie Grainger. "What we did today shows that we are a legitimate force now.

"It is fantastic to see these players develop from 12-year-olds into what they are achieving now. Amanda (Sobhy) has great attitude and Olivia (Blatchford) is now a genuine world class player - she's really stepped up her game.

"It makes me proud - I am so excited."

Wales, the No.10 seeds, achieved their best finish since 1987 after beating New Zealand in the play-off for 9th place.

"We wanted to at least make our seeding, if not better it, so we are really pleased with today's result," said coach David Evans. "It's superb - we had a big win against Canada yesterday and the girls then put in a big effort to win today.

"Our number one Tesni Evans is only 21 and she's still new to this - but she had some great results, beating Laura Massaro and taking Rachael Grinham to five. So many teams have strong number ones - and strength in depth - so she's made a remarkable effort. She's upped her training regime recently and now she's seeing the rewards of all this hard work.

"We haven't had funding for our world championship teams recently - but after our results in the recent European Championships, Sport Wales agreed to give us funding this time. It actually came too late to enter this year's event, but one of the teams pulled out so we were able to take their place at the last minute.

"Without the help of Sport Wales, we wouldn't be here, so I'm extra pleased that we've done it for them."

With massive support from local fans, hosts Canada beat South Africa in the play-off for 11th place.

"It's fantastic to finish on a win," exclaimed Canada coach Melanie Jans. "It's amazing - we played South Africa in the play-offs last year, and Samantha (Cornett) this time got revenge for her loss to Siyoli (Waters), so I'm so pleased for her.

"It's been a great event, the venue, being in Canada and getting the support. It's been a pretty long week, so it's good to finish on a high."

RESULTS: SHOP.CA WSF Women's World Team Championship, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada

Final: (all ties played in team order 3, 1, 2)
[2] ENGLAND bt [3] MALAYSIA 2/1
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Delia Arnold 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (44m)
Laura Massaro lost to Nicol David 8-11, 9-11, 3-11 (44m)
Alison Waters bt Low Wee Wern 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4 (69m)

3rd place play-off:
[1] EGYPT bt [4] HONG KONG CHINA 2/0
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Liu Tsz-Ling 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (23m)
Raneem El Welily bt Annie Au 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (24m)

5th place play-off:
[6] USA bt [5] FRANCE 2/0
Natalie Grainger bt Laura Pomportes 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (25m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Camille Serme 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)

7th place play-off:
[7] AUSTRALIA bt [8] IRELAND 2/0
Sarah Cardwell bt Breanne Flynn 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (21m)
Rachael Grinham bt Aisling Blake 9-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-8 (49m)

9th place play-off:
[10] WALES bt [9] NEW ZEALAND 2/1
Jennifer Haley lost to Kylie Lindsay 12-14, 11-6, 4-11, 7-11 (33m)
Tesni Evans bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (25m)
Deon Saffery bt Megan Craig 11-3, 5-11, 11-3, 11-8 (33m)

11th place play-off:
[11] CANADA bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 2/0
Nikki Todd bt Alexandra Fuller 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (40m)
Samantha Cornett bt Siyoli Waters 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (24m)

13th place play-off:
[13/16] MEXICO bt [13/16] INDIA 2/0
Karla Urrutia bt Sachika Ingale 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7 (27m)
Samantha Teran bt Joshana Chinappa 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9 (48m)

15th place play-off:
[13/16] GERMANY bt [13/16] COLOMBIA 2/0
Nicole Fries bt Karol Gonzalez 12-10, 12-10, 11-4 (27m)
Franziska Hennes bt Catalina Pelaez 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11 (52m)

17th - 20th place play-offs:
[17/20] CHINA bt [17/20] AUSTRIA 2/1
Duan Siyu lost to Lisa Kaserer 8-11, 6-11, 11-13 (23m)
Li Dongjin bt Birgit Coufal 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 2-11, 11-8 (38m)
Gu Jinyue bt Jacqueline Peychar 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8 (35m)
[17/20] SPAIN bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Margaux Pitarch Moros bt Nicole Anckermann 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (17m)
Xisela Aranda Nunez bt Winifer Bonilla 11-1, 11-5, 11-1 (18m)
Marina de Juan Gallach bt Pamela Anckermann 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (20m)

Final positions: 17 Spain, 18 China, 19 Austria, 20 Guatemala

Official event website: wsfwomensteams.com/

 

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Malaysia & England To Contest Historic World Championship Final

After two dramatic semi-finals in the SHOP.CA WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship today in Canada, second seeds England will face third seeds Malaysia in Saturday's final of the biennial World Squash Federation championship at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

In the biggest upset of the championship, Malaysia - bronze medallists in the past four events - reached the final for the first time after a sensational 2/0 upset over defending champions Egypt, the favourites who boasted a squad of four players in the world's top ten.

Former champions England claimed a new record 11th successive appearance in the final after surviving 2/1 against Hong Kong China - semi-finalists for the first time ever.

In a battle on the all-glass showcourt described by event MC Vanessa Atkinson, the former world champion, as "the match of the tournament", underdogs Malaysia took the lead when world number one Nicol David (left) beat Egypt's world No.3 Raneem El Welily 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 54 minutes.

"She's so on the ball - I had to work really hard," said the jubilant David who extended her unbeaten record in the event since 2004 to 32 matches. "I'm just so pleased to get a point for Malaysia.

"I took some time off after Macau to refresh and regroup - and I'm really enjoying the game now. Winning for Malaysia is a great feeling - I put my heart and soul into it."

David then sat back as team-mate Low Wee Wern, a fellow Penangite who is ranked seven in the world, took on Egypt's Nour El Sherbini, the world No.4 from Alexandria who boasted a 2-1 head-to-head record over the Malaysian.

After the first two games were shared, Wee Wern came out fighting in the third to reclaim the lead after dropping just two points.

