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18/11/2012
WOMEN'S WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012
 

Egypt Snatch Women's World Team Title In Nimes

Official event website: World Women Squash

All the last 16 round action will take place on the three all-glass show courts at
La Parnasse Arena

For the first time in a world championship, simultaneous live streaming from all three courts will be available on
 
www.youtube.com/worldsquashtv
 

RESULTS
Final
Semi Finals
Quarter Final (First Session)    Quarter Final (Second Session)
Qualifying Day 1    Qualifying Day 2    Final Qualifying  Final Qualifying Session
 

 

Egypt Snatch Women's World Team Title In Nimes

In tonight's dramatic final of the WSF Women's World Team Championship in Nimes which went to the wire, second seeds Egypt recovered from a match down to upset favourites England to win the World Squash Federation event being held in France for the first time.

Boasting a record entry of 26 nations, the 2012 championship has been staged at both the eight-court Club des Costières and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action has taken place simultaneously on three all-glass show courts.

England got off to a good start when Alison Waters beat Nour El Sherbini in the first ever meeting between the two world top ten players. Londoner Waters, ranked four in the world, took the first game - but the Egyptian underdog, ranked four places lower, fought back to open a 2/1 lead.

Waters, 28, used her experience to recover the deficit, eventually overcoming her 17-year-old opponent 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5 to put England ahead.

The top string duel which followed again saw England take the early lead when world No3 Laura Massaro won the opening game against Raneem El Weleily, the world No2. Hoping to extend her 9/5 head to head record over the Egyptian, Massaro then dropped the next two games - and failed to convert a game-ball in the fourth as El Weleily powered through to win 3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 12-10 to level the tie.

The pattern of the first two matches was repeated in the decider when Jenny Duncalf again put England ahead by winning the first game against long-time rival Omneya Abdel Kawy (left) . But the 22-year-old from Cairo - who has played in every championship since 1998 - moved ahead by taking the next two games.

Determined to reduce the deficit of her career-long head-to head record of 2/12 down to the Egyptian, Duncalf fought hard to draw level - and in the decider won five points in a row to move 7-4 up.

But Abdel Kawy confirmed that she is well and truly back to her best after a long period of poor results when she won back the service at 6-8 down, then took the next five points to clinch a remarkable 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 victory - and the title for Egypt for the second time since 2008.

"I'm really, really happy - I love my team," said El Weleily after joining her team-mates on court to celebrate Abdel Kawy's triumph. "It's very, very, very big!"

Team coach Amir Wagih was also overjoyed: "It's so good for Egypt and so good for squash - it was a super final with three matches of unbelievable squash.

"Omneya is back on form - she gave a really classy performance.

"My players have now won all the world titles except one - and that is the women's World Open title. So I am hoping that I can complete the set at the end of the year in the Cayman Islands."

England national coach Chris Robertson agreed that the final was a fitting climax to the event. "It was a great final - in a great atmosphere. I am very proud of my girls and their performances - they gave it everything. But, credit to the Egyptians, they came up with the right shots at the right time.

"We always thought it would be close - and hopefully we will learn a little from it."

In the match on the centre court immediately preceding the final, France faced eighth seeds Netherlands in the play-off for ninth place - a repeat of the pool tie earlier in the week which the ninth-seeded hosts won to provide the event's first upset.

Second string Coline Aumard gave the large and vocal crowd what they wanted by beating Milou van der Heijden 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 - making way for the team number one Camille Serme, the world No14 from Paris, to take on Natalie Grinham, the world No11 and former Australian who is making her first appearance in the championship for the Netherlands.

Grinham was after revenge after dropping her only match this week to Serme - and took the opening game. But spurred on by the crowd, Serme fought back to clinch a 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 victory - helping France to end the tournament on a high.

"It was a fantastic way to finish - it's a very good feeling," said French coach Philippe Signoret. "I wish we could play another match with this great crowd - but for a higher position than ninth place!

"Coline played well to put us in front, then Camille and Natalie contested a very high quality match. Camille kept to the strategy that we planned - keeping Natalie away from the front of the court - and it gave us the result we wanted."

Third seeds Malaysia beat Australia in the play-off for third place to win the bronze medal for the fourth time in a row. After going down to Alison Waters in the semi-final decider against England last night, world No7 Low Wee Wern played a crucial role by beating Aussie number two Donna Urquhart to put Malaysia ahead.

In their 39th meeting since 2000, Australia's former world No1 Rachael Grinham then took on the reigning world number one Nicol David. Grinham was looking for her first win since September 2007, but once again David was too strong - winning 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 in 32 minutes to wrap up the Malaysia win.

Team manager Linda Geh admitted: "It feels good - but we will come back stronger next time. By then, we hope that Wee Wern will have established herself in the world top five, and this will make us much stronger."

Wee Wern reflected on the strain of the previous night's battle with Waters: "Last night was big match for both of us. Alison is really back on form now. It was mentally tough to come back after that - I was a bit up and down at the beginning, but I got back into it so I was very pleased with today's win."

Australian team coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald was not unhappy with the outcome: "We exceeded our expectations. Our big day was beating Hong Kong - that was our final. We were all on a high after that so the players have then had to pick themselves up since.

"We really needed Donna to win the first game. Rachael has played magnificently - and I think she has learnt from this that she can get back into the world top 10 - it has given her the opportunity to win big matches again. She's shown she can raise her game when she's playing in Australian colours."

The championship came to a magnificent conclusion for India when the tenth seeds beat Ireland, the No7 seeds, to win fifth place. It was the teams' second meeting in five days. Joshana Chinappa put India in the driving seat by beating Aisling Blake - but 13-time Irish champion Madeline Perry levelled matters by gaining a revenge win over Indian number one Dipika Pallikal.

It was down to teenager Anaka Alankamony to clinch victory for India when the 18-year-old from Chennai defeated experienced Laura Mylotte 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in the decider.

"It's been an amazing week - and this is so good for India," said Alankamony. "I played her before on the club courts and beat her - but I like playing on glass so I was confident of beating her again. I think this was a big advantage - but my team is a big advantage too!"

India's national coach Cyrus Poncha was almost speechless: "Fifth in the world - it's unbelievable. A few months ago, Dipika said we should target to be in the top four in the world, but I thought that was a very tall order. And here we are just one place below.

"It was unfortunate we had Egypt in the quarter-finals - anyone barring the top two would have given us a better chance. We feel we now have the depth to create upsets."

Fifth seeds New Zealand took seventh place after beating Hong Kong, the No4 seeds, 2/1. An impressive effort by Amanda Landers-Murphy saw the NZ debutante beat Liu Tsz-Ling 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6 in the decider.

"It's nowhere near what we were aiming for but, after yesterday's loss, playing the fourth seeds gave us the chance to prove ourselves," said NZ coach Paul Hornsby. "An event like this is a real emotional strain - you're not only playing your own matches but you're going through everybody else's too.

"I'm proud of Amanda - it was a brilliant performance, her first time for New Zealand, and she'll take a lot of confidence out it. It's nice to finish on a positive note."

A 2/0 win over Canada saw 14th seeds South Africa take 11th place. "We wanted to finish in the top ten, so we didn't quite make it," said the South African team manager Vivienne Doeg. "We had two chances to beat Hong Kong and just missed out. But our girls played outstanding squash."

