England, Australia in World squash summit clash
Dec 12: Both England and Australia have set up a title clash in the World men’s team squash championship after a gap of 16 years. Defending champion England will fight it out to retain its title while eight time champions Australia will put all its effort to regain its 2003 glory where they defeated France in the finals.
Defending champion England beat France 2-1 while Australia had done a major upset defeating top seeds and title favourites Egypt by a similar margin in their respective semi-finals to set up a title clash in the 21st World Men's Team squash Championship played at the ICL academy courts here on Tuesday.
Australia were guided to victory by their world No. 4 David Palmer, who produced his best game of the tournament thus far to put an end to the 21-week winning streak of world No. 1 Amr Shabana of Egypt.
Shabana broke his racquet into pieces after losing the tie. In fact Egypt was given a rousing start by Mohammed Abbas after he efficiently suppressed Cameron Pilley’s challenge. Abbas came up with his wristy flicks and brilliant returns to get past Pilley 11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 8-11.
Shabana just had to complete the formalities but met with stern challenge from Palmer. Shabana slipped into unforced errors and Palmer gave no way to his opponent to bounce back and restored parity with an 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 scoreline.
In the deciding rubber Stewart Boswell got the better off Karim Darwish 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 to take his team into the finals. The win was of great significance to Australia, which is seeking to regain glory after 2003.
“I thought Shabana was also tiring. Perhaps, the team should have used him better and not played him in every match. After having a long season so far,” Palmer said after the match.
In the other semifinal, England got off the blocks well. Peter Barker beat the left-handed Renan Lavigne before Mathew had the measure of Gaultier who repeated slipped while taking drop shots. Though James Willstrop lost to Thiery Lincou in the last inconsequential rubber, England was through.
Meanwhile Indian dismal show continued as they lost 5-8 play-off match 1-2 to Canada. Saurav Ghosal gave a glimmer of hope but later both Siddarth Suchde and Ritwik Bhattacharya efforts turned futile by the opponents. India will now play Netherlands, which lost to Malaysia, for the 7-8 places.
Australia bt Egypt 2-1 (Cameron Pilley lost to Mohammed Abbas 11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 8-11; David Palmer bt Amr Shabana 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6; Stewart Boswell bt Karim Darwish 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8).
England bt France 2-1 (Peter Barker bt Renan Lavigne 11-6, 11-6, 11-6; Nick Mathew bt Gregory Gaultier 11-3, 11-6, 11-4; James Willstrop lost to Thiery Lincou 10-12, 8-11).
Play-off Matches: 5-8: Malaysia bt Netherlands 3-0; Canada bt India 2-1.
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