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England Win Women's World Team Title In Canada

Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women's World Team Squash Championship, Edmonton, Canada

[1] ENGLAND bt [2] EGYPT 2-0
Vicky Botwright bt Engy Kheirallah 9-3, 8-10, 4-9, 9-7, 9-2 (77m)
Tania Bailey bt Omneya Abdel Kawy 9-2, 9-2, 2-0 ret. (21m)
Jenny Duncalf v Raneem El Weleily (dead rubber - match not played)

3rd place play-off:
Sharon Wee lost to Annelize Naude 1-9, 3-9, 6-9 (27m)
Nicol David bt Vanessa Atkinson 9-6, 9-0, 9-6 (44m)
Tricia Chuah bt Orla Noom 9-3, 9-0, 9-5 (35m)

5th place play-off:
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Diana Argyle 9-10, 9-3, 9-0, 10-9 (54m)
Shelley Kitchen lost to Tenille Swartz 9-1, 7-9, 9-3, 7-9, 0-9 (54m)
Louise Crome bt Karen van der Westhuizen 9-2, 9-5, 9-7 (35m)

7th place play-off:
[9] IRELAND bt [10] FRANCE 2-0
Aisling Blake bt Celia Allamargot 2-9, 6-9, 9-5, 9-0, 9-0 (57m)
Madeline Perry bt Camille Serme 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 (19m)
Laura Mylotte v Soraya Renai (dead rubber - match not played)

9th place play-off:

[8] HONG KONG bt [5] AUSTRALIA 2-0
Annie Au bt Melissa Martin 1-9, 9-3, 9-5, 6-9, 9-5 (75m)
Rebecca Chiu bt Kasey Brown 3-9, 2-9, 9-1, 9-1, 9-6 (75m)
Joey Chan v Amelia Pittock (dead rubber - match not played)

11th place play-off:
[11] USA bt [13] GERMANY 2-1
Meredeth Quick lost to Katharina Witt 10-8, 7-9, 6-9, 3-9 (40m)
Latasha Khan bt Daniela Schumann 9-6, 9-1, 9-3 (26m)
Louisa Hall bt Kathrin Rohrmueller 9-6, 1-9, 9-1, 6-9, 9-5 (40m)

13th place play-off:
[7] CANADA bt [14] JAPAN 2-1
Carolyn Russell bt Chinatsu Matsui 9-5, 7-9, 10-8, 9-5 (59m)
Runa Reta lost to Mami Nishio 8-10, 2-9, 10-8, 9-3, 2-9 (67m)
Alana Miller bt Sachiko Shinta 9-1, 9-4, 9-4 (34m)

15th place play-off:
[15] SPAIN bt [16] AUSTRIA 2-1
Chantal Moros-Pitarch lost to Birgit Coufal 0-9, 5-9, 0-9 (19m)
Elisabet Sado bt Pamela Pancis 6-9, 9-7, 9-7, 9-3 (44m)
Laura Alonso bt Theresa Gradnitzer 9-1, 9-6, 9-2 (23m)

Vicky Botwright bt Annelize Naude 10-8, 9-2, 9-4 (48m)
Tania Bailey bt Vanessa Atkinson 7-9, 9-2, 9-0, 9-10, 9-3 (71m)
Alison Waters bt Orla Noom 9-2, 9-3 (17m)
[2] EGYPT bt [3] MALAYSIA 2-1
Engy Kheirallah bt Sharon Wee 9-0, 9-5, 9-0 (26m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy lost to Nicol David 8-9, 0-9, 0-9 (34m)
Raneem El Weleily bt Tricia Chuah 9-7, 9-2, 10-8 (35m)

5th - 8th place play-offs:
[6] NEW ZEALAND bt [9] IRELAND 3-0
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Aisling Blake 9-0, 7-9, 9-0, 9-3 (47m)
Shelley Kitchen bt Madeline Perry 9-1, 9-3, 9-3 (27m)
Louise Crome bt Laura Mylotte 9-5, 9-4 (16m)
[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [10] FRANCE 2-1
Diana Argyle bt Celia Allamargot 9-1, 9-0, 9-4 (19m)
Tenille Swartz bt Camille Serme 9-3, 9-3, 9-6 (39m)
Karen van der Westhuizen lost to Soraya Renai 4-9, 9-7, 8-10 (20m)

