Tuesday, February 7, 2023

England crash to Hong Kong but reach Women’s World Teams quarter-final

By Mike Dale

No.3 seeds England lost to Hong Kong, China, on the final day of the pools stage of the WSF Women’s World Team Championship but will still take their place in the quarter-finals.

On the indoor glass court at the Madinaty Sporting Club, Asian Team champions Hong Kong made a strong start as world No.37 Sin Yuk Chan came from 2-1 down to beat world No.22 Jasmine Hutton.

Hong Kong, China had a chance to finish the tie inside of two matches when their No.1 Tomato Ho went 2-1 up against Sarah-Jane Perry, only for the England no.1 to roar back with a bagel and then a comprehensive 11-4 to level the tie.

England appeared to be out of the woods when world No.31 Lucy Turmel opened a 2-0 lead over Tsz-Wing Tong. Tong, however, mounted a brilliant comeback of her own to stun the seven-time champions, with the world No.44 pounding the glass in delight after taking the final three games 11-8, 11-5, 11-9.

Afterwards, Hong Kong, China coach Peter Genever said: “I’m delighted. They played really well but that was a really good tie, and a tough one, with them all going to five games. I’m really pleased.

“We all know [Tong] is a fighter. At 2-0 down things didn’t look that good, but once she got that third game we thought ‘she’s renowned for sticking in there and being tough to beat’ and thankfully she did that again today.”

In a rematch of last month’s Asian Team Championship final, Hong Kong, China, will face Malaysia in Wednesday’s quarter-finals after the 5/6 seeds fell to a 2-1 defeat to no.4 seeds France.

France, whose Camille Serme and Melissa Alves impressed in taking the first two matches of the Malaysia tie, will take on England.

Prior to France’s tie on the outdoor glass court, defending champions and top seeds Egypt continued their comfortable progress through the competition and they romped to victory against 7/8 seeds Canada.

Canada, who opted to rest their no.1, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Hollie Naughton, were unable to lay a glove on Egypt in a brutally one-sided tie, with Nour El Sherbini, Nouran Gohar and Nour El Tayeb needing a total of just 57 minutes to deliver the win.

“All the girls are in top form, despite them all coming from the Hong Kong [Open], where they all had very tough matches. Their performances today were spot on,” Egypt coach Engy Kheirallah said.

Canada will go into a North American derby with neighbours USA on Wednesday after the no.2 seeds easily dismantled 7/8 seeds Scotland, who were without their no.1 Lisa Aitken after the World No.28 was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to an injury suffered in Monday’s match with Australia’s Donna Lobban.

Despite the defeat, Scotland go through to the quarter-finals as runners up in Pool B. They will face Egypt in the first tie on the outdoor glass court, which takes place at 17:30.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Switzerland, Australia, South Africa and Finland in their final pool ties.

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