Double delight for hosts France on opening day in Paris
By HOWARD HARDING in Paris
Hosts France delighted the partisan crowd on the opening day of action in the WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship in Paris with 3/0 victories over both Spain and Germany.
Competing at the historic Jeu de Paume club – the country’s oldest squash club, which celebrated its centenary eight years ago – the fifth seeds employed the same line-up for both ties in Pool D, fourth string Laura Pomportes giving the hosts the lead, then squad number one Camille Serme clinching victory before second string Coline Aumard ensured maximum points.
“We deliberately used the same players for both ties as we knew we’d be playing on the same courts, so it made sense,” explained national coach Philippe Signoret afterwards. “But it was not easy and the girls played well to give us the best possible result on the opening day.”
It is the second time in four years that France has hosted the biennial championship. Signoret added: “We allowed the pressure of being hosts get to us last time in Nimes – but this time we are determined to enjoy the opportunity of playing in front of a home crowd. It is pressure, but a different kind of pressure.
“Our girls have had some good results on the Tour over the past few months so, although we are seeded outside the top four, we are aiming for medals.”
Hong Kong China, the fourth seeds and France’s main rivals in Pool D, also played twice at Jeu de Paume – but were given a shock in their final match against Spain, the 17th seeds, when 18-year-old Cristina Gomez, ranked outside the world top 200, defeated Hong Kong’s experienced world No.29 Liu Tsz-Ling in four games to reduce the higher-seeded nation’s win to 2-1.
It was over at the second venue St Cloud Squash that the tie featuring the highest-ranked players saw favourites Egypt beat India, the ninth seeds, 3/0. Third string Omneya Abdel Kawy began her historic tenth successive appearance in the championships in appropriate style by despatching India’s 17-year-old event debutante Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-7, 11-7, 11-2.
World number one Nour El Sherbini needed 34 minutes to see off top-ranked Indian Joshna Chinappa 11-5, 11-6, 15-13, before the Egyptian No.2 Nouran Gohar, ranked three in the world, recovered from a game down to beat Dipika Pallikal Karthik 4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 in 39 minutes.
“It was a tricky opening tie for us,” admitted Egypt’s National Coach Amr Shabana. “India is a top eight country in my view, so it was a good match for us to win.
“Our girls had to be on their toes to get the result they did. I was very happy with the way they performed.”
Defending champions England also began with a positive win, beating Canada 3-0 in Pool B. Veteran campaigners Laura Massaro and Alison Waters – ranked two and 10 in the world, respectively, and enjoying their fifth appearance in the championship – both secured straight games victories, as did third string Sarah-Jane Perry.
WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship, Paris, France
1st Qualifying rounds – Pool A:
 EGYPT bt  INDIA 3/0
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Sunayna Kuruvilla 11-7, 11-7, 11-2 (18m)
Nour El Sherbini bt Joshna Chinappa 11-5, 11-6, 15-13 (34m)
Nouran Gohar bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik 4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (39m)
 NEW ZEALAND bt  MEXICO 3/0
Amanda Landers-Murphy bt Luz López Dominguez 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (25m)
Joelle King bt Diana Garcia 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 (19m)
Megan Craig bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 (14m)
 ENGLAND bt  CANADA 3/0
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Nikki Todd 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (22m)
Laura Massaro bt Samantha Cornett 12-10, 11-9, 11-5 (28m)
Alison Waters bt Danielle Letourneau 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)
 USA bt  WALES 3/0
Reeham Sedky bt Lowri Roberts 11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1 (34m)
Amanda Sobhy bt Tesni Evans 6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 (55m)
Olivia Blatchford bt Hannah Davies 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 (19m)
 MALAYSIA bt  NETHERLANDS 3/0
Sivasangari Subramaniam bt Tessa ter Sluis 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (24m)
Nicol David bt Natalie Grinham 11-6, 11-3, 11-1
Delia Arnold bt Milou van der Heijden 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5 (43m)
 AUSTRALIA bt  AUSTRIA 3/0
Tamika Saxby bt Judith van der Merwe 11-1, 11-3, 11-4 (15m)
Donna Urquhart bt Birgit Coufal 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 (19m)
Rachael Grinham bt Sandra Polak 11-2, 11-4, 11-3 (14m)
 HONG KONG CHINA bt  JAPAN 3/0
Liu Tsz-Ling bt Risa Sugimoto 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (24m)
Annie Au bt Misaki Kobayashi 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (21m)
Joey Chan bt Satomi Watanabe 11-4, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (44m)
 FRANCE bt  SPAIN 3/0
Laura Pomportes bt Marina de Juan Gallach 13-11, 11-5, 11-6 (32m)
Camille Serme bt Xisela Aranda 11-4, 11-1, 11-4 (20m)
Coline Aumard bt Cristina Gomez 13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (56m)
 FRANCE bt  GERMANY 3/0
Laura Pomportes bt Saskia Beinhard 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (20m)
Camille Serme bt Sina Wall 11-3, 11-4, 11-1 (17m)
Coline Aumard bt Sharon Sinclair 11-6, 11-2, 8-11, 6-11, 11-3 (48m)
 HONG KONG CHINA bt  SPAIN 2/1
Tong Tsz-Wing bt Marina de Juan Gallach 11-8, 11-9, 11-0 (30m)
Annie Au bt Xisela Aranda 11-1, 11-9, 11-9 (23m)
Liu Tsz-Ling lost to Cristina Gomez 7-11, 11-7, 10-12, 9-11 (60m)
Pictures courtesy of WSF