While England produced the day’s drama as the line-up for the semi-finals of the CIMB Foundation WSF Women’s World Junior Team Squash Championship was decided, Malaysia stayed on track in their title bid in the country’s capital Kuala Lumpur.
The second-seeded hosts were rarely tested on a day which began with a 3-0 defeat of Canada in their last Group B match at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre.
Returning to the court hours later, they were once again dominant as they packed off challengers Switzerland 3-0 to secure a place in the semi-finals for the third successive time.
With a 1-2-3 order of play, Aifa Azman stepped on first and despite a slight lapse in the second game, still had too much firepower in producing an 11-4, 13-11, 11-4 win over Swiss No.1 Ambre Allinckx.
Second string Chan Yiwen then duly sealed the win by despatching Cassandra Fitze 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 before third string Ainaa Ampandi, in place of a sick Ooi Kah Yan, finished off the contest by beating Alina Poessl 11-1, 11-5 in the dead rubber.
“Of course, it’s pleasing to get through with a convincing win,” said national assistant head coach Andrew Cross. “Our first target is to get back on the podium and we’ve achieved that now.
“It looks like we’ll be up against Hong Kong in the semi-finals, a repeat of the Asian Junior Team Championship final which we won. It’s another tough game but I expect the girls to be up to it.
“Meanwhile Kah Yan is sick which is why she is rested – but I have complete faith in Ainaa to do the job. We gave her a chance to play today in order to get a run out in case she is needed to step up in the semi-finals.”
Malaysia, silver medallists from the 2017 edition, do go on to meet regional rivals Hong Kong China in the last four.
The third seeds secured their spot in the last eight as Group C winners after beating India 3-0 in the morning session.
And they too were looking very strong as they saw off a weary-looking USA 3-0 in the quarter-finals.
The crucial win for Hong Kong was in the first string match as Chan Sin Yuk avenged her British Junior Open Under-17 final defeat to Marina Stefanoni, this time carving out an 11-7, 7-11, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4 win.
“I’ve played Marina a few times but I lost to her the last time we met. I knew however I had a chance to take her down today,” said Sin Yuk (pictured above against Stefanoni).
“It was an important win because I knew that if I won, my teammates would be able to play without pressure and I’m pleased to have delivered for the team.”
Following Sin Yuk’s win, Hong Kong quickly wrapped up the contest with Kirstie Po Yui Wong and Lee Sum Yuet both seeing off Olivia Robinson and Caroline Spahr respectively.
“Sin Yuk’s win was important. It is revenge for her and it gave the team a good push,” said Hong Kong coach Dick Leung.
“I’m also pretty happy with the results so far. We were promoted to be third seeds before the team event started but I’ve been telling the girls that the seedings is just a number.
“I’m pleased that they were able to show their ability as a top four team and we have nothing to lose against Malaysia so we’ll give it a go.”
Meanwhile fourth seeds England produced the best drama of the day, from both the morning and evening sessions.
In the morning session, they rallied together after first string Elise Lazarus fell in five to Stefanoni to clinch a 2-1 win over the Americans and topped Group D.
Second string Alice Green played a huge role as she first saved match-ball in the deciding rubber against US No.2 Robinson, before converting her sixth match-ball opportunity in a see-saw battle to win 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 6-11, 17-15.
That set up Evie Coxon to clinch the win by beating Elisabeth Ross 11-7, 11-8, 11-5.
Later in the quarter-finals, the English girls once again showed great tenacity to beat India 3-0.
Lazarus redeemed herself as she recovered from two games down to beat Sanya Vats 8-11, 1-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3.
And Green once again delivered the heroics by beating Aishwarya Khubchandani 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 before Coxon finished it off by beating Yoshna Singh 11-7, 8-11, 13-11 in the dead rubber to put England into the last four for the fourth time in a row.
“I feel great to be honest. I had a great match against Olivia, 17-15 in the fifth and it surely wasn’t an easy match,” said Green (pictured above in quarter-final action).
“I’m pleased that I recovered well enough to play in the evening match but a lot of credit also goes to Elise, who did great coming from 2-0 down to win her tie.
“Now we’re excited to be in the semi-finals and we’re looking forward to facing Egypt. They’re the top seeds and we want to give it a go against them.”
Defending champions Egypt had another effortless day as they first swept aside Switzerland 3-0 in the morning session before putting on their strongest line-up to crush surprise quarter-finalists Australia 3-0.
Earlier in the day, 10th seeds Australia had beaten Japan 2-1 to secure a surprise second place in Pool B – thereby guaranteeing the former champions a top eight finish for the first time since 2005.
In the playoffs for 13th-18th places, Sweden beat Singapore 3-0 and will meet Ireland next while Japan defeated Chinese Taipei by a similar score and meet Republic of Korea next.