Final:
[2] EGYPT bt [1] ENGLAND 2/1
Nour El Sherbini lost to Alison Waters 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 5-11 (62m)
Raneem El Weleily bt Laura Massaro 3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 12-10 (48m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Jenny Duncalf 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8

3rd place play-off:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [6] AUSTRALIA 3/0
Low Wee Wern bt Donna Urquhart 13-11, 11-6, 11-7 (41m)
Nicol David bt Rachael Grinham 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (32m)
Delia Arnold bt Melody Francis 11-6, 11-6

5th place play-off:
[10] INDIA bt [7] IRELAND 2/1
Joshana Chinappa bt Aisling Blake 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (48m)
Dipika Pallikal lost to Madeline Perry 7-11, 5-11, 13-15 (39m)
Anaka Alankamony bt Laura Mylotte 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (25m)

7th place play-off:
[5] NEW ZEALAND bt [4] HONG KONG CHINA 2/1
Jaclyn Hawkes lost to Joey Chan 7-11, 9-11, 7-11 (32m)
Joelle King bt Annie Au 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (44m)
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Liu Tsz-Ling 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6 (37m)

9th place play-off:
[9] FRANCE bt [8] NETHERLANDS 3/0
Coline Aumard bt Milou van der Heijden 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (34m)
Camille Serme bt Natalie Grinham 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)
Laura Pomportes bt Milja Dorenbos 11-0, 11-3

11th place play-off:
[14] SOUTH AFRICA bt [11] CANADA 2/0
Diana Haynes bt Alexandra Norman 11-3, 11-7, 11-7 (22m)
Siyoli Waters bt Samantha Cornett 18-16, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6 (40m)

13th place play-off:
[12] USA bt [13] CZECH REPUBLIC 2/0
Sabrina Sobhy bt Anna Klimundova 11-7, 11-6, 11-6
Natalie Grainger bt Olga Ertlova 11-8, 11-6, 12-10

15th place play-off:
[15] WALES bt [16] MEXICO 2/1
Deon Saffery bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (27m)
Tesni Evans lost to Samantha Teran 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 9-11 (45m)
Hannah Davies bye

17th - 19th place play-offs:
[23] REPUBLIC OF KOREA bt [21] GERMANY 2/1
Park Eun Ok bt Franziska Hennes 11-5, 11-9, 11-5
Song Sun-Mi bt Pamela Hathway 11-7, 11-1, 11-7
Yang Yeon-Soo lost to Caroline Sayegh 9-11, 9-11, 9-11
Final positions: 1 Republic of Korea, 2 Japan, 3 Germany

20th - 22nd place play-offs:
[20] COLOMBIA bt [19] CHINA 3/0
Catalina Pelaez bt Xiu Chen 11-8, 11-4, 11-9
Silvia Angulo Rugeles bt Gu Jinyue 11-8, 11-4, 15-13
Karol Gonzalez bye
Final positions: 1 Colombia, 2 Scotland, 3 China

23rd place play-off:
[26] SPAIN bt [17] ARGENTINA 2/1
Xisela Aranda Nunez bt Cecilia Cerquetti 13-11, 11-8, 11-6
Marina de Juan lost to Antonella Falcione 8-11, 4-11, 11-5, 8-11
Cristina Gomez bt Fernanda Rocha 11-7, 11-3, 12-10

25th place play-off:
[18] AUSTRIA bt [25] NAMIBIA 3/0
Jacqueline Peychar bt Adri Lambert 4-11, 11-5, 2-11, 11-9, 11-6
Birgit Coufal bt Isabell Schnoor 11-9, 11-5, 11-6
Ines Winkler bt Lucinda Rodrigues 11-5, 11-4

CORRECTED 13th-16th place play-off result:
[12] USA bt [16] MEXICO 3/0
Natalie Grainger bt Samantha Teran 11-2, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6
Maria Elena Ubina bt Monserrat Castellanos 11-4, 11-13, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8
Sabrina Sobhy bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-6, 11-5

 

Top Seeds England & Egypt To Contest World Final In Nimes

Londoner Alison Waters (left) marked her comeback from career-threatening injury in sensational style in the WSF Women's World Team Championship tonight in Nimes when she beat Malaysian Low Wee Wern in a dramatic 56-minute semi-final decider to take England into the final of the World Squash Federation event being staged in France for the first time.

Boasting a record entry of 26 nations, the 2012 championship is being staged at both the eight-court Club des Costières and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action is taking place simultaneously on three all-glass show courts.

Now in the final for the tenth time in a row, favourites England will face second seeds Egypt, the 2008 champions who beat Australia 3/0 to make the final for third time since 2006.

Malaysia, the third seeds who have been bronze medallists in the past three championships, kicked off the tie in determined fashion - world number one Nicol David notching up her 26th successive win in the event since 2004 by defeating England's world number three Laura Massaro 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in 41 minutes

Third string Jenny Duncalf had her work cut out to bring England back into contention, but the world No6 did so after a further 44 minutes, beating Delia Arnold 11-7, 11-9, 11-9.

Waters, a former world number three, is fighting back to her best after a long layoff resulting from an Achilles injury which denied her an England place in the 2010 championship. But the 28-year-old is now back at four in the world - and showed her class by beating Low Wee Wern, the Malaysian second string who boasts a career-high world number seven ranking, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 in 56 minutes.

"That was pretty tough," admitted a beaming Waters straight afterwards. "It's so different, playing a match like that when so much hangs on it.

"After coming back from dropping the second, I relaxed in the fourth and I sensed that she got a bit tight.

"That's certainly one of the biggest matches I've ever played. But it's what we're here for - we were seeded to get to the final, and we've done that now."

England national coach Chris Robertson summed it up in a different way: "You know what it would have meant if, as number one seeds, we'd lost in the semis - winning tonight is what we were here for.

"Alison gets a lot of credit for getting us through - but equally, she knows it would have been the opposite if not.

"I'm really pleased with the way she played - she was pro-active and pressing. She's made tremendous improvement in the last few months - I'm really proud of her."

In the earlier semi, second seeds Egypt lined up against Australia, the sixth seeds who secured a place in the last four after upsetting fourth seeds Hong Kong. It was also a battle between the reigning champions, Australia, and the 2008 champions - with Egypt boasting two players in the world top 10.

In an opening match of high quality between the countries' top two players, world No2 Raneem El Weleily beat Rachael Grinham, a former world number one, 11-7, 14-16, 11-9, 11-9. Fourth string Nour El Tayeb (right) put the tie out of Australia's reach by beating Melody Francis 11-6, 11-2, 11-5.

"We were delighted just to be in the semis - we had no pressure," said Australian team coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the five-time world champion. "But we had our chances - we knew we needed Rachael to notch up a win to give us a lifeline, and she was so close. And it was a big ask for Melody over Nour, who's ranked more than 20 places higher."

Egyptian coach Amir Wagih, a veteran of numerous Egyptian world campaigns, was delighted with his young team's performance. "Rachael is a legend - and spent six years training with Raneem when she lived in Egypt. She put in a classy performance, but Raneem was able to squeeze through and give us the lead.

"But we are very happy to beat Australia - they are the legends of squash. We now look forward to the final. Whoever we play, it will be very tough, but very special."

Hosts France, the ninth seeds, returned to winning ways by beating Canada 3/0 in the play-offs for 9th-12th places. Camille Serme, the French number one who has led the team in all ties so far, completed her sixth match in five days with a 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 win over Samantha Cornett in 56 minutes.

Spurred on by the highly vocal partisan crowd, fourth string Laura Pomportes then courageously recovered from two games down to beat Canadian team debutante Susannah King 10-12, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in 52 minutes to take France into the play-off for ninth place - where they will face Netherlands.