9th - 12th place play-offs:
[8] HONG KONG bt [11] USA 2-1
Christina Mak bt Meredeth Quick 5-9, 7-9, 9-5, 9-0, 9-4 (62m)
Rebecca Chiu bt Latasha Khan 10-9, 9-4, 9-3 (41m)
Annie Au lost to Louisa Hall 6-9, 10-8, 5-9 (31m)
[5] AUSTRALIA bt [13] GERMANY 3-0
Melissa Martin bt Katharina Witt 9-2, 4-9, 5-9, 9-3, 9-4 (54m)
Kasey Brown bt Daniela Schumann 9-0, 9-1, 9-1 (21m)
Amelia Pittock bt Carola Weiss 9-6, 10-9 (29m)

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[14] JAPAN bt [15] SPAIN 3-0
Chinatsu Matsui bt Chantal Moros-Pitarch 9-3, 9-2, 9-3 (36m)
Mami Nishio bt Elisabet Sado 9-2, 9-4, 9-5 (31m)
Sachiko Shinta bt Laura Alonso 9-4, 9-0
[7] CANADA bt [16] AUSTRIA 3-0
Carolyn Russell bt Birgit Coufal 9-3, 9-10, 9-1, 9-3 (41m)
Runa Reta bt Pamela Pancis 9-2, 9-3, 9-6 (39m)
Alana Miller bt Theresa Gradnitzer 9-0, 9-5

[1] ENGLAND bt [6] NEW ZEALAND 3-0
Tania Bailey bt Shelley Kitchen 6-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-2 (59m)
Vicky Botwright bt Jaclyn Hawkes 9-2, 9-4, 9-3 (31m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Louise Crome 9-0, 9-0 (12m)
Vanessa Atkinson bt Aisling Blake 9-1, 8-10, 9-0, 9-0 (30m)
Annelize Naude bt Laura Mylotte 9-5, 9-1, 9-7 (30m)
Orla Noom bt Eleanor Lapthorne 9-6, 9-3 (20m)
[3] MALAYSIA bt [10] FRANCE 3-0
Nicol David bt Camille Serme 9-3, 9-1, 9-1 (24m)
Sharon Wee bt Celia Allamargot 9-1, 9-2, 9-0 (24m)
Tricia Chuah bt Soraya Renai 9-6, 9-0 (16m)
[2] EGYPT bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 3-0
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Tenille Swartz 7-9, 10-8, 9-4, 9-0 (45m)
Engy Kheirallah bt Diana Argyle 9-1, 9-3, 9-1 (26m)
Raneem El Weleily bt Karen van der Westhuizen 9-4, 9-4 (15m)

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[8] HONG KONG bt [14] JAPAN 3-0
Rebecca Chiu bt Mami Nishio 9-2, 9-1, 9-4 (27m)
Christina Mak bt Chinatsu Matsui 9-3, 7-9, 9-5, 9-5 (61m)
Annie Au bt Sachiko Shinta 9-1, 9-0 (14m)
[11] USA bt [15] SPAIN 3-0
Latasha Khan bt Elisabet Sado 10-8, 9-6, 9-6 (27m)
Louisa Hall bt Margaux Moros-Pitarch 9-2, 9-0, 9-2 (18m)
Ivy Pochoda bt Laura Alonso 10-8, 9-3 (18m)
[5] AUSTRALIA bt [16] AUSTRIA 3-0
Kasey Brown bt Pamela Pancis 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 (26m)
Amelia Pittock bt Birgit Coufal 9-2, 9-2, 9-3 (24m)
Dianne Desira bt Kornelia Hofer 9-2, 9-0 (12m)
[13] GERMANY bt [7] CANADA 2-1
Daniela Schumann lost to Runa Reta 2-9, 0-9, 5-9 (25m)
Katharina Witt bt Melanie Jans 9-4, 5-9, 9-5, 9-3 (44m)
Kathrin Rohrmueller bt Carolyn Russell 9-7, 3-9, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4 (67m)

Final qualifying round - Pool A:
[1] ENGLAND bt [16] AUSTRIA 3-0
Alison Waters bt Theresa Gradnitzer 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 (13m)
Tania Bailey bt Pamela Pancis 9-4, 9-3, 9-4 (21m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Birgit Coufal 9-0, 9-0, 9-2 (18m)
[9] IRELAND bt [8] HONG KONG 2-1
Laura Mylotte bt Annie Au 9-4, 9-2, 9-6 (34m)
Madeline Perry lost to Rebecca Chiu 3-9, 4-9, 4-9 (22m)
Aisling Blake bt Christina Mak 9-4, 9-2, 10-8 (39m)

