10:54 pm
20 May 2024

Hosts France Storm Through To World Junior Teams Knockout Stage

19 Aug 2022

WSF Men's World Junior Team Championship hosts France put in a brutal performance as they brushed Ukraine aside to top Pool E and reach the event's second stage in Nancy.

No.5 seeds France went into the match already in a strong position after opening day wins over Spain and the USA - and looked even more confident on day two, with Antonin Romieu (pictured right) getting his side off to a perfect start with a comfortable 3/0 win against Maksym Tokar.

Melvil Scianimanico and Brice Nicolas then continued the relentless attacking performance, with Scianimanico beating Volodymyr Anisimov 11-0, 11-4, 11-0 and Nicolas bringing the match to a close with an 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 win over Timofey Radionov, who was promoted to No.1 with Dima Scherbakov ruled out.

France will play Colombia for a place in the quarter-finals after the 10/12 seeds beat New Zealand 3/0.

After the match, Romieu said: "It feels good to top the group. That was our target and we were really focused on that. Now we're looking forward to the next one. We're here representing France in France and that's really pushing us.

"Everyone on the team has been really good friends for a long time and we are focused. We know we can achieve something great this week."

With top seeds and defending champions Egypt already through after winning both ties in the three-team Pool A on the opening day, the rest of the top seeds all followed suit in topping their pools.

In the morning session, No.6 seeds India made it three wins out of three with a 3/0 win over South Africa, before No.4 seeds Malaysia did the same in the afternoon with a 3/0 victory over Germany.

After playing just one fixture each on the opening day, No.2 seeds England and No.3 seeds Pakistan safely navigated their way past Korea and traditional rivals Australia, and the Netherlands and Hong Kong China, respectively.

India's Arnaav Sareen, who will take on Australia next, said afterwards: "It feels very good, but the job isn't done for us. We want to play our next match well and hopefully after that as well. We haven't set a target for a position, just to play the best squash that we can and improve in each match. I think we've played well so far, but so have the other boys, and we're looking forward to it."

England's Franklyn Smith said: "We don't view the Australia team as rivals, we view them as friends. It means a lot to top the group, it gives us a lot of momentum going forward into the knockout stages tomorrow, as well as a bye for the first match, so we can get a nice rest in the morning and then prepare for the afternoon.

After topping their groups, top four seeds Egypt, England, Pakistan and Malaysia will receive a bye through to the quarter-finals, which will be played from 16:00 (GMT+2) tomorrow (19 August), following the conclusion of the earlier ties, which will begin at 10:00.

The runners up in the six groups also progressed through to the knockout stage.

In one of the matches of the day, Ireland's Denis Gilevskiy built on a solid last-16 finish in the individual championship by proving the difference in a 2/1 win over Scotland, with the 18-year-old coming in with the tie poised at one-all to deliver an 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 win over Kyle Penman to set up a stage two tie against the Netherlands, who beat Guyana 3/0.

Alex Fuller, Ireland's coach, said: "The Irish team are excited to be through to the last 16 and hoping for a big performance as we take on the best teams in the world!"

Day three also sees the exciting prospect of a North American derby between Canada and the USA in the first tie on the glass court, after they beat Switzerland 3/0 and Spain 2/1, respectively, to progress.