But former world junior champion El Sherbini refused to buckle and took the fourth, and led 3-0, 5-3 and 7-6 in the decider. Wee Wern pulled back three points for 9-7 to lead for only the second time in the match - but El Sherbini rallied to bring the score to nine-all.


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

At the first match-ball for Wern (pictured above with El Sherbini), it was a stroke which finally signalled the historic win for Malaysia as Wern raised her arms in victory and quickly became engulfed by her ecstatic team-mates.

"It's amazing to be in the final for the first time," said an overwhelmed Wee Wern after her 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-9 triumph in 86 minutes. "The Egyptian girls really gave it their all.

"I am just so pleased for Nicol. For all these years, she has won for us - and the rest of the team have let her down. Now we have finally done it for her.

"Nicol is not just a role model for me, but a good friend too - and this is the first time I've given her the support she deserves.

"This win is huge - our biggest team success ever - it's massive.

"But it's not over yet," added the 24-year-old as her mind turned to the final.

Egyptian team coach Omar Elborolossy was not too despondent: "I'm so proud of my girls - they gave their best efforts. Nicol played one of the best matches I have ever seen and Wee Wern definitely played her best match ever.

"The four girls played very good squash - I can't complain."

England suffered a scare in the first of the semi-finals when Alison Waters, the world No5 from London, went down to Joey Chan in her first defeat in eight meetings to the Hong Kong 23-year-old ranked 18 places lower.

A commanding performance by Laura Massaro saw England take the lead when the world number two beat Annie Au, ranked nine in the world, 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 in 35 minutes - saving four game-balls in the second to go through unscathed.

"I didn't get off to a good start this week - I think I was just lacking match practice - but I worked really hard with the coaches," said Massaro after her win. "You regroup and do what's needed to get back into the best possible shape to help the rest of the team.

"The middle section of the second game today was definitely a turning point - you can't go from 7-3 up to 7-10 down without refocussing and I was glad to take it. I was determined to stick to my game-plan for the third game."

Underdog Chan took the opening game against Waters, but the Londoner fought back to draw level. Left-hander Chan played the game of her life, however, to reclaim the advantage and close out the match 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3 to force an unexpected decider.

"Every time I play Alison, I know it will be a fast game and the rallies will go on and on," said Chan after her shock win. "I had to keep her behind me. She can so easily dominate the 'T', my game plan was to try and move her around. Luckily I didn't make many mistakes today - I have made too many errors against her in the past.

"It's probably my best ever win - and it was good to do it for my team."

Event newcomer Sarah-Jane Perry, England's world No.17, took to the court against Hong Kong's Tong Tsz-Wing, ranked 31 places lower, for the decider. After an incredible first game in which Perry squandered a 10-3 lead to lose 12-10, the 24-year-old from Kenilworth clinched a 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 victory.

"Firstly, we'll need to improve tomorrow," said England coach David Campion as he began his assessment of the tie. "Laura was immaculate - she really showed she's a world-class athlete and got us off to a great start.

"The next match didn't quite go according to plan," admitted Campion.

"It was not only Sarah-Jane's first time in the England team in this event, but her first decider - and that was no easy task. She didn't play her best squash, but under the circumstances it was a good job done. That match will serve her well in her future career.

"We're happy to be in the final for the 11th time in a row - but we will need to improve on our performance if we're to be successful tomorrow."


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

Perry (pictured above with Tong) added: "I played really well to get up to 10-3 - but I let the pace drop and all of a sudden she was in front. The next time I went 10 up or something, I just made sure I finished it off!

"I haven't ever played a decider for England in any event so there was massive pressure. And the fact that it was a semi which we needed to win to get into a record 11th final added to the pressure. But we've got a good team behind us.

"Even though Tong is ranked lower than me, I thought she played really well - and when that final ball died, I felt really happy."

France and USA will battle for fifth place after victories over Australia and Ireland, respectively. Comprehensive wins by top two Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford ensured at least a best finish for sixth seeds USA since 1983, if not a best outcome of all-time.

"Our junior programme has been getting stronger and stronger since 2011 when our girls came second in the world juniors," said 37-year-old team player/coach Natalie Grainger. "This group has been together for a long time now - with Amanda and Olivia leading the way.

"My job is to shore things up at the bottom end - I will stay on as long as I can and the job will be complete when other girls take over!

"We're going to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time now."

Final:
[3] MALAYSIA v [2] ENGLAND

3rd place play-off:
[1] EGYPT v [4] HONG KONG CHINA

5th place play-off:
[5] FRANCE v [6] USA

7th place play-off:
[7] AUSTRALIA v [8] IRELAND

9th place play-off:
[9] NEW ZEALAND v [10] WALES

Semi-finals: (all ties played in team order 1, 2, 3)
[3] MALAYSIA bt [1] EGYPT 2/0
Nicol David bt Raneem El Welily 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9 (54m)
Low Wee Wern bt Nour El Sherbini 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-9 (86m)
[2] ENGLAND bt [4] HONG KONG CHINA 2/1
Laura Massaro bt Annie Au 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 (35m)
Alison Waters lost to Joey Chan 4-11, 11-8, 9-11, 3-11 (43m)
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Tong Tsz-Wing 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)

5th - 8th place play-offs:
[5] FRANCE bt [7] AUSTRALIA 2/0
Camille Serme bt Rachael Grinham 11-7, 11-1, 11-5 (22m)
Coline Aumard bt Lisa Camilleri 11-6, 11-8, 14-12 (33m)
[6] USA bt [8] IRELAND 3/0
Amanda Sobhy bt Madeline Perry 11-1, 11-3, 11-3 (20m)
Olivia Blatchford bt Aisling Blake 11-3, 11-9, 12-10 (31m)
Sabrina Sobhy bt Laura Mylotte 11-4, 11-7 (12m)