Final positions: 1 England, 2 Ireland, 3 Hong Kong, 4 Austria

Pool B:
[2] EGYPT bt [7] CANADA 2-1
Amnah El Trabolsy lost to Carolyn Russell 9-7, 5-9, 2-9, 0-9 (39m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Runa Reta 9-6, 9-5, 9-2 (37m)
Engy Kheirallah bt Melanie Jans 9-3, 9-0, 9-3 (33m)
[10] FRANCE bt [15] SPAIN 3-0
Soraya Renai bt Laura Alonso 9-7, 9-1, 9-7 (31m)
Camille Serme bt Elisabet Sado 9-2, 9-3, 9-5 (25m)
Celia Allamargot bt Chantal Moros-Pitarch 1-9, 9-3, 9-4, 9-3 (43m)

Final positions: 1 Egypt, 2 France, 3 Canada, 4 Spain

Pool C:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [14] JAPAN 3-0
Tricia Chuah bt Kozue Onizawa 9-0, 10-9, 9-3 (34m)
Nicol David bt Mami Nishio 9-3, 9-2, 9-0 (27m)
Sharon Wee bt Sachiko Shinta 9-6, 10-8, 9-4 (35m)
[6] NEW ZEALAND bt [11] USA 3-0
Louise Crome bt Louisa Hall 9-1, 9-5, 9-6 (25m)
Shelley Kitchen bt Latasha Khan 9-5, 9-0, 9-6 (29m)
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Meredeth Quick 9-0, 9-4, 9-0 (21m)

Final positions: 1 Malaysia, 2 New Zealand, 3 USA, 4 Japan

Pool D:
Orla Noom bt Dianne Desira 9-6, 9-0, 9-6 (29m)
Vanessa Atkinson bt Kasey Brown 9-7, 9-5, 9-0 (30m)
Annelize Naude bt Melissa Martin 9-7, 9-5, 10-9 (43m)
[12] SOUTH AFRICA bt [13] GERMANY 2-1
Karen van der Westhuizen lost to Kathrin Rohrmueller 7-9, 7-9, 9-1, 7-9 (40m)
Tenille Swartz bt Daniela Schumann 9-1, 9-0, 10-8 (28m)
Diana Argyle bt Katharina Witt 5-9, 9-6, 9-4, 9-4 (34m)

Final positions: 1 Netherlands, 2 South Africa, 3 Australia, 4 Germany

2nd Qualifying rounds - Pool A:

[1] ENGLAND bt [8] HONG KONG 3-0
Alison Waters bt Joey Chan 9-4, 9-0, 9-3 (23m)
Vicky Botwright bt Annie Au 9-0, 9-1, 9-1 (19m)
Tania Bailey bt Christina Mak 9-1, 9-1, 9-0 (20m)
[9] IRELAND bt [16] AUSTRIA 3-0
Eleanor Lapthorne bt Kornelia Hofer 9-0, 9-5, 9-0 (25m)
Laura Mylotte bt Birgit Coufal 9-10, 9-0, 9-1, 9-1 (27m)
Aisling Blake bt Pamela Pancis 9-4, 10-8, 9-7 (39m)

Pool B:
[2] EGYPT bt [10] FRANCE 3-0
Raneem El Weleily bt Soraya Renai 9-4, 9-3, 9-7 (27m)
Engy Kheirallah bt Camille Serme 9-1, 9-4, 9-1 (21m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Isabelle Stoehr 4-9, 9-10, 9-4, 10-8, 2-0 ret. (54m)
[7] CANADA bt [15] SPAIN 3-0
Alana Miller bt Margaux Moros-Pitarch 9-2, 9-2, 9-0 (20m)
Carolyn Russell bt Chantal Moros-Pitarch 9-5, 9-1, 9-1 (25m)
Runa Reta bt Elisabet Sado 9-1, 9-3, 9-1 (24m)

