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28 May 2024

Malaysia Stun Hosts India To Face Top Seeds Egypt In World Cup Final

17 Jun 2023

No.4 seeds Malaysia and top seeds Egypt will contest the first WSF World Cup final in 12 years after Malaysia stunned hosts India and Egypt coasted past Japan at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai.

The penultimate day clashes in the SDAT WSF World Cup, which has returned after its hiatus with gender balanced teams and an exciting new scoring system, were typical of what has been on show all week in Chennai, with no shortage of high-paced drama.

In the final tie of the day, Malaysia provided the upset of the tournament as they stunned the much-fancied hosts.

The fourth seeds took the lead in the first match, with Ong Sai Hung saving sudden death match ball and then converting in the fifth game to edge a gripping encounter with Chennai's Abhay Singh.

Things went from bad to worse for India when the previous day's hero Joshna Chinappa went down 3/1 to 18-year-old Aira Azman.

This left India needing a win from Saurav Ghosal to keep alive their dwindling hopes of a home World Cup final, a task which was made even more difficult by the fact that Ghosal entered the court with heavy strapping on his right leg.

India's worst fears were soon realised when world No.134 Darren Pragasam took a shock 1/0 lead against the world No.19.

The 36-year-old came storming back in the second game to check Malaysia's momentum, but was clearly struggling, and Pragasam took full advantage to move into the lead with a 7-6 win in game three before breaking Indian hearts with a 7-5 win in the fourth game to send Malaysia into the final.

Afterwards, Pragasam said: "I know the fans wanted an India win today but I'm so happy to see so many people come out and support our sport. It's amazing, thank you so much.

"Saurav's someone I've looked up to since forever. He's one of the greatest Asian players and Indian players.

"I saw he was struggling a bit and I said 'I have a chance today' but hats off to him, he fought to end even though he was hurting. You guys have to be really proud of him."

Malaysia now face Egypt, winners of the tournament the last time it was held, again in Chennai back in 2012.

Karim El Hammamy gave his young teammates a welcome confidence boost with a comfortable 3/0 win over Tomotaka Endo in the first match to give Egypt the lead.

In the second match, 17-year-old Fayrouz Aboelkheir put in her best performance of the tournament as she upset tournament top-ranked player Satomi Watanabe in straight games.

Egypt's march towards the final was briefly derailed when the impressive Ryunosuke Tsukue took a 1/0 lead against Aly Abou Eleinen, but the 21-year-old world No.21 recovered to take the match 3/1 and seal Egypt's progress with a match to spare.

Both sides opted to play the last match, with Kenzy Ayman beating Akari Midorikawa 2/0 in a best-of-three.

Finals day will also see No.8 seeds Colombia take on No.5 seeds Australia in the playoff for fifth place, and No.6 seeds Hong Kong, China play No.7 seeds South Africa for seventh place

Colombia's surprise win over South Africa - with the South American side winning on games won after victories for Laura Tovar and Catalina Pelaez left the scores at 2/2 - was their first of the championship.