Hosts Netherlands Fight Back To Win World Championship Opener
27 Sep 2004
Hosts Netherlands were given an early shock by close rivals Belgium on the opening day of action in the Women's World Team Championships today at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam. But after world No3 Vanessa Atkinson levelled the tie following team-mate Karen Kronemeyer's surprise loss to unranked Belgian Annabel Romedenne, the team won 2/1 with second string Annelize Naude dropping just two points in the final match.
Kronemeyer, ranked 48 in the world, suffered at the hands of the part-time Belgian player in the European Championships earlier in the year. But history was repeated on the centre court at the new 21-court facility in Amsterdam when Romedenne won 9-7 3-9 9-4 10-8 to put Belgium ahead.
The in-form Atkinson stopped the rot with a 9-3 9-0 9-3 victory over Belgium's Katline Cauwels in the top string clash - and Annelize Naude brought smiles back to the Frans Otten crowd when she crushed rising star Charlie de Rycke, the 17-year-old European Junior Champion from Antwerp, 9-0 9-1 9-1.
"We thought we might struggle in the first match after Karen's defeat in the Europeans this year, and I must admit that I was quite nervous when I went on next," said Atkinson, winner of six WISPA titles this year. "But I felt good once I was on court, and overall the tie was just the warm-up we needed in this important tournament."
While the event's top two seeds Australia and England teams won their opening encounters with ease - against Ireland and the USA, respectively - fifth seeds Malaysia were given a scare when top string Nicol David, the world No8 from Penang, lost in four games to France's No1 Isabelle Stoehr.
David, the twice former world junior champion, is based in Amsterdam and was looking for forward to a rare 'home' match. But 25-year-old Stoehr, now based in Manchester in England, was in devastating form as she took her opponent apart in a 9-0 9-10 9-0 10-9 scoreline.
"When Isabelle plays for France, she seems to raise her game a few notches," conceded David afterwards. "She played really well and thoroughly deserved her victory - it just wasn't my day today. We have a day off tomorrow, so I hope to pick myself up and psyche myself up for our later matches against South Africa and Egypt."
The late withdrawal of Scotland's No1 Pamela Nimmo, caused by a cyst on her right tonsil, almost cost the seventh seeds their tie against Japan, the 18th seeds. Wendy Maitland, the newly-promoted top string, had to fight back from 0/2 down to beat Japan's Chinatsu Matsui, ranked 47 places lower in the world, 6-9 5-9 9-6 9-6 9-4.
Qualifying rounds - Pool A:
 AUSTRALIA bt  IRELAND 3-0 (Rachael Grinham bt Madeline Perry 9-1, 9-4, 9-5; Natalie Grinham bt Aisling Blake 9-2, 9-1, 9-1; Amelia Pittock bt Laura Mylotte 9-0, 9-1, 9-1)
 CANADA bt  SWITZERLAND 3-0 (Melanie Jans Burke bt Manuela Zehnder 9-5, 9-4, 9-3; Alana Miller bt Gaby Schmohl 9-3, 9-2, 9-7; Marnie Baizley bt Olivia Hauser 9-5, 9-5, 3-9, 9-0)
 ENGLAND bt  USA 3-0 (Cassie Jackman bt Latasha Khan 9-1, 9-4, 9-2; Linda Elriani bt Meredeth Quick 9-4, 9-2, 9-2; Jenny Duncalf bt Louisa Hall 9-1, 9-5, 9-0)
 SCOTLAND bt  JAPAN 2-1 (Wendy Maitland bt Chinatsu Matsui 6-9, 5-9, 9-6, 9-6, 9-4; Susan Dalrymple lost to Kozue Onizawa 9-2, 4-9, 9-0, 5-9, 0-9; Frania Gillen-Buchert bt Sachiko Shinta 0-9, 9-7, 9-0, 9-0)
 NETHERLANDS bt  BELGIUM 2-1 (Vanessa Atkinson bt Katline Cauwels 9-3, 9-0, 9-3; Annelize Naude bt Charlie de Rycke 9-0, 9-1, 9-1; Karen Kronemeyer lost to Annabel Romedenne 7-9, 9-3, 4-9, 8-10)
 NEW ZEALAND bt  AUSTRIA 3-0 (Shelley Kitchen bt Pamela Pancis 9-4, 9-4, 9-6; Louise Crome bt Birgit Coufal 9-1, 9-0, 9-0; Jaclyn Hawkes bt Ines Gradnitzer 9-0, 9-4, 9-0)
 EGYPT bt  SOUTH AFRICA 3-0 (Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Claire Nitch 2-9, 9-5, 9-4, 9-5; Eman El Amir bt Farrah Sterne 9-0, 9-7, 2-9, 9-10, 9-2; Raneem El Weleily bt Tenille Swartz 8-10, 9-1, 9-7, 9-7)
 MALAYSIA bt  FRANCE 2-1 (Nicol David lost to Isabelle Stoehr 0-9, 10-9, 0-9, 9-10; Sharon Wee bt Maud Duplomb 9-0, 9-2, 9-2; Tricia Chuah bt Soraya Renai 9-3, 9-3, 9-0)