"They will be looking for revenge," said French team coach Philippe Signoret as they look forward to their second meeting this week with the eighth seeds - the team France beat in the earlier pool section.

"We will decide tomorrow, after consultation with the team physio and physical trainer, who will play in this important final tie."

Tenth seeds India also bounced back from their quarter-final defeat by Egypt to overcome Asian rivals Hong Kong, the No4 seeds, 2/0 and earn themselves a play-off for fifth place - their best finish.

Top string Dipika Pallikal, ranked 13 in the world, scored a notable scalp by beating Annie Au - but squandered a 2/0 lead before fighting back against the world No9 to win 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-5 in 53 minutes.

Inspired by her senior team-mate's success, India's 18-year-old Anaka Alankamony then went on to defeat higher-ranked Hong Kong opponent Tong Tsz-Wing 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 to seal victory for her country.

"We play Hong Kong so often in Asian championships, that when we saw we had to play them here, we said 'oh no, not again'!" said team manager Major Maniam. "But getting into the quarter-finals was a first-time for us, so now to be playing for fifth place is icing on the cake.

"Dipika started well in the first match, then lost her way a bit, but came back strongly in the fifth to great effect. She's really improved significantly over the past few months and has played well for us here.

"Then the baby of the team came on: Anaka was very calm and collected. She stayed well and ran well and put in an impressive performance in a rubber she had to win.

"It's been a great year for Indian squash - but only as a result of a lot of hard work," Maniam concluded.

Another replay of an earlier pool clash will take place when India face Ireland in the fifth place play-off. In the longest tie of the competition so far, seventh seeds Ireland edged out New Zealand 2/1 - with two matches going the full distance.

Irish number one Madeline Perry, the world No10, twice came from behind and saved match balls from 7-10 in the fourth against Kiwi Joelle King before beating the world No5 3-11, 11-7, 7-11, 14-12, 11-3 in 73 minutes.

After the fifth seeds levelled when Amanda Landers-Murphy beat Laura Mylotte in four games, it was Irish number two Aisling Blake who eventually clinched victory, coming through 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 8-11, 11-7 in 58 minutes against New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes.

"We're seeded seven, so we're really pleased to be in the running for fifth place," said Perry, the 13-time Irish champion. "We lost to India in the pools and are after revenge.

"I also lost so I'm definitely looking for a win - and I'm getting better every match here, so I'm confident!"

Semi-finals:
[1] ENGLAND bt [3] MALAYSIA 2/1
Laura Massaro lost to Nicol David 5-11, 6-11, 8-11 (41m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Delia Arnold 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (44m)
Alison Waters bt Low Wee Wern 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 (56m)

[2] EGYPT bt [6] AUSTRALIA 3/0
Raneem El Weleily bt Rachael Grinham 11-7, 14-16, 11-9, 11-9 (44m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Melody Francis 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (23m)
Nour El Sherbini bt Donna Urquhart 12-10, 6-11, 11-8 (26m)

5th - 8th place play-offs:
[7] IRELAND bt [5] NEW ZEALAND 2/1
Madeline Perry bt Joelle King 3-11, 11-7, 7-11, 14-12, 11-3 (73m)
Laura Mylotte lost to Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 10-12 (40m)
Aisling Blake bt Jaclyn Hawkes 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 8-11, 11-7 (58m)

[10] INDIA bt [4] HONG KONG CHINA 2/0
Dipika Pallikal bt Annie Au 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-5 (53m)
Anaka Alankamony bt Tong Tsz-Wing 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (40m)

9th - 12th place play-offs:
[9] FRANCE bt [11] CANADA 3/0
Camille Serme bt Samantha Cornett 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (56m)
Laura Pomportes bt Susannah King 10-12, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (52m)
Coline Aumard bt Alexandra Norman 11-6, 11-3 (17m)

[8] NETHERLANDS bt [14] SOUTH AFRICA 2/1
Natalie Grinham bt Siyoli Waters 11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (23m)
Milja Dorenbos lost to Milnay Louw 4-11, 4-11, 3-11 (19m)
Orla Noom bt Diana Haynes 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (30m)

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[13] CZECH REPUBLIC bt [15] WALES 2/1
Lucie Fialova lost to Tesni Evans 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 10-12 (54m)
Anna Klimundova bt Hannah Davies 5-11, 11-4, 11-0, 11-9 (25m)
Olga Ertlova bt Deon Saffery 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)

[12] USA bt [16] MEXICO 2/1
Natalie Grainger bt Samantha Teran 11-2, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6
Maria Elena Ubina bt Monserrat Castellanos 11-4, 11-13, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8
Sabrina Sobhy lost to Nayelly Hernandez 6-11, 5-11

17th - 26th place play-offs (Pool 2):
[19] CHINA bt [18] AUSTRIA 2/1
Li Dongjin lost to Birgit Coufal 5-11 ret.
Gu Jinyue bt Judith Gradnitzer 11-8, 11-9, 11-9
Xiu Chen bt Ines Winkler 11-5, 11-5, 11-7
Final positions: 1 Republic of Korea, 2 China, 3 Austria

17th - 19th place play-offs:
[22] JAPAN bt [21] GERMANY 2/1
Misaki Kobayashi bt Pamela Hathway 11-6, 11-1, 11-6
Risa Sugimoto lost to Annika Wiese 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 5-11, 10-12
Chinatsu Matsui bt Franziska Hennes 11-3, 11-8, 11-9

[23] REPUBLIC OF KOREA bt [22] JAPAN 2/1
Song Sun-Mi lost to Misaki Kobayashi 6-11, 4-11, 11-8, 9-11
Yang Yeon-Soo bt Risa Sugimoto 11-8, 11-8, 11-9
Park Eun Ok bt Chinatsu Matsui 11-8, 11-8, 11-8

20th - 22nd place play-offs:
[20] COLOMBIA bt [24] SCOTLAND 2/1
Silvia Angulo Rugeles lost to Frania Gillen-Buchert 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11
Karol Gonzalez bt Rosie Allan 12-10, 12-10, 11-5
Catalina Pelaez bt Alex Clark 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7

[24] SCOTLAND bt [19] CHINA 3/0
Frania Gillen-Buchert bt Gu Jinyue 11-3, 11-6, 11-4
Rosie Allanbye
Alex Clark bt Xiu Chen 11-7, 12-10, 11-3

23rd - 26th place play-offs:
[17] ARGENTINA bt [25] NAMIBIA 3/0
Antonella Falcione bt Isabell Schnoor 11-2, 11-6, 11-7
Fernanda Rocha bt Lucinda Rodrigues 11-5, 11-5, 11-2
Cecilia Cerquetti bt Adri Lambert 11-7, 13-11

[26] SPAIN bt [18] AUSTRIA 2/1
Marina de Juan lost to Birgit Coufal 2-11, 4-11, 8-11
Chantal Moros-Pitarch bt Ines Winkler 11-6, 12-10, 11-3
Xisela Aranda Nunez bt Jacqueline Peychar 15-13, 11-4, 11-4

25 Up As Nicol David Leads Malaysia Into World Semis In Nimes

World number one Nicol David marked her 25th successive win in the WSF Women's World Team Championships in impressive style today in Nimes when she beat Joelle King of New Zealand in straight games to lead third seeds Malaysia into the semi-finals of the World Squash Federation event being staged in France for the first time.