9th - 12th place play-offs:
[9] NEW ZEALAND bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 2/0
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Siyoli Waters 11-7, 12-14, 11-6, 11-3 (46m)
Megan Craig bt Milnay Louw 11-9, 11-4 ret. (17m)
[10] WALES bt [11] CANADA 2/1
Tesni Evans bt Samantha Cornett 7-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-4 (56m)
Deon Saffery bt Danielle Letourneau 9-11, 13-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5 (62m)
Jennifer Haley lost to Nikki Todd 6-11, 5-11 (12m)

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[13/16] MEXICO bt [13/16] GERMANY 2/1
Samantha Teran bt Franziska Hennes 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (20m)
Nayelly Hernandez lost to Annika Wiese 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11 (41m)
Karla Urrutia bt Nicole Fries 11-9, 11-3, 11-8 (21m)
[13/16] INDIA bt [13/16] COLOMBIA 2/0
Joshana Chinappa bt Catalina Pelaez 11-1, 11-5, 13-11 (20m)
Anaka Alankamony bt Laura Tovar 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)

17th - 20th place play-offs:
[17/20] SPAIN bt [17/20] AUSTRIA 3/0
Xisela Aranda Nunez bt Birgit Coufal 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (37m)
Marina de Juan Gallach bt Jacqueline Peychar 11-3, 12-10, 11-9 (26m)
Margaux Pitarch Moros bt Anja Kaserer 11-3, 11-7, 11-9 (19m)
[17/20] CHINA bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Li Dongjin bt Winifer Bonilla 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (20m)
Gu Jinyue bt Nicole Anckermann 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 (15m)
Duan Siyu bt Irene Barillas 13-11, 11-7, 11-5 (15m)

 

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Hong Kong Make Top Four In Historic World Championship Breakthrough

Hong Kong China defeated USA 2/1 in today's quarter-finals of the SHOP.CA WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship in Canada to earn themselves a place in the top four of the biennial World Squash Federation championship for the first time in history.

It was after a dramatic Pool triumph over fifth seeds France less than 24 hours earlier that Hong Kong - the fourth seeds whose previous best finish was eighth two years ago - lined up against sixth seeds USA on the all-glass showcourt at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Joey Chan opened up a healthy lead for the fourth seeds after beating New York's Olivia Blatchford 11-6, 11-2, 11-7. The next match between the teams' top strings promised to be close-fought - but, after clinching the opening game on a tie-break, it was Hong Kong's Annie Au who prevailed in the all-left-hander battle with Amanda Sobhy to win 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 and secure the country's women's world team championship breakthrough.

"We've made history - we've never finished in the top four before," said team manager Rebecca Chiu, the former world No.13. "Our seeding helped - but most of all the players have played really well, some better than we expected.

"Annie played very well today - we didn't expect her to beat Amanda 3/0. I'm so happy that we had a 2/0 win today - it will be great for Hong Kong squash.

"Yesterday's win against France was very important - if we had lost that we would have had a hard time against Malaysia today. We are still a young team and we have won some big matches this week."

A beaming Au, the world No.9, added: "I am really proud of our team - especially yesterday after I lost the first match and my team-mates pushed hard to give us the win.

"Today I tried to be more focussed and more relaxed. I was lucky to win the first game - but then I had to be more patient and try to keep the ball tight. I'd never played Amanda before but I was very happy to win 3/0."

Hong Kong will face former champions England for a place in the final. The second seeds, bidding for a record 11th successive appearance in the final, claimed the last semi-final place slot after beating Ireland, the No.8 seeds, 3/0.

Underdogs Ireland made a great start when squad number two Aisling Blake took the opening game and built up a 6-0 lead in the second. But experienced campaigner Alison Waters, the world No.5 from London who went into the match boasting an 8-1 career head-to-head lead over her opponent, soon drew level to six-all before moving on to take the game - then clinched the next two to win 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4.

World No.2 Laura Massaro, the reigning world champion, maintained the English drive to overcome career-long rival Madeline Perry 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 to steer England into the semi-finals.

"It was a good performance by the team today," said team coach David Campion. "I was very impressed with the way Alison handled things at 6-0 down in the second game - she switched the lines and varied the pace, moving Aisling into all four corners. Coming back that way will definitely boost her confidence for tomorrow.

"Laura played well too. We expected her to come back from what some people might have thought of as a setback - which it wasn't - earlier in the week. She shows she's back at her best - and getting off in three was a bonus.

"Huge congratulations to Hong Kong for reaching the semi-finals - squash is such a global sport and it's great to see new countries breaking through like this, and making history. We will work hard to make sure we are ready for them."


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

Massaro (pictured above, right, with Perry) added: "I was pretty happy with the way I played the first two games, especially after the way I played at the start of the event - losing against Tesni (Evans). And even if there are reasons and elements beforehand that can explain why I was not at the top of my form that day, you just have to put your head down and keep working hard.

"It's really nice to have such a great and solid team around you, who you know will back you up if you are having a bad day. We've been building every day and I really wanted to show the team that they could count on me. I think I managed to do that today."

Bronze medallists in the past four championships, Malaysia showed their determination to make the final for the first time by overcoming France 2/0 in the day's first quarter-final.

Low Wee Wern opened the Asian champions' account in impressive style, beating French number two Coline Aumard 11-4, 11-8, 11-9. World number one Nicol David, undefeated in the event for over ten years, extended her winning run by beating French tour rival Camille Serme 11-6, 11-9, 13-11 to take Malaysia into the semis for the fifth time in a row.


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

"Coline came back really strongly in the second," said Wee Wern, the world No.7 (pictured above, right, with Aumard). "I didn't do much wrong, but she made a few errors. I knew I needed to hang in there.

"We've finished in the top four for a few years now - and we'll probably have a tough match tomorrow against Egypt. They've got four players in the world top ten, but as it's a team event it's a whole lot different from when we meet on the tour.

"This year is probably our best ever chance to do well in the event - hopefully we will make the most of it!"


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

Firm favourites Egypt brushed aside former champions Australia 3/0 - Nour El Sherbini defeating Lisa Camilleri 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 in just 19 minutes before the team's world No.3 Raneem El Welily survived two tie-break games against Rachael Grinham (both pictured above) before beating the Aussie veteran 12-10, 13-11, 4-11, 11-3.

