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Malaysia Shock India In World Team Championship

Malaysia produced the first upset in the WSF Men's World Team Championship by beating India, the eighth seeds in the second qualifying round in Marseille.

Playing in team order 1, 3 & 2, World No.21 Saurav Ghosal opened proceedings for India by taking on Nafiizwan Adnan, a lower-ranked Malaysian, to whom he had never before lost.

The Malaysian No.1 took the opening game before Ghosal fought back to forge a 2-1 lead. Adnan, the 31-year-old UK-based World No.31, drew level to force a decider – but twice again Ghosal led, 8-6 & 9-7.

Underdog Adnan persevered however and, after 72 minutes, clinched the 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9 victory which swung the momentum in favour of the ninth seeds.

India struck back when Mahesh Mangaonkar recovered from a game down to beat 21-year-old Mohd Syafiq Kamal 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 to level the tie.

Teenager Eain Yow Ng takes on Harder Pal Singh Sandhu in Marseille

Teenager Eain Yow Ng, who, like Kamal, was making his maiden appearance in the championship, then faced India's experienced Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, a 28-year-old from Chennai celebrating his fourth time in the World Championship.

It was the pair's first meeting, but 19-year-old Ng was unfazed – and battled back from 2-1 down to overcome Sandhu 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 in 62 minutes to strengthen Malaysia's bid to top Pool H.

Malaysia's team manager Major Maniam, who only a year ago returned to his home country after a lengthy period as the Indian National Coach, was delighted with his team's performance: “With our No.2 out with an injury, we arrived in Marseille with a slightly weakened team – but Wan (Nafiizwan) and Yow were outstanding today.

“Wan was absolutely focussed and faced an experienced opponent in Saurav.

“And with Yow, what can I say! He played another very experienced player and truly lived up to our expectations. We were expecting a good hard fight. Hari just didn't have an answer in the fifth.

“I am very happy with the way the boys played.”

Sixth seeds New Zealand were also taken the full distance before seeing off USA, the 11th seeds, 2-1 to ensure top place in Pool F.

'Superman' Paul Coll, the current World No.9, put the Kiwis ahead after beating US top string Todd Harrity, 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 – but Chris Hanson forced a decider when he defeated New Zealand's Evan Williams in four games.

It took Campbell Grayson 58 minutes to finally get the better of US No.2 Christopher Gordon, winning 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, much to the relief of his Kiwi team-mates.

“It's the world team championship so the seeding doesn't mean much,” explained NZ team manager Kashif Shuja.

“They have some great players and we knew it was going to be tough – and it was. Chris Gordon's sportsmanship really impressed me – that was a great match.

“It's good to be in the last 16, but we are just going to take each day as it comes. It's a rest day tomorrow so we are going to relax and hopefully come back fresh.

“Paul (Coll) has done a fantastic job – not just for himself but for squash back in New Zealand.

“He has shown our kids back home that you can do it. What he's achieved over the past two years is amazing and it's great having him in the team.”

The longest battle of the day took over four hours to resolve when fourth seeds Australia ultimately prevailed 3-0 over 13th seeds Wales.

Left-hander Ryan Cuskelly, competing as the Australian No.1 for the first time, survived an 85-minute five-game encounter against fast-rising Welshman Joel Makin winning 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7, before Rex Hedrick sealed victory for record eight-time champions Australia with a 12-10, 11-8, 11-1 win over event newcomer Emyr Evans in 54 minutes.

The third rubber also went the full distance before hard-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilley claimed his 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5 victory in 68 minutes over 30-year-old Welshman Peter Creed.

“We knew Wales would be tricky to get past,” said Paul Price, the Australian national coach and a former World No.4.

“If Joel had won the match with Ryan, that could have changed everything, but the boys are really focussed and we now look forward to finding out who we play next.”

Germany eased into the last 16 with a second successive victory in Pool G – but this time the No.7 seeds dropped a match as opponents Scotland, the 10th seeds, claimed some consolation after going 2-0 down when second string Scotland's Greg Lobban beat Raphael Kandra in five games.