Boasting a record entry of 26 nations, the 2012 championship is being staged at both the eight-court Club des Costières and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action is taking place simultaneously on three all-glass show courts.

Last defeated in October 2004 by Australia's then world number one Rachael Grinham, David went on to win successive matches in each of the biennial events through to today - in the previous three championships taking Malaysia into the bronze medal position.

In today's quarter-finals, David was stretched for 36 minutes before overcoming King, the new world number five, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4. Team-mate Low Wee Wern, the world No7, also from Penang, then clinched victory for Malaysia after beating Kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes 11-3, 11-5, 11-13, 11-9.

"I've been playing this event for quite a while now and it's great to discover that this is my 25th win in a row," said 29-year-old David. "But my aim in this event is just to get points for my team.

"Today, Joelle kept coming back at me - so I had to stay focussed for the team. And Wee Wern did a great job after me."

Malaysia now move on to play England - remarkably, for the first time in this event since 2002!

"We're just happy to be in the semi-finals," responded David when asked about the next clash with the top seeds. "The pressure's off - everything now is a bonus."

Favourites England faced seventh seeds Ireland - and dropped the first game of the tournament when 13 times Irish champion Madeline Perry, ranked 10 in the world, went ahead against England top string Laura Massaro.

But world No3 Massaro regained the upper hand and went on to close out the match 7-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9.

Second string Alison Waters clinched victory for England by beating Aisling Blake 11-7, 11-3, 11-3.

"It was another strong performance from the team," said coach David Campion afterwards. "Laura's got a good record against Madeline so we were confident there - and Alison closed it out for us.

"We're happy to get through unscathed."

Quarter-finals:
[1] ENGLAND bt [7] IRELAND 3/0
Laura Massaro bt Madeline Perry 7-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9 (47m)
Alison Waters bt Aisling Blake 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 (30m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Breanne Flynn 11-3, 11-2 (11m)

[3] MALAYSIA bt [5] NEW ZEALAND 2/0
Nicol David bt Joelle King 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (36m)
Low Wee Wern bt Jaclyn Hawkes 11-3, 11-5, 11-13, 11-9 (41m)

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[9] FRANCE bt [15] WALES 2/1
Camille Serme bt Tesni Evans 11-7, 11-7, 14-12 (37m)
Coline Aumard lost to Deon Saffery 5-11, 7-11, 8-11 (36m)
Laura Pomportes bt Hannah Davies 11-7, 11-6, 12-10

[11] CANADA bt [13] CZECH REPUBLIC 2/0
Samantha Cornett bt Lucie Fialova 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 12-10 (42m)
Alexandra Norman bt Olga Ertlova 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7 (51m)

17th - 26th place play-offs (Pool 1):
[22] JAPAN bt [25] NAMIBIA 3/0
Misaki Kobayashi bt Isabell Schnoor 11-6, 11-4, 11-6 (16m)
Mayu Yamazaki bt Adri Lambert 11-2, 11-7, 11-7 (14m)
Risa Sugimoto bt Lucinda Rodrigues 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (15m)
Final positions: 1 Japan, 2 Scotland, 3 Namibia

Australia Make World Semi-Finals In Nimes

Australia pulled off a sensational upset in today's first quarter-final of the WSF Women's World Team Championship in Nimes when former world number one Rachael Grinham and world No17 Donna Urquhart led the team to a 2/1 win over fourth seeds Hong Kong which takes the sixth seeds into the semi-finals and guarantees future funding for elite squash in the country.

The World Squash Federation event, being staged in France for the first time, boasts a record entry of 26 nations and is being staged simultaneously at both the eight-court Club des Costières and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action is taking place simultaneously on three all-glass show courts.

Australian number one Grinham, currently ranked 16 in the world, opened up a crucial 1/0 lead after recovering from the loss of the third game to beat world No9 Annie Au 11-3, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 in 45 minutes.

Urquhart then took to the court against Joey Chan, the Hong Kong number two ranked just a single place below the left-hander from New South Wales. Less than 24 hours earlier Chan had recovered from 5-9 in the decider against underdogs South Africa to take the fancied fourth seeds into the last eight.

But Urquhart played one of the most focussed game of her life to overcome Chan 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 and assure her country an unexpected - but all-important - place in the elite world's top four.

The Brisbane-based 25-year-old was immediately engulfed by the Aussie camp on court as they celebrated their surprise triumph.

"I just can't believe it," said Urquhart, close to tears. "I have been extremely nervous over the last couple of days - my hand was literally shaking in the knock up before my first match against Canada. I was a nervous wreck. Playing for your team is so different from playing for yourself.

"But today I had to forget about all that - I knew I had to stay calm. Joey is a tough opponent. I just concentrated on the simple stuff, like taking time over my service - everything else came easily after that.

"I couldn't watch Rachael's game - I had to go away from the court and put my headphones on. That helped keep me calm.

"We didn't expect to get this far - but I didn't want to let everybody down."

How did the match rate alongside others she has played? "It's definitely right up there. To play a match like that and not let it get to me - I'm proud of that!"

After giving Australia the lead, Grinham said: "I guess I'm struggling with my motivation on the Tour right now - but I feel I have that back again now, playing for the team. You've got a lot of people counting on you.

"It's a great feeling playing for your team - but, stressful though it is, I really did enjoy it!"

Australia's team manager Vicki Cardwell was overjoyed with the result: "It's magnificent," said the illustrious former world number one whose daughter Sarah Cardwell, the third string, was saved playing a potential decider.

"It was bad enough watching from the side-lines during the first two matches - but it would have been brutal if Sarah had had to play a vital decider!

"Rachael played the best I've ever seen her and Donna the most disciplined I've ever seen. They both knew at the beginning of the week that we would be expecting them to play in all our ties. That's a huge responsibility and they've stepped up to it.

"We've had a wonderful team spirit here - with support also from team coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald and our physio Patrick Hermanns, who's been invaluable.

"You can't overstate the importance of that win," Cardwell continued. "We're in the rebuilding stage - and to have come here with two of our younger players is important as we can't expect to be able to rely on the likes of Rachael for much longer.

"We came her to make our seeding - so to be in the semis is just amazing. It's heartening for our kids back home," Cardwell concluded.

In the other quarter-final played in the afternoon session, second seeds Egypt ended India's run, beating the surprise quarter-finalists, seeded ten, 3/0

Egypt national coach Amir Wagih was pleased with his team's showing: "We alway enjoy playing India and now look forward to our semi-final tomorrow."

