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Squash World Cup 2023: Day one as it happens

After a 12-year absence, the Squash World Cup is back.

We’ll be bringing reports and reactions from the SDAT WSF Squash World Cup as they happen right here, and you can watch live and free worldwide on WORLDSQUASH.TV and on the Olympic Channel, while viewers in India can watch on JioCinema.

Japan prove World Cup credentials with entertaining South Africa win

In an entertaining opener, Japan made the perfect start to their World Cup campaign with a 3-1 win against South Africa.

Tomotaka Endo got the No.3 seeds off to a good start in a fast-paced game that instantly highlighted the merits of the ’T20 of squash’.

In a frenetic first match, the Japan No.2 took the first game against Jean-Pierre Brits 7-4 but was pegged back 7-1 in game two.

The pair continued to exchanged furious rallies and points, with Brits then moving ahead with a 7-2 victory in the third, only for Endo to strike back to restore parity by taking game four 7-3.

Both men went all out for a vital first-match win in game five and at stages it looked like Brits was going to give the underdogs a crucial point, only for Endo to drag himself over the line with a hard-fought 7-5 win.

After Endo’s win, Japan turned the screw, with World No.18 Satomi Watanabe beating Lizelle Muller 3-0 and Ryunosuke Tsukue beating Dewald van Niekerk 3-1.

There was some consolation and a valuable winning point in the fourth match as Hayley Ward battled back to beat Akari Midorikawa 3-1.

Speaking after his match, Endo said: “It’s totally different squash – the pace is super fast! I’ve never played this fast and it’s so hard to hit your drop shots at this pace but you’ve got to manage it. It’s definitely more difficult than I expected, but more fun!

“Usually in an 11-point game, if you’re 5-1 down, you can still come back. But at 5-1 here, you feel so stressed and under so much pressure.

“It’s super hot outside but inside this shopping mall we’re in a great area and it’s a great atmosphere!”

Result: SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool B

[3] Japan 3-1 South Africa [7]
Tomotaka Endo beat Jean-Pierre Brits 3-2: 7-4, 1-7, 2-7, 7-3, 7-5 (45m)
Satomi Watanabe beat Lizelle Muller 3-0: 7-2, 7-1, 7-2 (17m)
Ryunosuke Tsukue beat Dewald van Niekerk 3-1: 4-7, 7-5, 7-5, 7-3 (33m)
Akari Midorikawa lost to Hayley Ward 3-1: 7-5 5-7 1-7 2-7 (24m)

Egypt record clean sweep against Australia

In the day’s second tie, top seeds Egypt showed their class as they shut out Australia.

Karim El Hammamy bounced back from a troubled start in the opening match, with the World No.42 taken by surprise by the intensity of Australia’s Nicholas Calvert, who played the fast conditions better in the opener to take the first game 7-5.

El Hammamy, however, recovered quickly, dominating the rest of the contest with a pair of 7-3 wins, which came either side of a brutal bagel, the first of the World Cup.

The second match, between Fayrouz Aboelkheir and Jessica Turnbull followed a similar pattern, with Turnbull starting brighter in taking the opening game only for Aboelkheir to settle and take the next three all by a 7-4 scoreline.

From here, Egypt pressed home their advantage. First, rising star and World No.21 Aly Abou Eleinen fired Egypt into a 3-0 lead with a straight-games victory over Joseph White, with the second game utilising the sudden death scoring at 6-6.

Then, in the fourth match, Kenzy Ayman ensured the first clean sweep of the tournament with a 3-0 win of her own against Alexandra Haydon.

Afterwards, Ayman said: “I’m really happy with my performance altogether and really happy to win.

“I hope we play tomorrow like we did today and am very excited – I hope we win 4-0 again!”

Result: SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool A

[1] Egypt 4-0 Australia [5]
Karim El Hammamy beat Nicholas Calvert 3-1: 5-7, 7-3, 7-0, 7-3 (29m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir beat Jessica Turnbull 3-1: 5-7, 7-4, 7-4, 7-4 (23m)
Aly Abou Eleinen beat Joseph White 3-0: 7-1, 7-6, 7-2 (21m)
Kenzy Ayman beat Alexandra Haydon  3-0: 7-5, 7-3, 7-4 (20m)

Rapid start sees Malaysia beat Colombia

 

In the third tie of the day, Malaysia came out on top against Colombia.

Malaysia came out of the block flying, with Sai Hung Ong setting the pace with a 16-minute 3-0 win against Alfonso Marroquin.

Aira Azman and Darren Pragasam kept up the relentless pressure with two rapid wins of their own, with Azman  recovering from a difficult start as she came from behind to beat Laura Tovar 3-1 in 19 minutes and Pragasam needing just 14 minutes to see off Felipe Tovar in straight games.

The fourth match, however, was a far rockier affair for the No.4 seeds as Colombia’s Catalina Pelaez got the better of Xin Ying Yee with a an excellent performance, playing excellent squash and taking full advantage of errors from Yee to take a valuable point with a 3-1 win.

Afterwards, Malaysia coach Jess Tay said: “I thought they played well. The first three played really well and I’m quite happy with our performance. Our last player there was maybe some slight nervousness. We’ll pick her back up and hopefully do well in the next game.

“The first match is very important as a confidence boost, and we’ll do some reviewing about how we approach tomorrow.”

Result: SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool A
[4] Malaysia 3-1 Colombia [8]

Sai Hung Ong beat Alfonso Marroquin 3-0: 7-2, 7-3, 7-4 (16m)
Aira Azman beat Laura Tovar 3-1: 5-7, 7-0, 7-3, 7-1 (19m)
Darren Pragasam beat Felipe Tovar 3-0: 7-2, 7-2, 7-2 (14m)
Xin Ying Yee lost to Catalina Pelaez 1-3: 6-7, 6-7, 7-2, 5-7 (21m)

Hosts enjoy perfect day

No.2 seeds India, backed by a boisterous crowd inside Chennai’s Express Avenue Mall, made the ideal start to their Pool B campaign with four wins out of four against Hong Kong, China.

Chennai natives Abhay Singh and Joshna Chinappa started strongly for the hosts, recording straight-game victories over Chung Yat Long and Heylie Fung as the home side raced into a 2-0 lead.

The No.6 seeds briefly threatened to spoil the party when Andes Ling took the first game of his match against Saurav Ghosal, only for the Indian No.1 – who became the first Indian squash player to win an individual medal at the Commonwealth Games last summer when he won bronze in Birmingham – to respond with three convincing victories.

In a thrilling final match of the day, Tanvi Khanna fell behind 2-0 to Toby Tse but fought back to 3-2 to ensure India finished with four wins from four.

Speaking afterwards, Chinappa said: “In India, we’ve got so many women doing so well in different sports and it’s nice to be one of them in a small capacity. Since I was nine years old this is all I’ve done, all I’ve known and it’s very special to be playing for India at the highest level still!”

Results: SDAT WSF Squash World CupPool B

[2] India 4-0 [6] Hong Kong, China
Abhay Singh beat Chung Yat Long 3-0: 7-2, 7-3, 7-6 (24m)
Joshna Chinappa beat Heylie Fung 3-0: 7-1, 7-5, 7-5 (20m)
Saurav Ghosal beat Andes Ling 3-1: 5-7, 7-2, 7-5, 7-1 (25m)
Tanvi Khanna beat Toby Tse 3-2: 5-7, 6-7, 7-1, 7-4, 7-3 (26m)

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