Pool C:
Tricia Chuah bt Louise Crome 10-8, 10-9, 9-4 (35m)
Sharon Wee lost to Jaclyn Hawkes 9-3, 7-9, 4-9, 5-9 (36m)
Nicol David bt Shelley Kitchen 9-1, 9-3, 9-4 (35m)
[11] USA bt [14] JAPAN 2-1
Louisa Hall bt Kozue Onizawa 9-3, 9-1, 9-6 (28m)
Meredeth Quick lost to Chinatsu Matsui 2-9, 4-9, 9-5, 0-9 (25m)
Latasha Khan bt Mami Nishio 9-0, 9-4, 9-6 (35m)

Pool D:
Orla Noom bt Diana Argyle 6-9, 9-6, 1-9, 9-5, 9-0 (55m)
Annelize Naude bt Claire Nitch 9-3, 9-2, 3-9, 9-3 (35m)
Vanessa Atkinson bt Tenille Swartz 9-2, 9-0, 9-1 (22m)
[5] AUSTRALIA bt [13] GERMANY 3-0
Dianne Desira bt Kathrin Rohrmueller 0-9, 2-9, 9-0, 9-6, 9-6 (50m)
Melissa Martin bt Katharina Witt 9-2, 9-2, 6-9, 9-3 (33m)
Kasey Brown bt Daniela Schumann 9-2, 9-1, 9-2 (37m)

Qualifying rounds - Pool A:
[1] ENGLAND bt [9] IRELAND 3-0
Tania Bailey bt Aisling Blake 9-1, 9-1, 9-0 (21m)
Vicky Botwright bt Laura Mylotte 9-1, 9-0, 9-1 (20m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Eleanor Lapthorne 9-2, 9-2, 9-4 (28m)
[8] HONG KONG bt [16] AUSTRIA 3-0
Rebecca Chiu bt Pamela Pancis 9-0, 9-3, 9-0 (15m)
Christina Mak bt Birgit Coufal 9-0, 9-4, 9-4 (21m)
Annie Au bt Theresa Gradnitzer 9-3, 9-1, 9-1 (19m)

Pool B:
[2] EGYPT bt [15] SPAIN 3-0
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Elisabet Sado 9-1, 9-1, 9-0 (17m)
Raneem El Weleily bt Margaux Moros-Pitarch 9-0, 9-2, 9-3 (18m)
Amnah El Trabolsy bt Laura Alonso 9-6, 9-6, 9-6 (27m)
[10] FRANCE bt [7] CANADA 2-1
Isabelle Stoehr bt Runa Reta 2-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-3 (48m)
Camille Serme bt Melanie Jans 9-5, 9-5, 5-9, 0-9, 9-2 (62m)
Soraya Renai lost to Carolyn Russell 5-9, 0-9, 9-2, 9-6, 8-10 (42m)

Pool C:
[3] MALAYSIA bt [11] USA 3-0
Nicol David bt Latasha Khan 9-2, 9-0, 9-0 (24m)
Sharon Wee bt Meredeth Quick 9-5, 9-4, 9-1 (40m)
Tricia Chuah bt Louisa Hall 9-1, 9-2, 9-5 (24m)
[6] NEW ZEALAND bt [14] JAPAN 3-0
Shelley Kitchen bt Mami Nishio 9-3, 9-2, 9-3 (29m)
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Chinatsu Matsui 9-3, 6-9, 9-0, 9-7 (48m)
Louise Crome bt Sachiko Shinta 9-0, 9-2, 9-3 (22m)

Pool D:
Vanessa Atkinson bt Katharina Witt 9-1, 9-5, 9-6 (23m)
Annelize Naude bt Kathrin Rohrmueller 9-1, 9-6, 9-2 (26m)
Margriet Huisman lost to Carola Weiss 9-4, 9-6, 6-9, 6-9, 8-10 (62m)
Tenille Swartz lost to Kasey Brown 5-9, 9-5, 7-9, 4-9 (61m)
Claire Nitch bt Melissa Martin 9-7, 10-8, 9-7 (25m)
Diana Argyle bt Amelia Pittock 9-2, 9-3, 9-7 (37m)

England Win Women's World Team Title In Canada
England defeated Egypt 2/0 in the final of the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Canada to reclaim the title they last won on 'home soil' in Sheffield in 2000.

With a squad featuring four players in the world top ten, England were overwhelming favourites to take the 2006 crown – but became world champions for the sixth time since 1985 in impressive style, winning all matches in their ties and dropping only five games throughout the competition.

