Home Pairs Claim Surprise Semi Slots at World Doubles in Manchester
The quarter-final stage of the WSF World Doubles Squash Championships in England produced two surprise semi-final pairs for the hosts at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
Jenny Duncalf & Alison Waters, the fifth seeds who upset the form book by beating higher-seeded English compatriots Laura Massaro & Sarah-Jane Perry to finish in pole position in Pool D in the Women’s event, secured their place in the last four when sixth-seeded Malaysian pair Rachel Arnold & Nicol David were forced to concede the match due to an injury to Arnold.
“It’s never the way you want to win,” said Duncalf (pictured above with Waters, commiserating with Arnold & David), a former world No.2 from Harrogate. “But we’re delighted to be in the semis.”
The English underdogs will face second seeds Joshna Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal Karthik after the Indians – winners of the Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2014 in Glasgow – survived a close three-game tussle with Canadians Samantha Cornett & Nikki Todd, dropping the first game but pulling away at the end of the third.
“They played well and surprised us,” admitted Pallikal. “We’re just glad to get through that one and be in the semis.”
England’s other unexpected semi-finalists are Declan James & James Willstrop, the fifth seeds in the Men’s event who upset the third-seeded Australian duo Zac Alexander & David Palmer (all pictured below) 11-10, 6-11, 11-9 in 77 minutes.
“My partner played brilliantly tonight,” Willstrop, 33, said. “He had to put up with a lot of striking down the backhand side and you don’t get the rewards straight away in doubles and you have to have the mental strength to keep going and know that the momentum can swing in your favour in the match.
“I had complete confidence in Dec tonight, it was coming on to his forehand a lot and he handled it.”
The longest game in the event so far came only hours James & Willstrop had to book their place in the quarter-finals by beating Scots Douglas Kempsell & Kevin Moran in the third and final Pool round.
There will also be Australian and New Zealand interest in both the Men’s and Women’s semi-finals.
Rachael Grinham, the former world number from Queensland who is bidding for a record fourth World Doubles gold medal in Manchester, partnered Donna Urquhart to a 10-11, 11-9, 11-8 win over England’s Massaro & Perry.
“It was all Rachael today,” said left-hander Urquhart (hugging Grinham above). “It was her type of crosscourt game and she played really well to get us back into it in the third.”
Scotland’s men’s title-holders Alan Clyne & Greg Lobban extended their unbeaten run in the event with an 11-4, 11-7 win over Welsh pair Peter Creed & Joel Makin.
“We played good doubles in the first game, moving them around and controlling things,” said Clyne. “The second was a bit messy, but we worked well together to get through. It’s good to get another two-nil win under our belts.”
A full day of action in the Mixed event produced the line-up for Friday’s quarter-finals – which includes outsiders Lisa Aitken & Douglas Kempsell, the 13/16 seeds from Scotland who scored their fourth successive pool win today by beating South Africans Milnay Louw & Christo Potgieter 11-5, 11-8.
In only their second ever appearance in the World Doubles Championships, Colombia achieved their first win today when 13/16 seeds Catalina Pelaez & Andrés Herrera beat Scots Carrie Hallam & Chris Leiper (pictured below) in straight games in the final pool round in the Mixed event.
 Alan Clyne & Greg Lobban (SCO) bt  Peter Creed & Joel Makin (WAL) 11-4, 11-7 (37m)
 Paul Coll & Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt  Tom Richards & Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-7, 11-7 (47m)
 Declan James & James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Zac Alexander & David Palmer (AUS) 11-10, 6-11, 11-9 (77m)
 Ryan Cuskelly & Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Dylan Bennett & Piedro Schweertman (NED) 11-7, 11-1 (20m)
 Joelle King & Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) bt  Tesni Evans & Deon Saffery (WAL) 11-9, 11-8 (38m)
 Rachael Grinham & Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt  Laura Massaro & Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 10-11, 11-9, 11-8 (54m)
 Jenny Duncalf & Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Rachel Arnold & Nicol David (MAS) w/o
 Joshna Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) bt  Samantha Cornett & Nikki Todd (CAN) 10-11, 11-6, 11-8 (44m)
MIXED quarter-final line-up:
Lisa Aitken & Douglas Kempsell (SCO) v  Tesni Evans & Peter Creed (WAL)
 Donna Urquhart & Cameron Pilley (AUS) v  Alison Waters & Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Rachael Grinham & David Palmer (AUS) v  Joshna Chinappa & Vikram Malhotra (IND)
 Dipika Pallikal Karthik & Saurav Ghosal (IND) v  Joelle King & Paul Coll (NZL)