Picture shows the jubilant Aussie squad (L to R) Rachael Grinham, Sarah Cardwell, Melody Francis, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Patrick Hermanns, Vicki Cardwell and Donna Urquhart

Quarter-finals:

[6] AUSTRALIA bt [4] HONG KONG CHINA 2/1
Rachael Grinham bt Annie Au 11-3, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 (45m)
Donna Urquhart bt Joey Chan 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (27m)
Sarah Cardwell lost to Liu Tsz-Ling 9-11, 11-6, 7-11 (22m)

[2] EGYPT bt [10] INDIA 3/0
Raneem El Weleily bt Dipika Pallikal 16-14, 11-4, 11-7 (31m)
Nour El Sherbini bt Joshana Chinappa 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (26m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Anaka Alankamony 11-6, 11-3 (12m)

9th - 16th place play-offs:

[14] SOUTH AFRICA bt [12] USA 2/1
Siyoli Waters lost to Natalie Grainger 3-11, 7-11, 5-11 (25m)
Diana Haynes bt Olivia Fiechter 8-11, 11-7, 18-16, 11-9 (36m)
Milnay Louw bt Maria Elena Ubina 11-6, 11-13, 11-5, 11-7 (27m)

[8] NETHERLANDS bt [16] MEXICO 3/0
Natalie Grinham bt Samantha Teran 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 (26m)
Orla Noom bt Karla Urrutia 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (23m)
Milou van der Heijden bt Nayelly Hernandez 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 (25m)

17th - 26th place play-offs (Pool 3):

[20] COLOMBIA bt [26] SPAIN 3/0
Silvia Angulo Rugeles bt Marina de Juan 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-8
Catalina Pelaez bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-4, 11-8, 11-4
Karol Gonzalez bt Cristina Gomez 11-6, 11-1, 11-8

[21] GERMANY bt [17] ARGENTINA 2/1
Pamela Hathway lost to Antonella Falcione 11-3, 14-16, 7-11, 11-1, 7-11 (48m)
Franziska Hennes bt Cecilia Cerquetti 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (17m)
Caroline Sayegh bt Fernanda Rocha 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9 (34m)

Final positions: 1 Germany, 2 Colombia, 3 Argentina, 4 Spain

 

India Break Into World Top Eight In Nimes

In only their third appearance in the event, India ensured themselves a top eight finish in the WSF Women's World Team Championship for the first time in Nimes after beating Netherlands today in a dramatic last 16 round tie in the World Squash Federation event being staged in France for the first time.

The event boasts a record entry of 26 nations and is being staged simultaneously at both the eight-court Club des Costières and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action is taking place simultaneously on three all-glass show courts.

It was after defeating Argentina and upsetting Ireland in the pool stages that tenth seeds India today defeated Netherlands, the No8 seeds, 2/1.

Anaka Alankamony went on first against Milou van der Heijden.  The 18-year-old Indian number three showed great maturity and resilience to play a simple medium paced basic game to overcome her opponent 11-8, 11-6, 11-5.

Dipika Pallikal went on next against former world No2 Natalie Grinham.  From the outset, the Dutch champion was firing from all cylinders.  Grinham used her drops and lobs to great effect to win 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 to level the tie.

In the decider, second string Joshana Chinappa (Left) dropped the first against a determined Dutch assault from Orla Noom.  At 2/1 down, Chinappa returned to the court with renewed confidence and dropped just five further points to clinch a historic 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 11-3 win after 51 minutes to take India into the world's top eight for the first time.

"I had a game-plan, but I was a bit slow in the first two games, I was struggling to get used to the court," admitted the jubilant 26-year-old from Chennai afterwards.  "I've played Orla lots of times, but haven't beaten her for six years - and that was definitely on my mind.

"Once I got my confidence, I felt much more comfortable.  I didn't think about the significance of the match from the team's point of view, I just wanted to win.

"It's awesome to be part of the team which has got into the world's top eight for the first time - but I'm looking forward to taking it one step forward," added the world No32.

India national coach Cyrus Poncha was overjoyed with the achievement:  "It's been a brilliant year for Indian squash - which started with reaching the U21 World Cup final, then third place in the world junior boys, and now in the women's top eight for the first time."

There was disappointment later for the hosts when France, bidding to make the last eight for the second time in a row, went down 3/0 to Ireland.

Laura Mylotte, a 37-year-old who made her world championship debut in 1994, survived a five-game marathon against Maud Duplomb to beat the French number three 7-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-8, 11-4.  Another dramatic five-game tussle followed - one which had the partisan crowd on the edges of their seats before the hall went silent when 13 times Irish champion Madeline Perry beat four-time French champion Camille Serme 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5 to put the result beyond France's reach.

"I just had to put my head down and focus," said a delighted Perry afterwards.  "It was a bit weird with the crowd really - they were just more of a distraction than anything else.

"It's always a bit difficult when you're playing for a team - I find myself thinking of so many things that I wouldn't normally do when I'm just playing for myself."

Perry has had a chequered history in the world team championships:  "I haven't had much luck with the event.  I went to Malaysia in '96 and I got sick the night before.  I went to Sheffield four years later and got injured in the second match.  I went to Edmonton in Canada in 2006 and got food poisoning the night before.  I went to New Zealand two years ago and got a shoulder injury the week before.

"In today's match I did something to my foot towards the end of the fourth game, and that was a bit of a distraction - but soon put it out of my mind.  When it happened, I thought, 'oh no, not again!'.

"I didn't play well against India, so it was good to get my form back again."

New Zealand came from a match down to beat Canada 2/1.  Unranked English-born Canadian Susannah King, making her championship debut, recovered from a game down - and saved two match-balls - to beat world No34 Kylie Lindsay 8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 14-12 to put Canada into an unexpected lead.

But squad number one Joelle King beat Samantha Cornett 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 and Jaclyn Hawkes defeated Alexandra Norman 11-5, 13-11, 11-9 to clinch victory for the fifth seeds.

"It was quite nerve-wracking, particularly when Joelle went one down," said NZ National Coach Paul Hornsby.  "If you go by world rankings, it was heavily in our favour - but we got off to a nervy start.  Fair play to Susannah, she played enough winners - but after the first game Joelle looked pretty comfortable."

Hawkes added:  "For me, the big difference between playing for yourself and for your national team like this is that I got really nervous before my game, watching the others - and had to go off and refocus.  But I didn't think I was ever going to lose that match."

Defending champions Australia booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 3/0 win over USA.  Australian team coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the former five-time world champion, said:  "I'm very pleased with our performance.  We knew on paper we were looking good.

"We were a bit surprised that they dropped Grainger - but that worked in our favour.  And now we're expecting to meet Hong Kong - and we feel pretty good about that."

Last 16 round (afternoon session):
[7] IRELAND bt [9] FRANCE 3/0
Laura Mylotte bt Maud Duplomb 7-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-8, 11-4 (53m)
Madeline Perry bt Camille Serme 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5 (68m)
Aisling Blake bt Coline Aumard 11-4, 11-9 (17m)

[5] NEW ZEALAND bt [11] CANADA 2/1
Kylie Lindsay lost to Susannah King 11-8, 7-11, 10-12, 11-7, 12-14 (54m)
Joelle King bt Samantha Cornett 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 (35m)
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Alexandra Norman 11-5, 13-11, 11-9 (33m)

[6] AUSTRALIA bt [12] USA 3/0
Melody Francis bt Maria Elena Ubina 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2 (35m)
Rachael Grinham bt Sabrina Sobhy 11-2, 13-11, 11-3 (27m)
Donna Urquhart bt Olivia Fiechter 11-6, 10-12, 11-8 (25m)

[10] INDIA bt [8] NETHERLANDS 2/1
Anaka Alankamony bt Milou van der Heijden 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (30m)
Dipika Pallikal lost to Natalie Grinham 8-11, 4-11, 3-11 (20m)
Joshana Chinappa bt Orla Noom 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 11-3 (51m)

more results to follow .....

 

France Finish On Top In Nimes World Championship Pool

While Canada and Czech Republic secured places in the last 16 round of the 2012 WSF Women's World Team Championship in Nimes tonight, it was hosts France who attracted the biggest crowd and rounded off the qualifying stages of the World Squash Federation event in the greatest style by beating Germany 3/0 to finish at the top of Pool H against expectations.

The ninth seeds made their breakthrough 24 hours earlier by overcoming significant rivals Netherlands, the No8 seeds.

