Friday, January 27, 2023

Ukraine defeated on debut at Women’s World Teams in Cairo

By Mike Dale

Ukraine made their debut in the WSF Women’s World Team Championship on Sunday at the Madinaty Sporting Club in Cairo, Egypt.

Ukraine, whose juniors also made a debut appearance in this summer’s WSF World Junior Championship, marked a first ever appearance at the Women’s World Teams with a 3-0 defeat to Hong Kong in the morning session and then a second whitewash against England in the evening session.

However, Ukraine coach Kostiantyn Rybalchenko was in an upbeat mood afterwards, despite the defeats. “This is a perfect time for our team and our country to be represented and competing in this championship. It’s such good news for us,” he said.

Canada survived a challenging encounter with Wales to win their first tie. Wales – who prior to the tournament had been expected to be seeded fourth until they lost World No.13 Tesni Evans to injury on the eve on the tournament – made an inauspicious start as Stacey Gooding was dispatched by Nikole Todd in just 18 minutes, but fought back brilliantly in the second match through Lowri Roberts.

World No.151 Roberts went 2-0 down to World No.50 Nicole Bunyan, before targeting the back corners well in a spirited comeback as she levelled the tie with a 3-2 victory.

Canadian No.1 and world no.17 Hollie Naughton, however, was able to keep her cool in the decider against Welsh world no.21 Emily Whitlock in an entertaining clash, with Commonwealth Games silver medallist Naughton recording a 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7 victory in 42 minutes to win the tie.

“I think it was a good team performance, Nicole [Bunyan] was unlucky. Nikki played great and Hollie is a great number one; it was a super strong performance!” Canada’s coach Vicky Lust said afterwards.

For the rest of the seeded teams, the day was a largely trouble-free affair. Top seeds and defending champions Egypt, playing in the day’s final match on the outdoor court, were in ruthless form even without world no.1 Nouran Gohar, with Nour El Tayeb, Hania El Hammamy and Nour El Sherbini easily brushing aside the Welsh team playing its second tie of the day.

USA, seeded to challenge Egypt for the title in the final, were also in top form, with Olivia Clyne, Sabrina Sobhy and Olivia Fiechter breezing past Germany’s Maya Weishar, Katerina Tycova and Saskia Beinhard.

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