12:48 pm
28 May 2024

Top Pool Places Still To Play For On Eve Of Final World Teams Qualifying Day

12 Dec 2022

The qualifying stage of the WSF Women's World Team Championship will reach an exciting conclusion tomorrow, with the top spot up for grabs in all four pools.

Malaysia and France will battle it out for pole position in Pool D after Malaysia edged past Japan in a competitive encounter on day three of the tournament at the Madinaty Sporting Club in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

5/6 seeds Malaysia, runners up in 2014, went into their tie with Japan as favourites and hit the ground running when Chan Yiwen stormed past Risa Sugamoto 3/0 in 20 minutes.

Japan pulled level when Malaysia's Aifa Azman, who was 2/1 down at the time, was forced to retire hurt in the fourth game of her match with Japan's Satomi Watanabe.

Malaysia's world No.25 Rachel Arnold, though, was able to remain steady as she held off a spirited challenge from 17-year-old world No.98 Akari Midorikawa 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 to set up an enthralling encounter tomorrow.

"This was an important tie," Malaysia coach Ajaz Azman said afterwards. "Aifa was playing well in her match but then had the injury, but she's doing fine now. She and the other three girls are playing well. Rachel really played well [to close out the tie]. We're hoping to take France tomorrow afternoon. We want to finish number one in our group."

Tomorrow will see a number of blockbuster ties when the pool stage concludes.

5/6 seeds Hong Kong China will take on England for top spot in Pool C after they got the better of South Africa on the outdoor glass court.

While No.3 seeds England may go into that clash as slight favourites, they will have taken note of the performances of Ka Yi Lee and Sin Yuk Chan after they secured the victory with wins over Cheyna Wood and Lizelle Muller either side of Hong Kong No.1 Tomato Ho's 3/2 defeat to Alexandra Fuller.

"It's always tough against South Africa, they usually play above their level in the team events and they gave us a really tough challenge tonight," Hong Kong coach Peter Genever said.

7/8 seeds Scotland, meanwhile, will compete with No.2 seeds USA for the top spot in Pool B after they overcame Australia - the most successful team in tournament history with nine titles - 2/1, though there will be great concern in the camp after Scotland No.1 Lisa Aitken suffered what appeared to be a serious injury.

Scotland's meeting with the No.2 seeds may be a particularly tense affair, with the runner up in Pool B scheduled to play the Pool A winner, which will be either 7/8 seeds Canada or top seeds and defending champions Egypt.

Egypt and Canada will meet tomorrow on the outdoor glass court to play for the group winner's spot after Canada came from one match down to beat Switzerland.

In the day's other tie, Finland picked up their first win of the championship when they overcame event debutants Chinese Taipei 3/0.