And after Maud Duplomb and Coline Aumard gave the home team an insurmountable lead, the country's number one and four-time French champion Camille Serme beat the top German Pamela Hathway 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 in 26 minutes to send the crowd home happy.

"It's incredible," said Serme, the world No14 from Paris. "I play all over the world so it's great to play here in front of a home crowd for once. My parents are here, for instance, and that's great.

"There's a great spirit in the squad, and that's why I think we're doing well and can go far.

"It's good to be in the last 16 of course - but our main aim is to finish in the last eight."

French national coach Philippe Signoret added: "Our success is also very good for the crowd and for the event.

"Beating the eighth seeds yesterday and then Germany 3/0 tonight is very good preparation for tomorrow - the girls are very confident.

"I was especially pleased with the way Coline played tonight, after her disappointing result yesterday," added Signoret. "She has improved a lot recently - and has done extremely well considering that she had an appendix operation about a month ago. She's extremely fit."

Canada brushed aside Austria 3/0 following impressive straight games wins by Stephanie Edmison, Alexandra Norman and number one Samantha Cornett.

Event debutantes Czech Republic, seeded 13, were the last side to make sure of qualifying after a hard-fought 3/0 win over Colombia. Second string Olga Ertlova had to fight back from 2/1 down to beat Colombian Catalina Pelaez to put victory beyond the reach of the 20th seeds.

In the draw for the last 16 round, favourites England will face neighbours Wales, and 2008 champions Egypt, the No2 seeds, will take on Mexico.

Third seeds Malaysia were drawn in England's half of the draw, and will line up against Czech Republic, while fourth seeds Hong Kong will face South Africa.

All the last 16 round action will take place on the three all-glass show courts at La Parnasse Arena - and, for the first time in a world championship, simultaneous live streaming from all three courts will be available on www.youtube.com/worldsquashtv

Final qualifying round (final session):

Pool D:
[13] CZECH REPUBLIC bt [20] COLOMBIA 3/0
Anna Klimundova bt Karol Gonzalez 12-14, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (38m)
Olga Ertlova bt Catalina Pelaez 11-6, 5-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (35m)
Lucie Fialova bt Silvia Angulo Rugeles 8-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-6 (35m)
Final positions: 1 Hong Kong China, 2 Czech Republic, 3 Colombia, 4 Namibia

Pool F:
[11] CANADA bt [18] AUSTRIA 3/0
Stephanie Edmison bt Jacqueline Peychar 11-1, 11-6, 11-4 (16m)
Alexandra Norman bt Judith Gradnitzer 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (19m)
Samantha Cornett bt Birgit Coufal 11-8, 11-2, 11-2 (22m)
Final positions: 1 Australia, 2 Canada, 3 Austria

Pool H:
[9] FRANCE bt [21] GERMANY 3/0
Maud Duplomb bt Caroline Sayegh 11-3, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4 (34m)
Coline Aumard bt Franziska Hennes 11-6, 11-1, 11-1 (26m)
Camille Serme bt Pamela Hathway 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (26m)
Final positions: 1 France, 2 Netherlands, 3 Germany

Full last 16 draw:
[1] ENGLAND v [15] WALES
[9] FRANCE v [7] IRELAND
[3] MALAYSIA v [13] CZECH REPUBLIC
[5] NEW ZEALAND v [11] CANADA
[6] AUSTRALIA v [12] USA
[4] HONG KONG CHINA v [14] SOUTH AFRICA
[10] INDIA v [8] NETHERLANDS
[2] EGYPT v [16] MEXICO
 

India Mark 'Huge' Success In Nimes World Championship

After upsetting seventh background: Ireland in the first qualifying round of the 2012 WSF Women's World Team Championship in Nimes, tenth background: India clinched pole position in Pool G after despatching Argentina 3/0 in today's final qualifying round of the biennial World Squash Federation event taking place in France for the first time.

The event boasts a record entry of 26 nations and is being staged simultaneously at both the eight-court Club des Costières and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action is taking place on three all-glass show courts.

Teams have been fighting for the top two places in the eight pools to ensure themselves a place in the last 16 knockout stage.

Squad number three Anaka Alankamony led the way for India, beating Maria Eugenia Bonilla 11-4, 11-4, 11-7 - before second string Joshana Chinappa (right) took just 19 minutes to overcome Cecilia Cerquetti 11-6, 11-3, 11-4.

In the final match, top-ranked Argentinean Antonella Falcione battled hard against India's star Dipika Pallikal - but world No13 Pallikal had the edge, defeating her opponent ranked more than 100 places below 11-8, 11-7, 11-8.

"It's huge," said Indian National Coach Cyrus Poncha when asked the significance of the success in the event so far. "Our aim was to top the pool - and making the quarter-finals is our goal.

"Beating Ireland definitely gave us a lot of confidence and we hope to have a great performance against the Dutch tomorrow."

Incredibly, this is only India's third appearance in the women's world championship, with an 18th place finish in their debut in 2002 and 11th last year.

"Last year it was a first for us to finish in the top eight in the men's world team championship - so if we can make the top eight here this year it will be a huge achievement and another significant step forward for Indian Squash," concluded Poncha.

USA bounced back from the disappointment of a 3/0 loss to New Zealand yesterday to beat Japan today to finish in second place in Pool E.

Teenager Olivia Fiechter put the 12th background: into the lead with an 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 win over Japan's third string Mayu Yamazaki. But it was an impressive performance from senior squad newcomer Sabrina Sobhy that ensured victory when the 15-year-old beat experienced Chinatsu Matsui, aged 35, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8 in 46 minutes.

Japan gained a consolation point when world No38 Misaki Kobayashi beat retired 35-year-old former world No1 Natalie Grainger 8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 12-10 in the final match.

Team coach Chris Walker, a former England captain, was pleased with his largely inexperienced squad's performance. "We knew it was going to be tough, but Olivia was clinical and sound, playing the best she's been all week to put us ahead.

"This took some of the pressure off Sabrina who played a fine game to see us through.

"The beauty of having this young squad is that they are gaining important experience and learning all the time."

Final qualifying round (afternoon session):

Pool A:
[16] MEXICO bt [23] REPUBLIC OF KOREA 2/1
Nayelly Hernandez bt Kim Ga-Hye 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 11-9 (48m)
Karla Urrutia lost to Park Eun Ok 4-11, 5-11, 5-11 (26m)
Samantha Teran bt Song Sun-Mi 11-1, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10 (40m)

Final positions: 1 England, 2 Mexico, 3 Republic of Korea

Pool B:
[15] WALES bt [24] SCOTLAND 3/0
Hannah Davies bt Rosie Allan 11-8, 11-5, 11-7
Deon Saffery bt Alex Clark 11-8, 11-6, 11-5
Tesni Evans bt Frania Gillen-Buchert 11-3, 11-7, 11-5

Final positions: 1 Egypt, 2 Wales, 3 Scotland

Pool C:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [26] SPAIN 3/0
Delia Arnold bt Chantal Moros-Pitarch 11-3, 11-3, 11-2 (25m)
Low Wee Wern bt Cristina Gomez 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (30m)
Nicol David bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 11-2, 11-3, 11-7

[14] SOUTH AFRICA bt [19] CHINA 3/0
Milnay Louw bt Xiu Chen 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-2
Diana Haynes bt Gu Jinyue 11-1, 11-6, 11-3
Siyoli Waters bt Li Dongjin 11-2, 4-11, 13-11, 13-11