Despite ending as runners-up, second seeds Egypt are celebrating their highest finish ever after taking fourth place in the past three championships.

The opening clash between the teams' second strings saw England's world No5 Vicky Botwright poised to open up a 2/0 lead over Engy Kheirallah, ranked ten places lower. With game-ball at 8-4 in the second, Botwright had a simple straight forehand drop at the front - while her opponent was stranded at the back of the court and reaching for the door handle.

But Botwright's shot hit the tin – and a succession of missed opportunities later (including hitting a return of serve out of the court) led her to lose the game! Having been handed the momentum, Kheirallah capitalised in the third with a strong range of early takes in the air which led to the Egyptian moving 2/1 ahead.

However, the more experienced 29-year-old from Manchester regained her composure and, after 77 minutes – the longest match of the finals day – Botwright put England ahead with a 9-3, 8-10, 4-9, 9-7, 9-2 victory over the world No15 from Alexandria.

By contrast, the clash between the number ones which followed was a one-sided affair that lasted a mere 21 minutes when Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy, the world No9, conceded victory to England's world No7 Tania Bailey midway through the third game with the score standing at 9-2, 9-2, 2-0.

Kawy had stepped onto the court wearing a bandage on her right calf. "It was too tight yesterday," said the 21-year-old from Cairo. "It felt much better today, but I felt it when I stretched so it was difficult. Squash players use their right leg a lot so it is no good when it doesn't work properly."

But the England team were in celebratory mood at the successful conclusion of their Canadian campaign: "We felt that we played really well all week and are really pleased to have won," said a jubilant Bailey afterwards.

"Engy is playing very well at the minute, so we knew she would be tough. I was relieved when Vicky came through so I went on one up," added the Lincolnshire lass from Stamford who now has the ideal present to celebrate her 27th birthday on Monday (2 October).

In the battle for third place, third seeds Malaysia beat Netherlands, the fourth seeds, 2/1 after world number one Nicol David levelled the tie by beating her Netherlands' rival Vanessa Atkinson – a former world number one - 9-6, 9-0, 9-6 in 44 minutes. Tricia Chuah went on to clinch victory for the Asian nation with a 9-3, 9-0, 9-5 win over Orla Noom to give Malaysia their first top three finish in eight appearances in the event since 1990.

Despite winning the play-off for fifth place, sixth seeds New Zealand marked their lowest finish in the event since making their debut in 1981 – but runners-up South Africa will not be unhappy with sixth place after beginning the event as 12th seeds and losing veteran captain Claire Nitch to injury early in the 2006 campaign.

Teenager Tenille Swartz rounded off her Edmonton experience with the biggest scalp of her short career. The 19-year-old South African from Parys, who has yet to make her debut on the WISPA World Tour, beat New Zealand's world No12 Shelley Kitchen – bronze medallist in this year's Commonwealth Games – 1-9, 9-7, 3-9, 9-7, 9-0 in 54 minutes.

The disappointing run of defending champions Australia took a turn for the worse when they lost 2/0 to Hong Kong in the play-off for 9th place. Melissa Martin and Kasey Brown both endured 75-minute battles – but 17-year-old Annie Au beat Martin 1-9, 9-3, 9-5, 6-9, 9-5 and Asian Games champion Rebecca Chiu defeated Brown 3-9, 2-9, 9-1, 9-1, 9-6.

The outcome sees Australia finish outside the top three for the first time since the inaugural event in 1979 – while Hong Kong celebrate their best conclusion in eight appearances since 1985. England & Egypt Battle Into World Final
Favourites England will face Egypt, the No2 seeds, in the final of the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Canada – England beating fourth seeds Netherlands to reach the event's climax for the seventh successive time since 1992, while Egypt overcame Malaysia, the third seeds in their maiden semi-final appearance, 2/1 to reach the final for the first time.

Squad number two Vicky Botwright put England into a commanding position in the first semi-final by beating her Dutch opponent Annelize Naude 10-8, 9-2, 9-4. “I wanted to get the team to a good start, and knew there was more pressure on me because I am higher ranked than Annelize," said the 29-year-old from Manchester afterwards. "I think she may have been disappointed in not winning that tight first game which I won 10-8, and in the second and third games she perhaps tried too hard, making too many errors.”

