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Squash World Cup 2023: Day three as it happens

The Pools Stage of the Squash World Cup – which is back after a 12-year absence – concludes today at Express Avenue Mall, Chennai.

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.

Two sudden death match ball tiebreaks needed as Australia overcome Colombia

In the first tie of the day, Australia secured third place in Pool A with a hard-fought 4-0 win against No.8 seeds Colombia that was far more testing than the scoreline might suggest.

Nicholas Calvert began well for the No.5 seeds, taking a 2-0 lead against Alfonso Marroquin, before the Colombian – who hit three incredible winners in quick succession – struck back with a 7-5 win in game three.

Calvert adjusted his tactics in the fourth, playing straighter to limit attacking opportunities for Marroquin. This proved effective, with the 23-year-old able to see out the contest with a comfortable 7-2 win.

The second match, between Jessica Turnbull and Laura Tovar, was a back-and-forth encounter, with Turnbull sticking first after a sudden death tiebreak before Tovar responded with a 7-4 win in game two and a 7-5 win in game three.

Turnbull came back with a 7-5 win of her own in game four to force a fifth. That fifth game proved to be an intense affair, with neither player able to assert themselves as momentum swung from player to player.

Tovar had a golden opportunity to claim a previous win for Colombia with match ball at 6-5 but could not convert and Turnbull took full advantage, levelling to go to a sudden death match ball.

With the match resting on the next point, it was Turnbull who held her nerve better, with the 26-year-old playing simple squash until an error from Tovar handed her the win.

In the third match, Joseph White recovered from a difficult start to beat Felipe Tovar. The 25-year-old struggled in a 7-6 loss in the first game, but adjusted well for the subsequent encounters, ultimately winning comfortably with 7-3, 7-1, 7-0 wins.

In an exciting final match, four sudden death tie breaks were needed to separate Alex Haydon and  Catalina Pelaez.

Pelaez took the first game on a tie break, to which Haydon responded with a tie break win of her own and then a 7-4 win in game three to move into the lead.

Haydon made a bright start to the fourth game, but then fell game ball down at 6-5. The 21-year-old saved the first game ball, but could not convert the match ball tie break and was forced into a fifth game.

Like the rest of this contest, there was virtually nothing to separate Haydon and Pelaez in a gripping fifth-game battle. Once again, the match went to a match ball tie break, with Haydon the victor after Pelaez’s appeal was turned down and a no let was given.

Afterwards, Haydon said: “There’s a lot of pressure on each point, each game and each match. There were a lot of 6-6s today and I’m just happy to come out the other end of that.

“There were a lot of momentum shifts and I just reminded myself to still attack be be composed and that gave me a bit of time to think.

“It’s good for all of us to get the win. It’s ben a tough few matches over the previous two days so for all of to get that win is great for us and is going to be really good for the next two days.

“I really like being here in Chennai; I was here for the World Juniors in 2018. I love shopping so it’s a nice place to be!”

Result: SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool A
[5] Australia v Colombia [8] Nicholas Calvert beat Alfonso Marroquin 3-1: 7-4, 7-3, 5-7, 7-2 (28m)
Jessica Turnbull beat Laura Tovar 3-2: 7-6, 4-7, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6  (33m)
Joseph White beat Felipe Tovar 3-1: 6-7, 7-3, 7-1, 7-0 (25m)
Alex Haydon beat Catalina Pelaez 3-2: 6-7, 7-6, 7-4, 6-7, 7-6 (30m)

South Africa upset Hong Kong, China to finish third

In the second tie, No.7 seeds South Africa beat No.6 seeds Hong Kong, China to seal third place in their pool.

Jean-Pierre Brits overcame opponent and injury to give South Africa the lead.

The 32-year-old gave his side the lead with a dominant 7-1 win in the first game, with Chung coming back on a ties break in the second.

Brits restored his lead in the third game with a 7-3 win and looked to be going well in the fourth when he pulled up clutching the top of his left leg.

After an injury break, Brits returned and managed the rest of the match well, getting himself off court quickly by taking the game and match on a tie break.

In the second match, Hong Kong, China’s Heylie Fung wiped out South Africa’s lead with a 3-1 win.