"We were solid - the team hasn't dropped a single match so far," said team coach Omar Elborolossy.

When asked if the expectations of a team featuring four players ranked within the world top ten provided extra pressures, the former world No.14 said: "I have told my players to forget about expectations. My expectations are in the efforts, not the results. Their best efforts will be enough to win matches. They owe it to their country to make the effort - you can forget about the rankings.

"Tomorrow's tie against Malaysia will be tough - but if you want to win the title you have to be able to beat every team."

Semi-final line-up:
[1] EGYPT v [3] MALAYSIA
[2] ENGLAND v [4] HONG KONG CHINA

5th - 8th place play-offs:
[7] AUSTRALIA v [5] FRANCE
[8] IRELAND v [6] USA

9th - 12th place play-offs:
[9] NEW ZEALAND v [12] SOUTH AFRICA
[10] WALES v [11] CANADA

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[13/16] GERMANY v [13/16] MEXICO
[13/16] COLOMBIA v [13/16] INDIA

Quarter-finals:
[1] EGYPT bt [7] AUSTRALIA 3/0
Nour El Sherbini bt Lisa Camilleri 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 (19m)
Raneem El Welily bt Rachael Grinham 12-10, 13-11, 4-11, 11-3 (29m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Sarah Cardwell 11-4, 11-6 (10m)
[3] MALAYSIA bt [5] FRANCE 2/0
Low Wee Wern bt Coline Aumard 11-4, 11-8, 11-9 (41m)
Nicol David bt Camille Serme 11-6, 11-9, 13-11 (45m)
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [6] USA 2/1
Joey Chan bt Olivia Blatchford 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 (29m)
Annie Au bt Amanda Sobhy 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 (30m)
Tong Tsz-Wing lost to Natalie Grainger 8-11, 5-11 (19m)
[2] ENGLAND bt [8] IRELAND 3/0
Alison Waters bt Aisling Blake 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (43m)
Laura Massaro bt Madeline Perry 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 (29m)
Emma Beddoes bt Breanne Flynn 11-5, 11-5 (14m)

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[9] NEW ZEALAND bt [13/16] GERMANY 3/0
Megan Craig bt Annika Wiese 14-12, 11-6, 11-3
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Franziska Hennes 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (22m)
Kylie Lindsay bt Nicole Fries 11-7, 11-5
[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [13/16] MEXICO 2/0
Milnay Louw bt Diana Garcia 10-12, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7 (44m)
Siyoli Waters bt Samantha Teran 11-2, 2-11, 11-4, 11-7 (31m)
[11] CANADA bt [13/16] INDIA 2/1
Danielle Letourneau lost to Anaka Alankamony 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 8-11 (41m)
Samantha Cornett bt Joshana Chinappa 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6 (53m)
Nikki Todd bt Sachika Ingale 11-9, 11-3, 11-5 (20m)
[10] WALES bt [13/16] COLOMBIA 2/1
Deon Saffery bt Laura Tovar 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (23m)
Tesni Evans bt Catalina Pelaez 13-11, 11-3, 11-7 (27m)
Elin Harlow lost to Ana Gabriela Porras 8-11, 5-11 (12m)

17th - 20th place play-offs:
[17/20] AUSTRIA bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Jacqueline Peychar bt Pamela Anckermann 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6 (39m)
Birgit Coufal bt Winifer Bonilla 11-5, 11-9, 12-10 (21m)
Anja Kaserer bt Nicole Anckermann 17-15, 11-7, 11-5 (23m)
[17/20] SPAIN bt [17/20] CHINA 2/1
Cristina Gomez lost to Gu Jinyue 11-5, 6-11, 5-11, 2-11 (33m)
Xisela Aranda Nunez bt Li Dongjin 6-11, 12-14, 14-12, 11-6, 11-9 (62m)
Margaux Moros-Pitarch bt Duan Siyu 11-3, 11-2, 11-9 (17m)

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Hong Kong Pip France For Pool Prize
In Niagara

In a dramatic climax to the third and final qualifying day of the SHOP.CA WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship in Canada, fourth seeds Hong Kong China pipped France, the fifth seeds, 2/1 to secure top position in Pool D of the biennial World Squash Federation championship at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Hong Kong join the top three seeds Egypt, England and Malaysia as pool winners - who will now join France, USA, Australia and Ireland, seeded five to eight, respectively, in the quarter-final play-offs.

France, seeded to secure their highest ever finish in the championship, made a positive start against Hong Kong when top string Camille Serme, the world No.6, beat Annie Au - ranked just three places below - 11-3, 12-10 11-8. Order was quickly restored when Hong Kong number two Joey Chan despatched Coline Aumard 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 to level the tie.

The decider - the first ever meeting between Hong Kong's world No.46 Liu Tsz-Ling and France's world No.54 Laura Pomportes - was high in drama, with both players playing as if their lives depended on it.

Pomportes recovered from a game down to build up a 2/1 lead - and soon found herself two points away from a sensational victory at 9-6 in the fourth game.


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

But Liu (pictured above, in pink, with Pomportes) persevered, winning five points in a row to draw level. The deciding game reached eight-all before the 23-year-old from Hong Kong found extra reserves to close out the match 11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8 after 63 minutes.

"The last match was very close," said Hong Kong team manager Rebecca Chiu, the former world No.13. "I think the only difference between the two players was in the fourth and fifth games when Ling made fewer errors.

"All three matches were close - Camille played really well in the first and Joey fought back well in the second to bring us level. Ling is a young player, who made her first world teams appearance for us two years ago - but she's much more focussed now.

"The win is good for us as we avoid our Asian rivals Malaysia in the next round - but USA will not be easy!"

The jubilant Liu admitted later: "That was definitely one of the biggest matches I've ever played.

"When we got to the fifth game, it was very scary!

