Top Seeds Advance To World Semi-Finals in Edmonton
29 Sep 2006
The top four seeds - England, Egypt, Malaysia and Netherlands - all advanced to the semi-finals of the Lexus of Edmonton WSF Women's World Team Championship after straightforward 3/0 wins on the first day of knockout action in Edmonton, Canada.
Hosts Canada, the seventh seeds relegated to the play-offs for the 9-16 positions after losing to 10th seed France in the earlier qualifying rounds, went down to 13th seeds Germany in a dramatic tie which went to the wire.
Favourites England faced sixth seeds New Zealand - and were tested for the first time in the event. Top string Tania Bailey was forced to come back from a game down in the opening tie against Shelley Kitchen before winning 6-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-2 in 59 minutes - a period only three minutes shorter than the total playing time of Bailey's three earlier qualifying matches!
Egypt's top string Omneya Abdel Kawy also had trouble with her opponent Tenille Swartz as the 19-year-old South African took the first game 9-7, and continued to force Kawy to make errors well into the second game. But Kawy - ranked 174 places higher than her opponent in the world rankings - prevailed and drew level before settling down to record a 7-9, 10-8, 9-4, 9-0 victory in 45 minutes.
Engy Kheirallah kept a fast pace throughout her match against Diana Argyle and won easily 9-1, 9-3, 9-1 to give second seeds Egypt a place in the semi-finals for the fourth time in a row.
Third seeds Malaysia won easily over France, with the 10th seeds missing their No1 player Isabelle Stoehr due to a foot injury. Nicol David showed her true form as world No1, dominating the 'T' while moving Camille Serme, the 17-year-old European Junior Champion, around the court and forcing several errors. David won 9-3, 9-1, 9-1. Second string Sharon Wee was too strong for France's Celia Allamargot, whom she beat 9-1, 9-2, 9-0 to ensure Malaysia a place in the last four for the first time in eight championship appearances since 1990.
Vanessa Atkinson, the Netherlands' number one, lost her second game to Aisling Blake of Ireland, but then settled down without losing a further point to take the match 9-1, 8-10, 9-0, 9-0. Annelize Naude took the fourth-seeded Dutch team through to the semi-finals - for the first time since 1992 - with a 9-5, 9-1, 9-7 victory over the Irish number two Laura Mylotte.
Canada showed some nervousness against the inspired lower-seeded team from Germany. Squad No1 Runa Reta started the hosts in the right direction with a convincing 9-2, 9-0, 9-5 win over Daniela Schumann.
The next match between the second seeds, however, was a cliff-hanger! Germany's Katharina Witt prevailed over Melanie Jans 9-4, 5-9, 9-5, 9-3 with a series of effective winning boasts and drops. The third and deciding match went to five games - and lasted a tense 67 minutes for the partisan Canadian crowd.
The German number three Kathrin Rohrmueller won the first game 9-7 over Carolyn Russell. But the 32-year-old from Vancouver came back to win the second and third games to move 2/1 ahead. In the fourth game, neither player wanted to play winners - and rallies were long. But more errors by Russell enabled Rohrmueller to draw level.
Rohrmueller rolled to a quick 4-0 lead in the decider, then extended it to 7-0 before Russell won four points in a row to bring it to 4-7. Surviving one match ball, Russell succumbed to Rohrmueller when the German hit a winning shot down the wall to win 9-7, 3-9, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4.
 ENGLAND bt  NEW ZEALAND 3-0
Tania Bailey bt Shelley Kitchen 6-9, 9-7, 9-4, 9-2 (59m)
Vicky Botwright bt Jaclyn Hawkes 9-2, 9-4, 9-3 (31m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Louise Crome 9-0, 9-0 (12m)
 NETHERLANDS bt  IRELAND 3-0
Vanessa Atkinson bt Aisling Blake 9-1, 8-10, 9-0, 9-0 (30m)
Annelize Naude bt Laura Mylotte 9-5, 9-1, 9-7 (30m)
Orla Noom bt Eleanor Lapthorne 9-6, 9-3 (20m)
 MALAYSIA bt  FRANCE 3-0
Nicol David bt Camille Serme 9-3, 9-1, 9-1 (24m)
Sharon Wee bt Celia Allamargot 9-1, 9-2, 9-0 (24m)
Tricia Chuah bt Soraya Renai 9-6, 9-0 (16m)
 EGYPT bt  SOUTH AFRICA 3-0
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Tenille Swartz 7-9, 10-8, 9-4, 9-0 (45m)
Engy Kheirallah bt Diana Argyle 9-1, 9-3, 9-1 (26m)
Raneem El Weleily bt Karen van der Westhuizen 9-4, 9-4 (15m)
9th - 16th place play-offs:
 HONG KONG bt  JAPAN 3-0
Rebecca Chiu bt Mami Nishio 9-2, 9-1, 9-4 (27m)
Christina Mak bt Chinatsu Matsui 9-3, 7-9, 9-5, 9-5 (61m)
Annie Au bt Sachiko Shinta 9-1, 9-0 (14m)
 USA bt  SPAIN 3-0
Latasha Khan bt Elisabet Sado 10-8, 9-6, 9-6 (27m)
Louisa Hall bt Margaux Moros-Pitarch 9-2, 9-0, 9-2 (18m)
Ivy Pochoda bt Laura Alonso 10-8, 9-3 (18m)
 AUSTRALIA bt  AUSTRIA 3-0
Kasey Brown bt Pamela Pancis 9-1, 9-1, 9-1 (26m)
Amelia Pittock bt Birgit Coufal 9-2, 9-2, 9-3 (24m)
Dianne Desira bt Kornelia Hofer 9-2, 9-0 (12m)
 GERMANY bt  CANADA 2-1
Daniela Schumann lost to Runa Reta 2-9, 0-9, 5-9 (25m)
Katharina Witt bt Melanie Jans 9-4, 5-9, 9-5, 9-3 (44m)
Kathrin Rohrmueller bt Carolyn Russell 9-7, 3-9, 4-9, 9-6, 9-4 (67m)