12:10 am
26 May 2024

Hall Fight Back Takes USA Into World Quarter-finals

30 Sep 2004

A courageous fight back from 0/2 down by third string Louisa Hall in the deciding match on the final day of qualifying put USA into the last eight of the Women's World Team Championships at the Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam for the first time in ten years.

"It's just huge," said the squad's No1 Latasha Khan as the jubilant tenth-seeded US squad celebrated their 2/1 Pool B victory over Hong Kong, the 15th seeds who beat them by the same margin at the exact same stage of the previous event, two years ago in Denmark.

"We had no expectations to get this far before we arrived, but after beating Scotland yesterday, I thought we could do it today," said Khan, whose straight games loss to the Hong Kong No1 Rebecca Chiu put the tie into a decider after the squad No2 Meredeth Quick put the US ahead with a 9-2 9-0 9-6 win over 15-year-old Annie Au in the opening rubber.

Hong Kong's Joey Chan dominated the first two games against Hall, but showed signs of tiredness in the third. Louisa eased up from then on and began to take advantage of Chan's errors and tiredness. But, after the New Yorker levelled the match, 16-year-old Chan came back to life and took a 4-1 lead in the decider. Again Louisa relaxed and went on to take the match, and the tie, 2-9 5-9 9-3 9-5 9-4 in 44 minutes.

Earlier in the Pool, No2 seeds England crushed their British neighbours Scotland 3-0, dropping just nine points in a three-match tie which lasted under an hour of playing time.

There was another shock later in the Pool C decider when hosts Netherlands, the third seeds and group favourites, lost to New Zealand, the sixth seeds. Before a packed crowd surrounding the three-sided-glass-walled centre court, Dutch No2 Annelize Naude put the home side ahead with a 9-4 9-5 9-4 win over NZ National champion Tamsyn Leevey.

But New Zealand No1 Shelley Kitchen, the world No14, upset the form book when she beat Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson, ranked three in the world, 10-8 1-9 9-7 9-3 in a dramatic 60-minute match which had the crowd on the edges of their seats. The victory marked Kitchen's first ever tournament win over the seven-times Dutch champion.

In the decider, New Zealand's Louise Crome, the 26-year-old world No57 from Auckland, was too strong for Margriet Huisman, beating the 20-year-old Dutch No4 9-2 9-7 9-0 in 33 minutes.

The upset put New Zealand at the top of Pool C, with a place in the quarter-final draw against USA, while second-placed Netherlands will face former champions England in the other half of the draw.

The Pool D decider featured fourth seeds Egypt and fifth seeds Malaysia. Whilst second string Engy Kheirallah needed 77 minutes to put Egypt ahead with a 6-9 9-5 9-5 8-10 9-6 win over Sharon Wee, the world No27, it took just 37 minutes for Malaysia's world No8 to cruise to a 10-8 9-1 9-5 victory over Omneya Abdel Kawy - her successor as world junior champion - to level the tie.

"We know each other's games so well," said David afterwards. "I knew I had to go for everything from the word go - and did just that. I was very pleased with the way I played - but disappointed with the eventual outcome."

Malaysia's third string Tricia Chuah was unable to make an impression on her opponent Eman El Amir in the decider as the Egyptian wrapped up victory 9-4 9-2 9-3 in 24 minutes.

Egypt's reward is a quarter-final clash with ninth seeds Ireland, surprise 2/1 winners over eighth seeds Canada in the Pool A play-off for second place. Malaysia will meet favourites Australia.

Quarter-final draw:
[6] NEW ZEALAND v [10] USA

9th - 16th place play-offs:
[8] CANADA v [12] FRANCE

Final qualifying round - Pool A:
[17] SWITZERLAND bt [16] GERMANY 2-1 (Manuela Zehnder bt Kathrin Rohrmueller 10-8, 8-10, 9-4, 5-9, 9-6 (52m); Gaby Schmohl lost to Karin Beriere 3-9, 2-9, 0-9 (26m); Olivia Hauser bt Katharina Witt 9-6, 9-4, 1-9, 9-6 (51m))
[9] IRELAND bt [8] CANADA 2-1 (Madeline Perry bt Runa Reta 9-1, 9-0, 9-4 (27m); Aisling Blake lost to Melanie Jans Burke 10-8, 9-0, 2-9, 0-9, 7-9 (71m); Anna McGeever bt Alana Miller 5-9, 7-9, 9-3, 9-6, 9-7 (70m))
Final positions: 1 Australia, 2 Ireland, 3 Canada, 4 Switzerland, 5 Germany
Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND bt [7] SCOTLAND 3-0 (Cassie Jackman bt Wendy Maitland 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 (14m); Linda Elriani bt Frania Gillen-Buchert 9-2, 9-0, 9-0 (21m); Fiona Geaves bt Louise Philip 9-4, 9-3, 9-0 (24m))
[10] USA bt [15] HONG KONG 2-1 (Latasha Khan lost to Rebecca Chiu 4-9, 1-9, 6-9 (32m); Meredeth Quick bt Annie Au 9-2, 9-0, 9-6 (28m); Louisa Hall bt Joey Chan 2-9, 5-9, 9-3, 9-5, 9-4 (44m))
Final positions: 1 England, 2 USA, 3 Hong Kong, 4 Scotland, 5 Japan
Pool C:
[6] NEW ZEALAND bt [3] NETHERLANDS 2-1 (Shelley Kitchen bt Vanessa Atkinson 10-8, 1-9, 9-7, 9-3 (60m); Tamsyn Leevey lost to Annelize Naude 4-9, 5-9, 4-9 (46m); Louise Crome bt Margriet Huisman 9-2, 9-7, 9-0 (33m))
[11] BELGIUM bt [14] DENMARK 2-1 (Kim Hannes-Teunen lost to Ellen Petersen 7-9, 3-9, 7-9 (30m); Charlie de Rycke bt Line Hansen 6-9, 9-2, 1-9, 9-4, 9-7 (52m); Annabel Romedenne bt Kira Petersen 9-1, 9-1, 9-0 (22m))
Final positions: 1 New Zealand, 2 Netherlands, 3 Belgium, 4 Denmark, 5 Austria
Pool D:
[4] EGYPT bt [5] MALAYSIA 2-1 (Omneya Abdel Kawy lost to Nicol David 8-10, 1-9, 5-9 (37m); Engy Kheirallah bt Sharon Wee 6-9, 9-5, 9-5, 8-10, 9-6 (77m); Eman El Amir bt Tricia Chuah 9-4, 9-2, 9-3 (24m))
[13] SOUTH AFRICA bt [12] FRANCE 3-0 (Claire Nitch bt Maud Duplomb 9-0, 9-0, 9-2 (14m); Farrah Sterne bt Celia Allamargot 9-7, 8-10, 3-9, 9-1, 9-0 (43m); Tenille Swartz bt Soraya Renai 9-6, 9-3, 9-2 (28m))
Final positions: 1 Egypt, 2 Malaysia, 3 South Africa, 4 France