"I've played a few times for Hong Kong now - but it's the first time I've ever had to play a decider."

The highlight of the morning session was the battle on the all-glass showcourt between Ireland and New Zealand - the 8th and 9th seeds, respectively - for a place in the top two of Pool A, and a slot in the quarter-final knockout stage.

Madeline Perry, the 14 times Irish champion making her seventh successive appearance in the championship, twice had to come from behind to see off lower-ranked Kiwi Amanda Landers-Murphy 5-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-2, 11-8 to put eighth seeds ahead.

Rapidly-improving Megan Craig, the 21-year-old world No.45, seemed set to level the tie for New Zealand when she took the opening game against experienced Irish number two Aisling Blake.

But the 33-year-old world No.37 dug deep to fend off the youthful attack to win 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-8 after 48 minutes to ensure a top eight finish for Ireland for the sixth time in a row since 2004.


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

"She's one of the up-and-coming players - and all these young players are only going to get better," said Blake (pictured above, foreground, with Craig) of her opponent later. "I've never played her before - she's lethal in the middle of the court and retrieves very well.

"It was tough - it always is when you play for your country.

"That was always going to be our toughest event - and it was a match we needed to win. Madeline pulled us through in the first match - but Amanda really stepped up her game and that gave us a bit of a scare.

"It is a good feeling to be through to the quarters - I'm really excited. It was also so cool to be playing on the glass court - that's what all the training is all about."

England secured their anticipated place at the top of Pool B after defeating long-time rivals Australia 3/0. Squad number two Alison Waters, the world No.5 from London, led the way with a 3/1 win over experienced Australian campaigner Rachael Grinham, the 37-year-old former world number one who made her debut in the championship in 2002.

It was left to England's championship debutante Sarah-Jane Perry to clinch pole position in the pool when the world No.17 despatched Sarah Cardwell 11-6, 11-4,
11-1.

After England surprisingly dropped a match in the opening tie when team number one Laura Massaro lost rising Welsh star Tesni Evans, event first-timer Emma Beddoes went on to give England their third successive 3/0 win when she beat Australian debutante Christine Nunn 11-1, 11-5, 11-3.

"Our first priority was to top the group and we've done that now," said team coach David Campion later. "When Laura lost on the first day, it was almost what she needed as it's given her a real focus now. Laura needs an edge and she's got that now. It actually worked quite well.

"It may be Sarah-Jane and Emma's first time in the world championship, but they've both played for England before and have got extensive experience on the world tour so we're very confident with them."

Perry was delighted with her third 3/0 win in Niagara. "Although Emma and I haven't played in this event before, Ali and Laura have - they're very experienced - and that gives us confidence. I've played the world junior team championships before so that's been useful experience.

"I just don't want to let the team down - I need to find that extra gear, especially as some players play out of their skins when they're representing their country.

"I can be quite harsh on myself when I'm playing on the tour, but when you play for your team you get great support and you get confidence from that."

Seeded to finish in bronze medal position for the fifth time in a row, Malaysia established themselves firmly at the top of Pool C after a 3/0 win over sixth seeds USA - their fourth 3/0 win in a row.

After world number one Nicol David put the third seeds ahead, beating Olivia Blatchford 11-4, 11-5, 11-4, team-mate Low Wee Wern, the world No.7, sealed victory after a 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 win over seasoned campaigner Natalie Grainger, USA's 37-year-old player/coach.

"Our team has played well to get to the knockout stage - we're very pleased to have won all our ties 3/0," said David, the 31-year-old from Penang who made her world team championship debut in 2002 as a 19-year-old. "Whatever happens next, we'll be ready to go.

"It would mean a lot to win this title - a team event is always very different. I'm never as nervous as I am for a team event - not when I'm playing, but when I'm supporting my team-mates. I have three strong team-mates who train hard and work hard.

"It would be huge back in Malaysia if we won the title. Winning the Thomas Cup in badminton was massive at home - the whole country came to a halt 12 years ago when it happened.

"We've never won any other world team title in sport - so winning this would be really special."

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

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[9] NEW ZEALAND v [13/16] GERMANY
[12] SOUTH AFRICA v [13/16] MEXICO
[11] CANADA v [13/16] INDIA
[10] WALES v [13/16] COLOMBIA

3rd & final qualifying rounds (all ties played in team order 1, 2, 3):

Pool A:
[8] IRELAND bt [9] NEW ZEALAND 2/1
Madeline Perry bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 5-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-2, 11-8 (41m)
Aisling Blake bt Megan Craig 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-8 (48m)
Laura Mylotte lost to Kylie Lindsay 6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11 (32m)
[13/16] COLOMBIA bt [17/20] CHINA 3/0
Catalina Pelaez bt Li Dongjin 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (37m)
Laura Tovar bt Gu Jinyue 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 13-11 (35m)
Ana Gabriela Porras bt Duan Siyu 11-3, 11-2, 11-3 (14m)
[1] EGYPT bt [8] IRELAND 3/0
Raneem El Welily bt Aisling Blake 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 (31m)
Nour El Sherbini bt Laura Mylotte 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (25m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Breanne Flynn 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)
[9] NEW ZEALAND bt [13/16] COLOMBIA 3/0
Megan Craig bt Catalina Pelaez 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10 (34m)
Kylie Lindsay bt Laura Tovar 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8 (45m)
Rebecca Barnett bt Ana Gabriela Porras 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (31m)

Final positions: 1 Egypt, 2 Ireland, 3 New Zealand, 4 Colombia, 5 China

Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND bt [7] AUSTRALIA 3/0
Alison Waters bt Rachael Grinham 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (35m)
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Sarah Cardwell 11-6, 11-4, 11-1 (26m)
Emma Beddoes bt Christine Nunn 11-1, 11-5, 11-3 (23m)
[10] WALES bt [13/16] GERMANY 2/1
Tesni Evans bt Sina Wall 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (22m)
Deon Saffery bt Franziska Hennes 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6 (40m)
Jennifer Haley lost to Annika Wiese 4-11, 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 8-11 (33m)

