England Cruise Into World Semi-Finals In Cairo
4 Dec 2008
Title-holders England cruised into the semi-finals of the Women's World Team Championship for the 15th successive time since 1981 after beating Ireland, the sixth seeds, 3/0 in today's first quarter-final in the biennial World Squash Federation championship at the National Stadium in Cairo.
World number eight Laura Lengthorn-Massaro put the favourites into the driving seat with an 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 defeat of Irish fourth string Tanya Owens. England number one Jenny Duncalf, the world No6, then faced her Irish counterpart Madeline Perry, ranked just three places lower - with the pre-match head-to-head record between the pair standing at four-all.
Perry took the opening game, but Duncalf dug deep to secure the next three to win the match 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 12-10 in 50 minutes and ensure England's place in the last four.
In the best-of-three 'dead rubber' that followed, England's second string Alison Waters - playing in the first match for her country since becoming the highest-ranked Englishwoman at a career-high world No5 - waltzed to an 11-6, 11-4 win over Aisling Blake.
"We always have tight matches," said Duncalf of her crucial clash with the nine-time Irish champion. "We train a lot together in Halifax and know each other's games pretty well.
"It's my first time as England number one, and it's tough. I want to try and take the pressure off the team," said the 26-year-old from Harrogate in Yorkshire.
"I would say there's even more pressure playing in this event than playing for yourself - you're playing for your country and for your team-mates. We take it very seriously and want to do really well for each other.
"The Worlds is pretty special - hopefully we'll rise to the challenge and keep the trophy we won last time," added Duncalf.
"The team is pretty tight - we all really get on well with each other. In fact Ali, Laura and I won the world junior team title together in Penang in 2001. And Tania, who's a little bit older and wiser, makes a great captain!"
 ENGLAND bt  IRELAND 3-0
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro bt Tanya Owens 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (18m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Madeline Perry 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 12-10 (50m)
Alison Waters bt Aisling Blake 11-6, 11-4 (18m)
9th - 16th place play-offs:
 FRANCE bt  GERMANY 2-1
Maud Duplomb bt Sina Wall 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 6-11, 11-1 (40m)
Camille Serme lost to Kathrin Rohrmueller 11-6, 5-11, 10-12, 11-4, 8-11 (39m)
Celia Allamargot bt Pamela Hathway 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10 (40m)
 SOUTH AFRICA bt  SPAIN 3-0
Siyoli Lusaseni bt Alicia Alvarez Riaza 11-4, 11-1, 11-3 (16m)
Farrah Sterne bt Elisabet Sado Garriga 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (20m)
Diana Argyle bt Xisela Aranda Nunez 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 (23m)
 JAPAN bt  USA 2-1
Kozue Onizawa bt Olivia Blatchford 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)
Chinatsu Matsui lost to Natalie Grainger 2-11, 11-7, 12-14, 9-11 (43m)
Misaki Kobayashi bt Claire Rein-Weston 11-9, 7-11, 11-2, 11-7 (27m)