In the second match, England's British National Champion Tania Bailey, ranked seven in the world, took on world No2 Vanessa Atkinson. Bailey was 2/1 up, with two match-balls from 8-5 in the fourth, when Atkinson, a former world champion and world number one from The Hague, mounted a major comeback to force the match into a fifth game decider.

But Bailey, 26, from Lincolnshire, maintained her composure to record her second win of the year over her higher-ranked opponent by a 7-9, 9-2, 9-0, 9-10, 9-3 scoreline. “I felt really comfortable with the ball, moving on the court, and enjoying the game,” said Bailey after the marathon 71-minute victory which ensured England a place in the final.

By contrast, Egypt had a tougher battle to claim their debut appearance in the world team final. Although Engy Kheirallah defeated Sharon Wee of Malaysia 9-0, 9-5, 9-0 in just 26 minutes in the first match, it seemed that Egypt might take the second match when Omneya Abdel Kawy took Malaysia's world No1 Nicol David to the limit in the first game.

When David tied the first game at 8-8, Kawy called “set one”, and returned David’s serve with a crosscourt nick. She repeated that a second consecutive time, however, but David hit a winner when she had “game point” for the third time. Kawy was so extended from the first game that David easily took the next two games to level the tie with a 9-8, 9-0, 9-0 victory.

The turning point in the deciding match between Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily and Malaysia’s Tricia Chuah came from a missed winning drop shot by Chuah when serving at 7-8. The Egyptian then hit a winning drop shot the next rally to win the game 9-7. From there on, Chuah could not sustain any momentum in the second game, and in the third game – despite leading 6-3 and 7-5 - she seemed to lose her concentration. Nonetheless, El Weleily displayed some excellent winners in boasts and soft drop shots to record a 9-7, 9-2, 10-8 win to give Egypt a berth in the final for the first time.

When asked afterwards if she expected to win her match, the 17-year-old Egyptian answered: "It is not so much the expectation, but rather all the pressure that is placed on you to win for your team.”

Perhaps the surprise nation of the Championship is South Africa. Seeded 12, the team continued their winning ways with a 2/1 victory over 10th seeds France to earn a place in the play-off for 5th place after finishing 10th two years ago. Even though France were missing their squad No1 Isabelle Stoehr, South Africa’s coach Richard Castle, said: “If Claire (Nitch) too was playing, then I think the result would have being the same.” Nitch suffered a knee injury in her second match forcing her out of the Championship. This is Nitch’s 8th World Team Championship, and probably her last - indeed she is one of the “veterans” of this Championship.

Finals day play-offs:

Final: [1] ENGLAND v [2] EGYPT
3rd place play-off: [3] MALAYSIA v [4] NETHERLANDS
5th place play-off: [6] NEW ZEALAND v [12] SOUTH AFRICA
7th place play-off: [9] IRELAND v [10] FRANCE
9th place play-off: [5] AUSTRALIA v [8] HONG KONG
11th place play-off: [11] USA v [13] GERMANY
13th place play-off: [7] CANADA v [14] JAPAN
15th place play-off: [15] SPAIN v [16] AUSTRIA

Top Seeds Advance To World Semi-Finals in Edmonton
The top four seeds – England, Egypt, Malaysia and Netherlands - all advanced to the semi-finals of the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship after straightforward 3/0 wins on the first day of knockout action in Edmonton, Canada.

Hosts Canada, the seventh seeds relegated to the play-offs for the 9-16 positions after losing to 10th seed France in the earlier qualifying rounds, went down to 13th seeds Germany in a dramatic tie which went to the wire.

Favourites England faced sixth seeds New Zealand – and were tested for the first time in the event. Top string Tania Bailey was forced to come back from a game down in the opening tie against Shelley Kitchen before winning 6-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-2 in 59 minutes – a period only three minutes shorter than the total playing time of Bailey's three earlier qualifying matches!

Vicky Botwright took 31 minutes to win her match 9-2, 9-4, 9-3 over kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes to give England the overall victory.

Egypt's top string Omneya Abdel Kawy also had trouble with her opponent Tenille Swartz as the 19-year-old South African took the first game 9-7, and continued to force Kawy to make errors well into the second game. But Kawy – ranked 174 places higher than her opponent in the world rankings - prevailed and drew level before settling down to record a 7-9, 10-8, 9-4, 9-0 victory in 45 minutes.