Final positions: 1 England, 2 Australia, 3 Wales, 4 Germany, 5 Spain

Pool C:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [6] USA 3/0
Nicol David bt Olivia Blatchford 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (31m)
Low Wee Wern bt Natalie Grainger 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (33m)
Delia Arnold bt Sabrina Sobhy 11-4, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6 (31m)
[11] CANADA bt [13/16] MEXICO 3/0
Samantha Cornett bt Samantha Teran 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 3-11, 12-10 (70m)
Danielle Letourneau bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-5, 11-4, 11-2 (21m)
Nikki Todd bt Karla Urrutia 6-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (45m)

Final positions: 1 Malaysia, 2 USA, 3 Canada, 4 Mexico, 5 Guatemala

Pool D:
[5] FRANCE bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 3/0
Camille Serme bt Siyoli Waters 11-4, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8 (42m)
Coline Aumard bt Milnay Louw 11-3, 11-9, 12-10 (33m)
Laura Pomportes bt Alexandra Fuller 11-3, 11-8, 11-4 (24m)
[13/16] INDIA bt [17/20] AUSTRIA 3/0
Joshana Chinappa bt Birgit Coufal 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (31m)
Anaka Alankamony bt Jacqueline Peychar 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (20m)
Harshit Kaur Jawanda bt Anja Kaserer 11-5, 11-2, 11-5 (18m)
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [5] FRANCE 2/1
Annie Au lost to Camille Serme 3-11, 10-12, 8-11 (32m)
Joey Chan bt Coline Aumard 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (35m)
Liu Tsz-Ling bt Laura Pomportes 11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8 (63m)
[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [13/16] INDIA 2/1
Siyoli Waters lost to Joshana Chinappa 4-11, 4-11, 7-11 (24m)
Milnay Louw bt Anaka Alankamony 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (22m)
Cheyna Tucker bt Sachika Ingale 11-5, 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 11-6 (38m)

Final positions: 1 Hong Kong China, 2 France, 3 South Africa, 4 India, 5 Austria
 

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USA Hold Off World Team Championship Hosts In Niagara

A packed crowd surrounding the all-glass showcourt at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, saw USA triumph 3/0 against North American rivals and hosts Canada in tonight's crucial qualifying tie in the SHOP.CA WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship.

At stake was an almost certain place in the quarter-finals of the 19th staging of the biennial World Squash Federation championship which has attracted teams from 20 nations.

Sixth seeds USA drew first blood when squad number two Olivia Blatchford, the world No.40 from New York, beat event debutante and fellow 21-year-old Danielle Letourneau, ranked more than 160 places lower, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5.

Samantha Cornett, ranked 31 in the world and the 11th seeds' top string, threatened to level the Pool C tie when she took the second game against powerful US number one Amanda Sobhy (left). But the world No.11 from New York held off the challenge of the 23-year-old from Ottawa to win 11-4, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9 in 39 minutes.

The third match pitched youth against experience as 24-year-old Canadian Nikki Todd battled for consolation for the partisan crowd against 37-year-old US player/coach Natalie Grainger. Championship first-timer Todd forced the match into a fourth game, but former world number one Grainger was ultimately too strong, winning 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7 in 34 minutes.

"It was a huge match tonight," admitted US team manager Paul Assaiante. "It was particularly tough as we had played Mexico in the morning, while the Canadians had had a rest day - and it was our first time on the glass court. Adjusting to the conditions was tough - and they played up to it by hitting the ball high into the lights!

"Olivia played really well in the first match. Amanda had to grit Sam down - she outran her in the end. And, in this setting, Natalie has been there before - and that made a big difference.

"To beat Canada here on the glass court was really special - I'm really happy for the girls. It's great for US Squash."

Another significant encounter took place on an adjacent court where former champions Australia, the No.7 seeds, took on 10th seeds Wales for a high placing in Pool B. Lisa Camilleri (right) put Australia into the lead with a four-game win over Deon Saffery - then a decider looked in prospect when young Welsh number one Tesni Evans opened up a two-game lead over experienced Rachael Grinham, the 37-year-old former world number one and world champion.

Evans, the 22-year-old world No.28 from Rhyl had pulled off the upset of the championship so far only 24 hours previously when she beat England's world No.2 Laura Massaro. But wily Queenslander Grinham held her nerve to claw back the deficit before finally clinching the 10-12, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 victory in exactly one hour which gave Australia the win.

"I haven't played Tesni that much - but she's a good player and once she gets racket on ball she can do anything with it," said Grinham afterwards.

"I felt comfortable after the first two games and knew what to expect. I was 2/0 down, but the games were close. I actually felt nervous when I was playing Sina (Wall) in the morning match, but I felt OK this evening. It was a good game - I think we both played well."

Australian team coach Michelle Martin added: "We knew it would be tough. I thought Lisa would be the underdog in the first match - so that was a big win for us. To get that first rubber was really important. Lisa played well and kept control of the match.

"We knew Rachael and Tesni would be close and unpredictable. As I said to Rachael after the second game - 'you've got three to go'! It was very close but her experience was key to her eventual success."

Earlier in the day, France claimed their second 3/0 win in two days by seeing off India in Pool D. Seeded five, France are expected to record their best ever finish in 15 appearances in the event since 1987.

"Today was a good day for us - India are strong, even without their number one Dipika," explained the French team coach Philippe Signoret. "Joshana can beat the best in the world. Anaka doesn't play much on the WSA Tour, but we knew she was strong.

"The key for us was the first match - and Coline has improved a lot. She was very focussed. It was a very good match between Camille and Joshana - 3/0 was a good win for us.

"Being seeded five shows that we are treated with some respect - but finishing fifth is not what we're aiming for. We are a strong team - and it's good that we have the depth that means that we can rest our number one Camille some times. But we will be even stronger in two years."