Final positions: 1 Malaysia, 2 South Africa, 3 China, 4 Spain

Pool D:
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [25] NAMIBIA 3/0
Tong Tsz-Wing bt Lucinda Rodrigues 11-2, 11-0, 11-2
Liu Tsz-Ling bt Adri Lambert 11-6, 11-2, 11-7
Joey Chan bt Isabell Schnoor 11-3, 11-5, 11-4

[13] CZECH REPUBLIC v [20] COLOMBIA ….. result to follow

Pool E:
[12] USA bt [22] JAPAN 2/1
Olivia Fiechter bt Mayu Yamazaki 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (16m)
Sabrina Sobhy bt Chinatsu Matsui 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8 (46m)
Natalie Grainger lost to Misaki Kobayashi 11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 10-12

Final positions: 1 New Zealand, 2 USA, 3 Japan

Pool F:
[11] CANADA v [18] AUSTRIA ….. result to follow

Pool G:
[10] INDIA bt [17] ARGENTINA 3/0
Anaka Alankamony bt Maria Eugenia Bonilla 11-4, 11-4, 11-7
Joshana Chinappa bt Cecilia Cerquetti 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 (19m)
Dipika Pallikal bt Antonella Falcione 11-8, 11-7, 11-8

Final positions: 1 India, 2 Ireland, 3 Argentina

Pool H:
[9] FRANCE v [21] GERMANY ….. result to follow

 

Hosts Upset Netherlands In Nimes

The first upset in the 2012 WSF Women's World Team Championship came before the biggest crowd surrounding one of the three all-glass courts at La Parnasse Arena in Nimes where hosts France beat Netherlands in a dramatic tie which went to the wire.

The historic World Squash Federation event, boasting a record entry of 26 nations, is the first ever to be staged in France, and the first to feature three all-glass show courts.

The tie promised maximum drama, with Netherlands seeded eight, and France one place below - yet coming into the event after a best-ever sixth place finish in the previous championship.

French number one Camille Serme, the world No14, opened proceedings for the hosts against Natalie Grinham, the Dutch champion ranked three places higher. They shared three wins apiece in their six earlier meetings - but tonight the packed crowd was entirely with the hosts.

Serme led by example, and fought back from 2/1 down to beat Grinham 11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7 in 54 minutes. Coline Aumard looked to be taking France to a decisive victory when leading 2/0 and 7/0 against Orla Noom. But the Dutch number two staged a remarkable recovery to win the match 4-11, 1-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 in 45 minutes to force a decider.

The nervous crowd were willing the team's fourth string all the way - and Laura Pomportes did not disappoint, beating Milou van der Heijden 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-2 in 40 minutes to give France a strong chance of topping Pool H.

"It was a good win, but it would have been better if we'd won the second match," said French national coach Philippe Signoret. "It was certainly good for our confidence and Camille's win was especially good as she has had some disappointing results over the past three months.

"Now we must beat Germany tomorrow to top the pool, then we will probably have a very tough match with either Ireland or India - so there's still a lot of work to do," added Signoret.

China made history in Pool C by marking their first ever world championship win. In only their second ever appearance in the event, the 19th background: face Spain, a more 'traditional' squash-playing nation which has competed in the championships since 1989.

Li Dongjin put the novices ahead with a straight games win over Marina de Juan before Xisela Aranda Nunez restored order for the former 13th placed Spain by beating Gu Jinyue in four games.

But Xiu Chen, a 24-year-old from Shanghai, played the game of her life to defeat 25-year-old Chantal Moros-Pitarch 8-11, 12-10, 11-2, 6-11, 11-8 to notch up China's historic victory.

"Competing in this tournament gives our players a very precious opportunity to gain experience against the top players in the world," said Wang Tao, Secretary General of the Chinese Squash Association.

"Squash is getting more and more popular in our country - especially amongst students - and all our team are studying and playing squash at Shanghai University.

"We really hope that the sport's bid to get into the Olympic programme will be successful as it will then enable us to get more funding from the government," added Ms Wang Tao. "We are confident that squash will then get much bigger in China."

A major upset took place late in the day in Pool G when tenth background: India beat Ireland, the No7 background:, 2/1 - reversing the result of the same poll clash two years ago. Rising star Dipika Pallikal paved the way with a four-game victory over experienced Irish champion Madeline Perry - but the squad number two Joshana Chinappa let slip a 2/1 lead to allow Aisling Blake, and Ireland, back into the tie.

But teenager Anaka Alankamony held her nerve to see off Laura Mylotte 12-10, 11-3, 11-7 to give India a sensational victory.

The top four background: England, Egypt, Malaysia and Hong Kong all earned their second 3/0 wins of the day - but only favourites England did so in three straight games match wins.

"It was an excellent start to our campaign today," said England team coach David Campion. "The girls were in confident mood against a spirited team from Mexico and are excited about the week ahead. The three glass courts under one roof is quite impressive."

2nd qualifying rounds (evening session, 1st day):
Pool A:
[1] ENGLAND bt [16] MEXICO 3/0
Laura Massaro bt Samantha Teran 11-3, 11-8, 13-11
Alison Waters bt Karla Urrutia 11-6, 11-3, 11-2
Jenny Duncalf bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-5, 11-1, 11-0

Pool B:
[2] EGYPT bt [15] WALES 3/0
Raneem El Weleily bt Tesni Evans 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (21m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Deon Saffery 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 (30m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Hannah Davies 11-1, 11-3, 11-9 (16m)

Pool C:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [14] SOUTH AFRICA 3/0
Nicol David bt Siyoli Waters 11-5, 7-11, 11-2, 11-2
Low Wee Wern bt Diana Haynes 11-9, 11-5, 11-3
Delia Arnold bt Milnay Louw 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6

[19] CHINA bt [26] SPAIN 2/1
Li Dongjin bt Marina de Juan 11-2, 12-10, 11-9
Gu Jinyue lost to Xisela Aranda Nunez 5-11, 12-10, 7-11, 10-12
Xiu Chen bt Chantal Moros-Pitarch 8-11, 12-10, 11-2, 6-11, 11-8

Pool D:
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [13] CZECH REPUBLIC 3/0
Annie Au bt Lucie Fialova 11-4, 11-5, 11-8 (25m)
Joey Chan bt Olga Ertlova 8-11, 14-12, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 (61m)
Liu Tsz-Ling bt Anna Klimundova 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-2 (43m)

[20] COLOMBIA bt [25] NAMIBIA 3/0
Silvia Angulo Rugeles bt Isabell Schnoor 11-7, 11-8, 11-6
Catalina Pelaez bt Adri Lambert 11-2, 11-4, 11-3
Ana Gabriela Porras bt Lucinda Rodrigues 11-3, 11-1, 11-4

Pool E:
[5] NEW ZEALAND bt [12] USA 3/0
Joelle King bt Natalie Grainger 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (26m)
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Sabrina Sobhy 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 (23m)
Kylie Lindsay bt Olivia Fiechter 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (34m)

Pool F:
[6] AUSTRALIA bt [11] CANADA 3/0
Rachael Grinham bt Samantha Cornett 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-3 (38m)
Donna Urquhart bt Alexandra Norman 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (36m)
Melody Francis bt Susannah King 4-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (28m)

Pool G:
[10] INDIA bt [7] IRELAND 2/1
Dipika Pallikal bt Madeline Perry 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8
Joshana Chinappa lost to Aisling Blake 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11
Anaka Alankamony bt Laura Mylotte 12-10, 11-3, 11-7