The 20-year-old came out flying in the first game, taking the first five points of the opener on the way to a 7-4 win.

Muller drew level with a tight 7-6 tiebreak win in the second game, before Fung won a tiebreak of her own in the third.

In the fourth game, both players began to show signs of fatigue in the warm conditions and the pace of play slowed. This seemed to suit Fung better, with the World No.84 using height well as she won the fourth game 7-5.

South Africa moved back into the lead with a win for Dewald van Niekerk, with the 26-year-old dispatching Andes Ling 3-0: 7-5, 7-2, 7-6.

In the fourth match, Hayley Ward breezed past Toby Tse 3-0: 7-4, 7-4, 7-3

Afterwards, van Niekerk said: “At this level, we have all the skillset that it’s possible to play and if you lack one small thing it’s difficult to get back. I’m still young on the tour and I’m going to keep on working.

“I think, especially on this court where there are some tricky bounces, you can’t give anything easy because it’s very rewarding when you go for attacking shots. My plan was to be attacking and to

“Chennai’s awesome, I’ve never been to India and it’s awesome to come here and the people who have been coming out to watch are amazing.”

Commenting on his injury, Brits said: “It was at 3-2 in the fourth game, I felt my glute pulling a bit. I’m not sure how serious it is, but it was quite painful lunging in for the shots so I thought it would be in my best interests to take a bit of a break and reassess how serious it is, so I’ll have to see the physio and reassess for the match tomorrow.”

Result: SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool B
[7] South Africa 3-1 Hong Kong, China [6]

Jean-Pierre Brits beat Chung Yat Long 3-1 7-1, 6-7, 7-3, 7-6 (36m)
Lizelle Muller lost to Heylie Fung 1-3: 4-7, 7-6, 6-7, 5-7 (31m)
Dewald van Niekerk beat Andes Ling 3-0: 7-5, 7-2, 7-6 (24m)
Hayley Ward beat Toby Tse 3-0: 7-4, 7-4, 7-3 (14m)

Egypt top Pool A with battling win over Malaysia, who progress to semi finals as pool runners up

In the third tie, No.1 seeds Egypt cemented their place at the top of Pool A with a 3-1 win over No.4 seeds Malaysia, with both sides progressing through to the semi final.

Egypt’s World No.42 Karim El Hammamy played his best squash of the tournament so far as he blew away Sai Hung Ong in just 15 minutes.

El Hammamy looked a class above from the first minute, wasted no time in getting on the attack, with Ong unable to cope with a hungry El Hammamy, who beat his defences time and again in taking the first two games 7-1, 7-3, before capping his dominant showing with a 7-0 win in the third game. 

Malaysia’s Aira Azman gave the No.4 seeds hope with an exciting win in the second match. The World No.55 played out a back and forth clash with World No.33 Fayrouz Aboelkheir as the two teenage stars struggled for rhythm.

Azman struck first with a 7-5 win in the first game, but was pegged back in the second by the same scoreline.

The 18-year-old reclaimed her lead after impressing in a 7-3 win in game three, only to be dragged bacl level once more by Aboelkheir, who took the fourth game 7-2.

In the crucial fifth game, it was the Malaysian who was finally able to break through, putting together a string of points before finishing the match off with a perfectly-executed drop shot.

Any hopes that this momentum would be carried into the third match by Malaysia were quickly snuffed out by a brutal performance from Aly Abou Eleinen.

The lightning fast World No.21 dismantled Darren Pragasam, conceding a total of just two points as he took game one 7-1, game two 7-0 and game three 7-1.

In the last match of the tie, World No.78 Xin Ying Yee took a shock lead against World No.56 Kenzy Ayman as she took the first game 7-5.

Ayman, after discussion with coach Mohamed Elkeiy and teammate Eleinen, looked far sharper in the next games, dealing well with the southpaw’s powerful forehand with 7-4 and 7-3 wins to move into the lead.

Yee, however, refused to be beaten, retrieving excellently and levelling the match with a dominant performance to win game four 7-2.

In the crucial fifth game, Ayman was able to hold her nerve after seeing a 5-3 lead evaporate, with the 19-year-old keeping steady as she took the next two points to give Egypt their third tie victory of the World Cup and go through to the semi finals as Pool A winners.