2nd qualifying rounds (all ties played in team order 2, 1, 3):

Pool A:
[1] EGYPT bt [13/16] COLOMBIA 3/0
Nour El Tayeb bt Laura Tovar 11-4, 11-2, 11-6 (10m)
Raneem El Welily bt Catalina Pelaez 13-11, 11-7, 11-7 (20m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Ana Gabriela Porras 11-1, 11-2, 11-8 (17m)
[9] NEW ZEALAND bt [17/20] CHINA 3/0
Megan Craig bt Gu Jinyue 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (15m)
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Li Dongjin 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (27m)
Rebecca Barnett bt Duan Siyu 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (19m)
[8] IRELAND bt [13/16] COLOMBIA 2/1
Aisling Blake bt Laura Tovar 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2 (36m)
Madeline Perry bt Catalina Pelaez 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (23m)
Laura Mylotte lost to Ana Gabriela Porras 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 7-11 (30m)
[1] EGYPT bt [17/20] CHINA 3/0
Nour El Tayeb bt Gu Jinyue 11-2, 11-1, 11-5 (15m)
Nour El Sherbini bt Li Dongjin 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (18m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Duan Siyu 11-2, 11-1, 11-6 (13m)

Pool B:
[7] AUSTRALIA bt [13/16] GERMANY 3/0
Lisa Camilleri bt Franziska Hennes 11-3, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 (33m)
Rachael Grinham bt Sina Wall 11-7, 11-0, 11-7 (20m)
Sarah Cardwell bt Annika Wiese 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (24m)
[2] ENGLAND bt [17/20] SPAIN 3/0
Alison Waters bt Cristina Gomez 11-1, 11-2, 11-3 (16m)
Laura Massaro bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (27m)
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Margaux Moros-Pitarch 11-3, 13-11, 11-1 (19m)
[7] AUSTRALIA bt [10] WALES 3/0
Lisa Camilleri bt Deon Saffery 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11 (39m)
Rachael Grinham bt Tesni Evans 10-12, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 (60m)
Christine Nunn bt Jennifer Haley 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (32m)
[13/16] GERMANY bt [17/20] SPAIN 3/0
Franziska Hennes bt Cristina Gomez 4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (35m)
Sina Wall bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-4, 11-3, 11-8 (17m)
Nicole Fries bt Marina de Juan Gallach 11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5 (26m)

Pool C:
[6] USA bt [13/16] MEXICO 3/0
Olivia Blatchford bt Diana Garcia 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Samantha Teran 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 (25m)
Sabrina Sobhy bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-3, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 (26m)
[3] MALAYSIA bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Delia Arnold bt Pamela Anckermann 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (18m)
Low Wee Wern bt Winifer Bonilla 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)
Zulhijjah Binti Azan bt Nicole Anckermann 11-4, 11-2, 11-4
[6] USA bt [11] CANADA 3/0
Olivia Blatchford bt Danielle Letourneau 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (23m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Samantha Cornett 11-4, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9 (39m)
Natalie Grainger bt Nikki Todd 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7 (34m)
[13/16] MEXICO bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Diana Garcia bt Pamela Anckermann 11-3, 11-1, 9-11, 11-2 (25m)
Samantha Teran bt Winifer Bonilla 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (20m)
Karla Urrutia bt Irene Barillas 11-5, 11-1, 11-8 (15m)

Pool D:
[5] FRANCE bt [13/16] INDIA 3/0
Coline Aumard bt Anaka Alankamony 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (27m)
Camille Serme bt Joshana Chinappa 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 (28m)
Cyrielle Peltier bt Sachika Ingale 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (27m)
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [17/20] AUSTRIA 3/0
Tong Tsz-Wing bt Jacqueline Peychar 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (29m)
Annie Au bt Birgit Coufal 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (19m)
Liu Tsz-Ling bt Lisa Kaserer 11-3, 11-2, 11-6 (16m)
 

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Wales Dent England's World Championship Bid At White Oaks

Wales denied former champions England maximum points on day one in the SHOP.CA WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship when Tesni Evans sensationally beat world No.2 Laura Massaro in four games in the opening tie in Pool B of the biennial World Squash Federation championship in Canada.

20 nations are represented in the 19th staging of the women's world team championship at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Six-time champions England are seeded to reach the final for the 11th time in a row since 1994 - and duly took the lead against the 10th seeds when world No.5 Alison Waters beat Welsh number two Deon Saffery 11-8, 11-9, 11-8.

Evans, who last met Massaro in the 2012 championship in France - where she went down in straight games - ignored the script in the second match between the two top strings when she took the first game.

Massaro, the reigning world individual champion, regrouped to draw level - and led in the third. But the plucky Evans, the 22-year-old world No.28 from Rhyl, reclaimed the initiative to take the third game and maintained the upper hand in the fourth to close out the match 11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6 after 40 minutes.

"That's definitely my biggest win," said the delighted Welsh underdog later. "I was totally relaxed - there was no pressure on me at all. It's amazing when you think what she's achieved.

"After I won the first game, I thought I'd get chopped. It was only at 9-5 in the fourth that I thought 'I could win this'! It's definitely given me loads of confidence.

"It's nice to do it for Wales - I'm quite a team player. We've got the hardest one out of the way now."


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

National coach David Evans was full of praise for his number one: "Tesni (pictured above, second left, with team-mates (L to R) Deon Saffery, Elin Harlow & Jennifer Haley) played really well, and was successful in trying to break Laura's rhythm.

"That was really good for her confidence and shows that she's on the right path. Laura never makes things easy for her opponents.

"In the past, the Welsh men have been the stronger side, but now our girls are leading the way," added the former world No.3. "Our main goal now is to win the other three matches in our pool."

England went on to win the tie 2/1 after Emma Beddoes beat Elin Harlow 11-5, 11-3, 11-3. Later in the day, England maintained their winning ways by despatching Germany 3/0, while Wales recorded their first win by beating Spain 3/0.