RESULTS: CIMB Foundation WSF Women’s World Junior Team Squash Championship, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Final qualifying round – Pool A:
 EGYPT bt  SWITZERLAND 3/0
Hania El Hammamy bt Ambre Allinckx 11-6, 11-6, 11-4
Jana Shiha bt Simona Frevel 11-3, 11-7, 11-6
Sana Ibrahim bt Alina Poessl 11-3, 11-3, 11-1
 FRANCE bt  SINGAPORE 3/0
Ninon Lemarchand bt Paige Teresa Hill 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 15-13, 11-5
Lea Barbeau bt Gracia Chua Rui En 11-4, 11-3, 11-4
Mahe Asensi bt Sonya Bajaj 11-7, 11-3, 11-8
Final positions: 1 Egypt, 2 Switzerland, 3 France, 4 Singapore
 MALAYSIA bt  CANADA 3/0
Aifa Azman bt Molly Chadwick 11-4, 11-6, 11-9
Chan Yiwen bt Erica McGillicuddy 11-3, 11-6, 11-6
Ainaa Ampandi bt Brianna Jefferson 11-4, 12-10, 11-2
 AUSTRALIA bt  JAPAN 2/1
Alex Haydon bt Erisa Sano Herring 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 14-12
Sze Yu Lee lost to Ayumi Watanabe 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 9-11
Remashree Muniandy bt Rafu Takahashi 11-9, 11-7, 11-6
Final positions: 1 Malaysia, 2 Australia, 3 Canada, 4 Japan
 HONG KONG CHINA bt  INDIA 3/0
Chan Sin Yuk bt Sanya Vats 11-4, 11-9, 11-4
Kirstie Po Yui Wong bt Aishwarya Khubchandani 12-10, 11-7, 11-7
Lee Sum Yuet bt Yoshna Singh 11-1, 11-6, 11-5
 NEW ZEALAND bt  IRELAND 3/0
Anika Jackson bt Emma McGugan 11-2, 11-8, 11-7
Natalie Sayes bt Emma Lundy 11-6, 11-1, 11-5
Winona-Jo Joyce bt Alessia Osborne 11-5, 11-1, 11-1
Final positions: 1 Hong Kong China, 2 India, 3 New Zealand, 4 Ireland, 5 Chinese Taipei
 ENGLAND bt  USA 2/1
Elise Lazarus lost to Marina Stefanoni 11-9, 11-8, 2-11, 7-11, 7-11
Alice Green bt Olivia Robinson 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 6-11, 17-15
Evie Coxon bt Elisabeth Ross 11-7, 11-8, 11-5
 SOUTH AFRICA bt  REPUBLIC OF KOREA 3/0
Faith Panashe Sithole bt Chae Won Song 11-6, 14-12, 11-7
Teagan Roux bt Shin Yu Jin 11-7, 11-7, 12-10
Helena Coetzee bt Jang Yea Won 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4
Final positions: 1 England, 2 USA, 3 South Africa, 4 Republic of Korea, 5 Sweden
 EGYPT bt  AUSTRALIA 3/0
Hania El Hammamy bt Alex Haydon 11-7, 11-5, 11-9
Jana Shiha bt Sze Yu Lee 11-5, 11-6, 11-6
Farida Mohamed bt Remashree Muniandy 11-8, 11-3
 ENGLAND bt  INDIA 3/0
Elise Lazarus bt Sanya Vats 8-11, 1-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3
Alice Green bt Aishwarya Khubchandani 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6
Evie Coxon bt Yoshna Singh 11-7, 8-11, 13-11
 HONG KONG CHINA bt  USA 3/0
Chan Sin Yuk bt Marina Stefanoni 11-7, 7-11, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4
Kirstie Po Yui Wong bt Olivia Robinson 11-4, 11-6, 11-9
Lee Sum Yuet bt Caroline Spahr 8-11, 13-11, 11-6
 MALAYSIA bt  SWITZERLAND 3/0
Aifa Azman bt Ambre Allinckx 11-4, 13-11, 11-4
Chan Yiwen bt Cassandra Fitze 11-3, 11-7, 11-4
Ainaa Ampandi bt Alina Poessl 11-1, 11-5
13th – 18th place play-offs:
 SWEDEN bt  SINGAPORE 3/0
Sara Månberg bt Paige Teresa Hill 11-5, 11-5, 11-2
Moa Bönnemark bt Sonya Bajaj 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8
Malin Frank bt Wei Ting Lim 11-4, 11-9
 JAPAN bt  CHINESE TAIPEI 3/0
Erisa Sano Herring bt Wu Yi-Chen 11-9, 11-6, 11-6
Ayumi Watanabe bt Wang Yuan 11-3, 11-7, 11-2
Rafu Takahashi bt Chen Pin Yu 11-6, 11-0