11:16 pm
25 May 2024

England Upset Sees Fifth Seeds Gatecrash World Junior Team Semis

27 Jul 2023

No.5 seeds England put in a spirited performance to upset fourth seeds Hong Kong China to progress through to the semi-finals of the 2023 WSF Women's World Junior Team Championship in Melbourne, where they will be joined by Egypt, Malaysia and USA.

With teams playing a 1-3-2 string order, it was up to Pontefract's Asia Harris to lead the attack for England.

Worryingly for England, the 18-year-old was given a torrid time early on by Toby Tse, with the Hong Kong first string dominating the first game 11-2.

Harris, however, came out excellently after that disappointment, giving the five-time champions the perfect platform with well-earned 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 wins.

The No.4 seeds soon found parity, though, when Ena Kwong beat Isabel McCullough in straight games.

This left Amelie Haworth and Sze Wing Wai to face off with the tie on the line.

To the cheers of the vocal England camp behind the glass, it was Haworth who better dealt with the pressure of the situation, with the Isle of Wight native in top form as she beat Wai in straight games to ensure that England would defy their seeding.

Afterwards, Haworth said: "It feels amazing to be able to do that for my team. I haven't really been performing great these last few weeks so it was good to perform when it really mattered!

"I just want to thank my team, my coaches and everyone for being there and supporting me today and I wouldn't have done it without them."

England will face Egypt in the semi-finals for the second time in a row after the top seeds - who have won the last seven editions of the event in an incredible run stretching back to 2007 - swept aside hosts Australia, who were competing in the quarter-final for just the second time since 2005.

Earlier, in the afternoon session, No.3 seeds USA kept their hopes alive as they came back from one match down to beat No.6 seeds India.

India took the lead through their first string Anahat Singh, with the ever-calm 15-year-old seeing off Caroline Fouts 3/1.

India's hopes of an upset victory initially gathered steam in match two when third string Yuvna Gupta took a 1/0 lead against Riya Navani, only for the Californian to come back to level the tie with hard-fought 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 wins.

In the decider, Madison Ho recovered from a challenging start to eventually beat Tiana Parasrampuria in straight games and put USA through to their first semi-final since 2015.

USA will take on Malaysia in the semi-final after the No.2 seeds secured a 2/0 victory over Canada, courtesy of straight-games wins for Aira Azman and Thanusaa Uthrian.