Irish Eyes Are Smiling In New Zealand, But Only Just ...
29 Nov 2010
Ireland had a close call in today's opening round of pool play at the Women's World Team Squash Championship in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
The seventh seeds came back from the dead to beat tenth seed India 2/1 in the biennial World Squash Federation championship.
The Irish were on the back foot early, when second string Aisling Blake went down 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 to Joshna Chinappa. Their top eight chances were then hanging by a thread as Laura Mylotte slipped 2/0 down to India's Anaka Alankamony in the second match.
However, 35-year-old Mylotte refused to accept defeat, fighting back to claim a dramatic 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 victory over her 16-year-old opponent - much to the relief of her teammates!
Meanwhile, Australia and Egypt have both made impressive starts to their campaigns.
The second-seeded Aussies have beaten Japan 3/0, with the entire tie lasting an hour. More than eight years after making her last appearance in the championship, five times World Open champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald showed time has not dulled her silky skills, taking just 16 minutes to beat Miwa Maekawa 11-3, 11-1, 11-6.
Likewise, Egypt did not drop a game in their opening tie against South Africa, with Raneem El Weleily and Engy Kheirallah notching up comfortable 3/0 wins, before Omneya Abdel Kawy edged home 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 against South African number one Tenille Swartz.
France were the other winners in the late matches, downing 14th seeds Mexico 3/0. The Mexicans put up a good fight in their first ever appearance at the world championship, but the sixth-seeded French squad was simply too good on the day.
USA proved a tough nut to crack for former champions England. The top seeds won the tie 3/0, but only after a magnificent fight back from England's world number 28 Tania Bailey.
The 31-year-old English number three dropped the first two games against Amanda Sobhy, the 17-year-old world junior champion - but battled back to take the match 10-12, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4. The win sealed the tie for England, after Laura Massaro had earlier beaten Latasha Khan in straight games.
That took the pressure of world number two Jenny Duncalf, who comfortably downed US top string Natalie Grainger 11-6, 11-5, 11-1. It is Duncalf's first win over Grainger on the international stage for more than five years.
In the other Pool A clash, the Netherlands also kicked off their campaign with a 3/0 victory against bottom seeds Austria. Orla Noom and Milou van der Heijden had comfortable straight games wins, but Annelize Naude had to battle a bit harder to beat Birgit Coufal 11-4, 16-14, 12-10.
Meanwhile, Pool D went to plan for the seeds with Malaysia and hosts New Zealand making light work of their ties.
The home side beat Canada 3/0, with all three matches won in straight games.
Commonwealth Games star Joelle King got the ball rolling with an 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 victory over Alex Norman, while Shelley Kitchen - making her first appearance on the international stage since the birth of her daughter Amalia in February - downed Stephanie Edmison 11-3, 11-5, 11-7.
Official website: www.womensworldsquash2010.co.nz
For further on-site information, contact World Team Championship Media Manager Gary Denvir
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Qualifying rounds - Pool A:
 ENGLAND bt  USA 3/0
Laura Massaro bt Latasha Khan 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 (21m)
Tania Bailey bt Amanda Sobhy 10-12, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (46m)
Jenny Duncalf bt Natalie Grainger 11-6, 11-5, 11-1 (24m)
 NETHERLANDS bt  AUSTRIA 3/0
Orla Noom bt Judith Gradnitzer 11-2, 11-1, 11-7 (18m)
Milou van der Heijden bt Sabrina Rehman 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (25m)
Annelize Naude bt Birgit Coufal 11-4, 16-14, 12-10 (27m)
 AUSTRALIA bt  JAPAN 3/0
Sarah Fitz-Gerald bt Miwa Maekawa 11-3, 11-1, 11-6 (16m)
Donna Urquhart bt Yuki Sakai 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (22m)
Kasey Brown bt Misaki Kobayashi 11-1, 11-4, 11-5 (22m)
 IRELAND bt  INDIA 2/1
Aisling Blake lost to Joshna Chinappa 9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 8-11 (42m)
Laura Mylotte bt Anaka Alankamony 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (40m)
Madeline Perry bt Dipika Pallikal 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
 EGYPT bt  SOUTH AFRICA 3/0
Raneem El Weleily bt Siyoli Waters 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (20m)
Engy Kheirallah bt Milnay Louw 11-2, 11-9, 11-4 (26m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy bt Tenille Swartz 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (23m)
 FRANCE bt  MEXICO 3/0
Isabelle Stoehr bt Graciela Lopez Perez 12-10, 11-6, 11-8 (25m)
Maud Duplomb bt Nayelly Hernandez 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 (44m)
Camille Serme bt Samantha Teran 11-5, 11-2, 11-8
 NEW ZEALAND bt  CANADA 3/0
Joelle King bt Alexandra Norman 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (24m)
Shelley Kitchen bt Stephanie Edmison 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (22m)
Jaclyn Hawkes bt Miranda Ranieri 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (21m)