After that tense final match, Ayman said: “I’m absolutely happy to play like this. The first game was really bad from me because I was so nervous at the beginning, but I’m so happy win today.

“The last game was really important because I was leading and she came back to 5-5, so I’m happy with my performance to close the game!”

Result: SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool A
[1] Egypt 3-1 Malaysia [3]

Karim El Hammamy beat Sai Hung Ong 3-0: 7-1, 7-3, 7-0 (15m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir lost to Aira Azman 2-3: 5-7, 7-5, 3-7, 7-2, 3-7 (31m)
Aly Abou Eleinen beat Darren Pragasam 3-0: 7-1, 7-0, 7-1 (16m)
Kenzy Ayman beat Xin Ying Yee 3-2: 5-7, 7-4, 7-3, 2-7, 7-5 (26m)


Chinappa and Ghosal to the rescue as India set up semi final with Malaysia

In the last tie of the Pool Stage, India launched a thrilling fightback to pip Japan to top spot in Pool B.

Both sides went into the tie knowing that if they could finish top of the pool, it would mean avoiding No.1 seeds Egypt in the semi final.

Things seemed to be unravelling for the hosts when Tomotaka Endo stunned the home crowd in the first match against local hero Abhay Singh.

The Japanese World No.131 looked highly motivated throughout as he held his nerve to take the first game 7-6 on a tie break.

The second game was equally competitive, with Singh – roared on by the crowd – and Endo well matched.

The crucial moment of the game came at 5-5 when Singh was penalised with a conduct stroke for dangerous play as he turned and hit Endo from close range at the back of the court.

Endo pushed on from here, taking the second game on a tie break once again, before snatching the win in three games with a comfortable 7-2 win.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as match two began, with Satomi Watanabe storming into a  1-0 lead with a 7-2 win against Joshna Chinappa.

Former World No.10 Chinappa improved in the second, pulling India level with a 7-4 win.

Watanabe, however, moved back into the lead with a 7-3 win, with the World No.18’s relentless power causing Chinappa problems.

The 36-year-old Chennai native refused to be beaten, though, digging in incredibly to level the tie with a 7-5 win in the fourth game and then showing nerves of steel to win the fifth by the same scoreline.

The third match was equally tense as India No.1 Saurav Ghosal took the first game against Ryunosuke Tsukue on a tie break but then lost the second in the same manner.

Despite appearing to pick up a knock in game three, it was Ghosal who pressed on, moving back into the lead with a 7-4 lead.

The home celebrations were cut short though when Tsukue fired back with a 7-3 win to take the match into a fifth game.

In a nerve-wracking final game, Tsukue took a 5-3 lead but could not pull away, with Ghosal levelling at 5-5.

The Indian then clung on in the face of severe pressure from Tsukue, managing the court well as two stroke decisions in his favour ended the match in India’s favour and guaranteed the No.2 seeds the top spot in the pool.

Those wins for Chinappa and Ghosal meant that India could no longer be caught by Japan in the race for top of Pool B.

In the final match, Tanvi Khanna put the tie to bed with a comfortable 3-0 win against Akari Midorikawa.

Afterwards, Chinappa said: “It was just emotional winning this match. I knew it was going to be hard coming in. Satomi’s had some great results on tour, so honestly I’m just relieved to get through.

“It’s such a quick game and there’s really no room for error. Both of us hit some great shots at times and it was anybody’s game today.

“We all have to back each other up and there will be days where I may not win and the rest of my team will, so today was one of those days when I had to do the job.”

Result: SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool B

[2] India 3-1 Japan [3]

Abhay Singh lost to Tomotaka Endo 0-3: 6-7, 6-7, 2-7 (21m)

Joshna Chinappa beat Satomi Watanabe 3-2: 2-7, 7-4, 3-7, 7-5, 7-5 (32m)

Saurav Ghosal beat  Ryunosuke Tsukue 3-2: 7-6, 6-7, 7-4, 3-7, 7-5 (50m)

Tanvi Khanna beat Akari Midorikawa 3-0: 7-4, 7-1, 7-1 (14m)

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