Engy Kheirallah kept a fast pace throughout her match against Diana Argyle and won easily 9-1, 9-3, 9-1 to give second seeds Egypt a place in the semi-finals for the fourth time in a row.

Third seeds Malaysia won easily over France, with the 10th seeds missing their No1 player Isabelle Stoehr due to a foot injury. Nicol David showed her true form as world No1, dominating the 'T' while moving Camille Serme, the 17-year-old European Junior Champion, around the court and forcing several errors. David won 9-3, 9-1, 9-1. Second string Sharon Wee was too strong for France's Celia Allamargot, whom she beat 9-1, 9-2, 9-0 to ensure Malaysia a place in the last four for the first time in eight championship appearances since 1990.

Vanessa Atkinson, the Netherlands' number one, lost her second game to Aisling Blake of Ireland, but then settled down without losing a further point to take the match 9-1, 8-10, 9-0, 9-0. Annelize Naude took the fourth-seeded Dutch team through to the semi-finals – for the first time since 1992 - with a 9-5, 9-1, 9-7 victory over the Irish number two Laura Mylotte.

Canada showed some nervousness against the inspired lower-seeded team from Germany. Squad No1 Runa Reta started the hosts in the right direction with a convincing 9-2, 9-0, 9-5 win over Daniela Schumann.

The next match between the second seeds, however, was a cliff-hanger! Germany’s Katharina Witt prevailed over Melanie Jans 9-4, 5-9, 9-5, 9-3 with a series of effective winning boasts and drops. The third and deciding match went to five games – and lasted a tense 67 minutes for the partisan Canadian crowd.

The German number three Kathrin Rohrmueller won the first game 9-7 over Carolyn Russell. But the 32-year-old from Vancouver came back to win the second and third games to move 2/1 ahead. In the fourth game, neither player wanted to play winners – and rallies were long. But more errors by Russell enabled Rohrmueller to draw level.

Rohrmueller rolled to a quick 4-0 lead in the decider, then extended it to 7-0 before Russell won four points in a row to bring it to 4-7. Surviving one match ball, Russell succumbed to Rohrmueller when the German hit a winning shot down the wall to win 9-7, 3-9, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4.

Semi-final line-up:
5th - 8th place play-offs:
9th - 12th place play-offs:
[8] HONG KONG v [11] USA; [5] AUSTRALIA v [13] GERMANY
13th - 16th place play-offs:
[14] JAPAN v [15] SPAIN; [16] AUSTRIA v [7] CANADA

Ireland, France & South Africa Earn Last Eight Slots In Edmonton
Ireland upset eighth seeds Hong Kong on the final day of qualifying action in the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship to join surprise quarter-finalists France and South Africa in the play-offs for the last eight positions in Edmonton, Canada.

After Laura Mylotte put Ireland, the ninth seeds, ahead with a 9-4, 9-2, 9-6 victory over Annie Au, Hong Kong drew level in the Pool A tie when Rebecca Chiu, the Asian Games champion, beat Madeline Perry in straight games.

Perry was less than 100% during the match. "I had food poisoning on Saturday and I've lost a bit of weight and was feeling weak," said the Irish number one. "I practiced this morning and felt okay but I just wasn't at full strength as it went on. Hopefully lots of food and a rest day will see me better prepared for my next match."

Irish eyes were smiling later, however, when Dublin-born Aisling Blake defeated Hong Kong's Christina Mak 9-4, 9-2, 10-8 in the decider to earn Ireland only their second top eight finish since 1990.

Favourites England cruised to their third successive 3/0 win, beating 16th seeds Austria in less than an hour of playing time to finish in pole position in Pool A.

France, the 10th seeds, consolidated their upset over hosts Canada, the seventh seeds, on the first day by beating 15th seeds Spain 3/0 to earn runners-up position in Pool B behind second seeds Egypt – thus denying Canada a place in the quarter-finals.

The biggest shock outcome took place in Pool D, where fourth seeds Netherlands beat defending champions Australia to consign the fifth seeds to a place in the play-offs for the 9th–16th places. The result will be Australia's first finish outside the top three in the 27-year history of the tournament!

Australia's gloom was countered by South Africa's glee after the 12th seeds followed up their earlier upset over Australia by beating Germany 2/1. In the absence of injured captain Claire Nitch, South Africans Tenille Swartz and Diana Argyle countered the loss by team-mate Karen van der Westhuizen by defeating Daniela Schumann and Katharina Witt, respectively, to clinch second place in Pool D – and a place in the last eight play-offs for the first time since 2000.