Pool H:
[9] FRANCE bt [8] NETHERLANDS 2/1
Camille Serme bt Natalie Grinham 11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7 (54m)
Coline Aumard lost to Orla Noom 11-4, 11-1, 9-11, 4-11, 4-11 (45m)
Laura Pomportes bt Milou van der Heijden 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-2 (40m)
 

Official event website: World Women Squash
 
WSF World Team Championship, Nimes, France
 
Top background: Successful In Opening Exchanges In Nimes

The top eight background: showed their strength in the opening encounters of the WSF Women's World Team Championship in Nimes with 3/0 victories in the afternoon session of the first day's play in the biennial World Squash Federation event which is being held in France for the first time in its 33-year history.
The eight nations continue their qualifying action with further ties in today's evening session - with hosts France making their debut against Netherlands on the 'centre' court of the three all-glass courts at La Parnasse Arena, and additional action also taking place at the nearby eight-court Club des Costières.
Favourites England - bidding to win the title for a seventh time, but for the first time since 2006 - beat championship debutants Republic Of Korea 3/0. England's powerful line-up featured Alison Waters, Jenny Duncalf and Sarah Kippax - all in the world's top 25 - while only one of the Koreans is world-ranked.
"We are really focussed and wanted to get a strong start from the outset," said England team coach David Campion. "But, credit to Korea, their players were not overawed by the occasion and showed great technique and athleticism."
Second background: Egypt saw off Scotland 3/0. Pushed down to 24th background: after the last-minute withdrawal of number one Lisa Aitken, Scotland's hopes were lifted when, on the eve of her 31st birthday, new top string Frania Gillen-Buchert took the opening game against Nour El Sherbini. But the Egyptian teenager restored order by winning 9-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 in 35 minutes.
 
1st qualifying rounds (afternoon session, 1st day):
Pool A:
[1] ENGLAND bt [23] REPUBLIC OF KOREA 3/0
Alison Waters bt Song Sun-Mi 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (23m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Park Eun Ok 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 (21m)
Sarah Kippax bt Yang Yeon-Soo 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (24m)
 
Pool B:
[2] EGYPT bt [24] SCOTLAND 3/0
Nour El Sherbini bt Frania Gillen-Buchert 9-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 (35m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Alex Clark 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 (19m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Rosie Allan 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 (16m)
 
Pool C:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [19] CHINA 3/0
Nicol David bt Li Dongjin 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (24m)
Low Wee Wern bt Gu Jinyue 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (19m)
Delia Arnold bt Xiu Chen 11-4, 11-0, 11-8 (16m)
 
[14] SOUTH AFRICA bt [26] SPAIN 3/0
Siyoli Waters bt Marina de Juan 11-6, 11-5, 11-3
Milnay Louw bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 4-11, 11-6, 12-10, 14-12
Senada Haupt bt Cristina Gomez 11-6, 12-10, 11-8
 
Pool D:
[4] HONG KONG CHINA bt [20] COLOMBIA 3/0
Annie Au bt Silvia Angulo Rugeles 11-3, 11-2, 11-4
Liu Tsz-Ling bt Karol Gonzalez 11-3, 11-8, 12-14, 11-3
Tong Tsz-Wing bt Ana Gabriela Porras 11-5, 11-9, 11-8
 
[13] CZECH REPUBLIC bt [25] NAMIBIA 3/0
Lucie Fialova bt Isabell Schnoor 11-6, 12-10, 11-8
Olga Ertlova bt Adri Lambert 11-3, 11-2, 11-5
Anna Klimundova bt Lucinda Rodrigues 11-0, 11-4, 11-4
 
Pool E:
[5] NEW ZEALAND bt [22] JAPAN 3/0
Joelle King bt Misaki Kobayashi 11-8, 11-7, 11-1
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Chinatsu Matsui 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Mayu Yamazaki 10-12, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5

Pool F:
[6] AUSTRALIA bt [18] AUSTRIA 3/0
Rachael Grinham bt Birgit Coufal 11-3, 11-3, 11-2
Donna Urquhart bt Judith Gradnitzer 11-4, 11-3, 11-1
Sarah Cardwell bt Ines Winkler 11-1, 11-1, 11-1
 
Pool G:
[7] IRELAND bt [17] ARGENTINA 3/0
Madeline Perry bt Antonella Falcione 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (21m)
Aisling Blake bt Cecilia Cerquetti 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (22m)
Laura Mylotte bt Fernanda Rocha 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4 (24m)
 
Pool H:
[8] NETHERLANDS bt [21] GERMANY 3/0
Natalie Grinham bt Pamela Hathway 11-4, 11-6, 11-5
Orla Noom bt Franziska Hennes 11-7, 12-14, 11-5, 11-1
Milou van der Heijden bt Annika Wiese 11-7, 11-3, 11-4

 

Hosts France Aim To Shine In Nimes World Team Championship

Official event website: World Women Squash

Hosts France, who recorded a best-ever sixth place in the previous championship yet are seeded ninth in the 2012 WSF Women's World Team Championship, are bidding to reach the last eight again next week in the 18th staging of the biennial World Squash Federation event in the historic city of Nimes.

A record 26 nations will take part in the 2012 championship which is being hosted by Fédération Française de Squash from 12-17 November, and staged in France for the first time in its 33-year history.

The championship in Nimes will be held at the eight-court Club des Costières, and at La Parnasse Arena - where history will be made with action taking place simultaneously on three new state-of-the-art ASB all-glass show courts (pictured below, under construction).

France will be led by Camille Serme, the 23-year-old world No14 from Paris who will be making her fourth successive appearance in the event since making her debut in the 2006 championship in Canada. The former world No7 will be joined in the squad by world No41 Coline Aumard and championship debutantes Maud Duplomb and Laura Pomportes, ranked 71 & 63, respectively.

French team coach Philippe Signoret is looking forward to the championship: "Two years ago, in New Zealand, France achieved its best ranking with sixth place. The fact that the competition is organized in France adds an additional pressure for the team.

"It will be a pleasure to watch the girls progress in front of a French audience, which is rare for internationals events."

France will begin their campaign in Pool H, where they will line up against Germany and Netherlands, the No8 background:. Netherlands are led by world No11 Natalie Grinham. The former Australian is making her fourth appearance in the championship - but has not competed since 2004, and is unbeaten in the event since making her debut in 2000!

England have been named as top background:, with 2008 champions Egypt as second background: and Malaysia expected to finish third for the fourth time in a row..

Signoret admits that France will face some stiff opposition: "England will have a great team with players ranked in the top 10. Malaysia will also be strong, with Nicol David, the world number one and her compatriot Low Wee Wern (the world No11)," said Signoret.

"Egypt also has a strong potential. However, there are other teams that could surprise us, I am thinking about Ireland, who beat us in the European Championship.

"Our first goal is to achieve the quarter-finals and, only at this moment, we could think about the podium."

Pool line-ups (with seeding in brackets):
Pool A: [1] England, [16] Scotland, [23] Republic of Korea
Pool B: [2] Egypt, [15] Wales, [24] Mexico
Pool C: [3] Malaysia, [14] South Africa, [19] China, [26] Spain
Pool D: [4] Hong Kong China, [13] Czech Republic, [20] Colombia, [25] Namibia
Pool E: [5] New Zealand, [12] USA, [22] Japan
Pool F: [6] Australia, [11] Canada, [18] Austria
Pool G: [7] Ireland, [10] India, [17] Argentina
Pool H: [8] Netherlands, [9] France, [21] Germany

Official event website: www.worldwomensquash-nimes2012.fr