Hosts Canada also had a tough opener in Pool C, against third seeds Malaysia. In the first battle on the venue's spectacular all-glass showcourt, world No.7 Low Wee Wern put the Malaysians ahead by beating Canada's championship debutante Danielle Letourneau 11-6, 11-2, 11-5.

Seasoned Canadian Samantha Cornett dug deep in her battle against Malaysia's world number one Nicol David - unbeaten in the event for ten years - and forced a fourth game after taking the third.

David stopped the rot and clinched an 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3 victory in 50 minutes before team-mate Delia Arnold overcame Canada's second event first-timer Nikki Todd 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 to record the predicted 3/0 win.

Later in the day, Canada notched up their first win by beating event newcomers Guatemala 3/0.


picture courtesy of Paige Stewart

Cornett, the world No.31 from Ottawa (pictured above, right, in action with David) who is making her third successive appearance in the championship, was overjoyed to be competing on home soil.

"It's the biggest event I've ever played in in Canada," said the 23-year-old. "When I first saw the glass court here I thought it was just so cool. It's really exciting to be playing in front of friends and family.

"It was great to play the number one in the world in my opening match - and even better to take a game. The next two days are going to be really big."

Team coach Melanie Jans, the former world No25 and one of Canada's greatest female players, was pleased with her team's performances. "It's so special to be involved in this event here in Canada - particularly playing here at this great venue which is without doubt the best facility anywhere in the world for a championship like this. Not only can we walk from the rooms to the courts - but we can also walk across the road to this amazing shopping mall.

"I'm really excited by our young squad, in which Sam is a 'veteran' at 23! And even two years down the line, we'll still have a really young team.

"Sam is playing really well - she really worked Nicol well today. I think she's looking like a top ten player - and has a good chance of beating Amanda (Sobhy) in our big match against rivals USA tomorrow."

Favourites and defending champions Egypt - all of whose players are in the world's top 10 - maintained a clean sheet on day one by beating 9th seeds New Zealand 3/0.

 

1st qualifying rounds - Pool A:
[1] EGYPT bt [9] NEW ZEALAND 3/0
Nour El Sherbini bt Megan Craig 11-6, 11-1, 11-6 (17m)
Raneem El Welily bt Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-4, 11-4, 11-2
Nour El Tayeb bt Kylie Lindsay 11-7, 11-6, 11-8
[8] IRELAND bt [17/20] CHINA 3/0
Aisling Blake bt Gu Jinyue 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (23m)
Madeline Perry bt Li Dongjin 11-1, 11-2, 11-2 (20m)
Laura Mylotte bt Duan Siyu 11-8, 11-2, 11-1 (18m)

Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND bt [10] WALES 2/1
Alison Waters bt Deon Saffery 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (31m)
Laura Massaro lost to Tesni Evans 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 6-11 (40m)
Emma Beddoes bt Elin Harlow 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 (19m)
[7] AUSTRALIA bt [17/20] SPAIN 3/0
Lisa Camilleri bt Cristina Gomez 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (20m)
Rachael Grinham bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (34m)
Christine Nunn bt Marina de Juan Gallach 11-7, 9-11, 11-2, 11-7 (33m)
[2] ENGLAND bt [13/16] GERMANY 3/0
Alison Waters bt Franziska Hennes 11-4, 11-2, 11-2 (18m)
Laura Massaro bt Sina Wall 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (21m)
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Annika Wiese 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (17m)
[10] WALES bt [17/20] SPAIN 3/0
Deon Saffery bt Cristina Gomez 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (20m)
Tesni Evans bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)
Jennifer Haley bt Marina de Juan Gallach 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9 (49m)

Pool C:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [11] CANADA 3/0
Low Wee Wern bt Danielle Letourneau 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (25m)
Nicol David bt Samantha Cornett 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3 (50m)
Delia Arnold bt Nikki Todd 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (28m)
[6] USA bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Olivia Blatchford bt Pamela Anckermann 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (15m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Winifer Bonilla 11-3, 11-1, 11-2 (14m)
Natalie Grainger bt Nicole Anckermann 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 (14m)
[3] MALAYSIA bt [13/16] MEXICO 3/0
Low Wee Wern bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (25m)
Nicol David bt Diana Garcia 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (19m)
Delia Arnold bt Karla Urrutia 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (20m)
[11] CANADA bt [17/20] GUATEMALA 3/0
Nikki Todd bt Pamela Anckermann 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (19m)
Danielle Letourneau bt Winifer Bonilla 6-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8 (25m)
Hollie Naughton bt Nicole Anckermann 11-6, 11-3, 11-1 (15m)

Pool D:
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 3/0
Joey Chan bt Milnay Louw 11-6, 11-8, 11-1 (21m)
Annie Au bt Siyoli Waters 11-2, 13-11, 11-7 (30m)
Tong Tsz-Wing bt Cheyna Tucker 14-12, 11-3, 11-7
[5] FRANCE bt [17/20] AUSTRIA 3/0
Laura Pomportes bt Jacqueline Peychar 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (17m)
Coline Aumard bt Birgit Coufal 11-4, 11-8, 11-5
Cyrielle Peltier bt Anja Kaserer 11-1, 11-6, 11-6 (20m)
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [13/16] INDIA 3/0
Joey Chan bt Anaka Alankamony 4-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-9 (36m)
Annie Au bt Joshana Chinappa 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 (24m)
Liu Tsz-Ling bt Harshit Kaur Jawanda 11-2, 12-10, 11-5 (28m)
[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [17/20] AUSTRIA 3/0
Cheyna Tucker bt Jacqueline Peychar 11-7, 11-9, 11-3 (22m)
Siyoli Waters bt Birgit Coufal 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (18m)
Alexandra Fuller bt Anja Kaserer 11-8, 11-1, 11-7 (18m)

 
Previews

USA 'A To Be Reckoned With'
Egypt World Team Top Seeds
Women's World Team Draw
Top Stars For World Team Champs
 

 


 

 

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