Quarter-final line-up:

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[8] HONG KONG v [14] JAPAN
[11] USA v [15] SPAIN

Top Seeds Head Towards World Team Championships Quarter-Finals
The top four seeds earned their second successive victories on the second day of qualifying action in the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship in Edmonton, Canada.

Favourites England are through to the quarter-finals after beating Hong Kong 3/0 in Pool A, but Hong Kong, the eighth seeds and ninth seeds Ireland are poised for a battle to join them.

Hosts Canada made up for their shock first day loss to France by beating 15th seeds Spain 3/0 in Pool B. Second seeds Egypt brushed aside France, the 10th seeds, 3/0 – leaving seventh seeds Canada consigned to missing out on a top eight finish unless they can improbably beat Pool favourites Egypt in the final qualifying round - or squeeze through on countback should the French team to lose to Spain.

France suffered a setback when squad number one Isabelle Stoehr was forced to retire early in fifth game of her match with Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy, with a recurrence of the foot problem that hindered her progress in last week's British Open.

Stoehr opened up a two-game lead against Kawy, ranked seven places higher in the world, before going down 4-9, 9-10, 9-4, 10-8, 2-0 in 54 minutes. "I felt it in the middle of the fourth when I pushed off. It was like a knife through my muscle. I could be out for a few weeks,” said the disconsolate 27-year-old as she limped away from the centre court clutching an ice pack.

Pool C hinges on the winners of New Zealand v USA for second spot behind third seeds Malaysia, who beat New Zealand 2/1 when world number one Nicol David crushed the kiwi number one Shelley Kitchen 9-1, 9-3, 9-4 in the decider.

Pool D, rocked by the first day's defeat of defending champions Australia by South Africa, saw fourth seeds Netherlands beat South Africa, the 12th seeds, 3/0 and fifth seeds Australia redeem themselves with a 3/0 win over 13th seeds Germany. The likely battle for second place behind Netherlands could be influenced by a knee injury sustained by South Africa's first round heroine Claire Nitch. South Africa need to beat Germany to claim an unexpected place in the last eight.

Nitch, the 35-year-old from Johannesburg who retired from the WISPA World Tour six years ago, injured the knee in her 9-3, 9-2, 3-9, 9-3 loss to Dutch No2 Annelize Naude. "I tried to get my head out of the way, my body went one way and my knee didn't follow,' said the South African as she held an ice pack to her strained knee. "I hope I will be able to play later in the week."

South Africa Upset Women's World Team Champions Australia
South Africa caused the headlines on the opening day's play in the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship with a 2/1 victory over title-holders Australia in the first qualifying round in Edmonton, Canada.

Despite fielding an under-strength squad - as a result of the absence of sisters Rachael and Natalie Grinham, ranked three and four in the world, respectively – Australia are seeded five, seven places higher than South Africa.

Australia were on course for their expected victory, however, when Queenslander Kasey Brown defeated South African teenager Tenille Swartz 9-5, 5-9, 9-7, 9-4 in 61 minutes. But squad No2 Claire Nitch, the 35-year-old South African who retired from the WIPSA World Tour six years ago, played a true 'captain's innings' when she defeated world No27 Melissa Martin 9-7, 10-8, 9-7 in just 25 minutes.

The 12th seeds achieved their historic victory when Johannesburg part-timer Diana Argyle fought back from 4-7 down in the third game to beat Australia's Amelia Pittock, ranked 31 in the world, 9-2, 9-3, 9-7!

"I was a bit uncertain, but when Claire won I knew I had a chance too," said Argyle later. "We're ecstatic!"

South Africa coach Richard Castle added: "It is the first time we've ever beaten Australia. A fantastic effort from the team which showed that their work this year has been worth it."

Meanwhile, favourites England coasted to a 3/0 win over ninth seeds Ireland, as Tania Bailey, Vicky Botwright and Jenny Duncalf crushed their opponents for the loss of just 12 points in little more than an hour's play.

Second seeds Egypt and third seeds Malaysia also secured 3/0 wins in their opening clashes with Spain and USA, respectively. Fourth seeds Netherlands dropped a match against Germany, however, but ultimately overcame the 13th seeds 2/1.