German coach Oliver Pettke said: “I'm happy with the win – and it's definitely positive for the team spirit for the rest of the week.

“It's always close with Scotland – and it's more difficult than the European Championships where there are four players in the team.

“It's good to be in the top 16, but our best is yet to come!”

Ramy Ashour made his first appearance in the 2017 championship when he helped favourites Egypt to a 3-0 win over Switzerland, the 16th seeds.

Appearing in his fourth championships, he beat the tournament's youngest player Roman Allinckx, a 19-year-old, 11-2, 11-5, 11-5 to extend his all-time unbeaten record in the championship to 15 matches since 2009.

“It's unusual for me to be the oldest player in the team and the fact that I've played in the event before makes it a little bit more comfortable as I know what to expect,” said the former World No.1 and three-time World Champion.

“It's special for me to be playing in this event and I'm honoured to be representing my country for a fourth time – and to be the team captain, which I've never been before!”

Finland's record 17-time national champion Olli Tuominen also reached a notable milestone in Marseille when, in his ninth appearance in the championships since 1999, he played his 50th match.

The former World No.13 went down 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 to long-time European rival James Willstrop as defending champions England eased into the last 16 with their second 3-0 win in two days.

Results – WSF World Team Squash Championship, Marseille, France
2nd qualifying round

Pool A:
[1] EGYPT bt [16] SWITZERLAND 3/0
Ali Farag bt Dimitri Steinmann 11-3, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7 (36m)
Ramy Ashour bt Roman Allinckx 11-2, 11-5, 11-5 (21m)
Marwan Elshorbagy bt Reiko Peter 12-10, 11-5, 11-5 (28m)

Pool B:
[2] ENGLAND bt [15] FINLAND 3/0
James Willstrop bt Olli Tuominen 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (33m)
Adrian Waller bt Matias Tuomi 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (27m)
Daryl Selby bt Jami Äijänen 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (27m)

Pool C:
[3] FRANCE bt [14] CANADA 3/0
Gregory Gaultier bt Nick Sachvie 11-6, 11-6, 11-1 (31m)
Mathieu Castagnet bt Andrew Schnell 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (35m)
Gregoire Marche bt Shawn Delierre 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (32m)

Pool D:
[4] AUSTRALIA bt [13] WALES 3/0
Ryan Cuskelly bt Joel Makin 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7 (85m)
Rex Hedrick bt Emyr Evans 12-10, 11-8, 11-1 (54m)
Cameron Pilley bt Peter Creed 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5 (68m)

Pool E:
[5] HONG KONG CHINA bt [12] SPAIN 3/0
Max Lee bt Borja Golan 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (56m)
Yip Tsz Fung bt Carlos Cornes 11-5, 12-10, 11-3 (35m)
Leo Au bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4 (55m)

Pool F:
[6] NEW ZEALAND bt [11] USA 2/1
Paul Coll bt Todd Harrity 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (40m)
Evan Williams lost to Chris Hanson 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 7-11 (47m)
Campbell Grayson bt Christopher Gordon 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7 (58m)

Pool G:
[7] GERMANY bt [10] SCOTLAND 2/1
Simon Rösner bt Alan Clyne 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (44m)
Rudi Rohrmuller bt Douglas Kempsell 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6 (73m)
Raphael Kandra lost to Greg Lobban 11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 12-10, 8-11 (57m)

Pool H:
[9] MALAYSIA bt [8] INDIA 2/1
Nafiizwan Adnan bt Saurav Ghosal 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9 (72m)
Mohd Syafiq Kamal lost to Mahesh Mangaonkar 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 5-11 (53m)
Eain Yow Ng bt Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 (62m)

Fixtures – November 29
All times are local (GMT +1)

Group D – Wales VS Czech Republic (STV)
Group H – Malaysia VS Austria
Group B – Finland VS Argentina

Group E – Spain VS Iraq (STV)
Group C – Canada VS Ireland
Group G – Scotland VS Jamaica

Group F – United States VS South Africa
Group A – Switzerland VS Pakistan

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