Egypt enter final; India out of WC

Karim El Hammamy opened the account for his team with a comfortable 3-0 win over Tomotaka Endo in the first match to give Egypt the lead.
India’s Saurav Ghosal in action against Malaysia’s Darren Pragasam on Friday | M ravikumar
India’s Saurav Ghosal in action against Malaysia’s Darren Pragasam on Friday | M ravikumar

CHENNAI: Defending champs Egypt lived up to their top billing routing Japan 4-0 to reach the final of the Squash World Cup played at the Express Avenue Mall here on Friday. Egypt will face Malaysia in the final on Saturday. 

Karim El Hammamy opened the account for his team with a comfortable 3-0 win over Tomotaka Endo in the first match to give Egypt the lead. In the second match, Fayrouz Aboelkheir put in her best performance of the tournament as she stunned tournament top-ranked player Satomi Watanabe in straight games.

She had a confident start against Watanabe by bagging a 2-0 lead with 7-5, 7-2 wins before seeing out the match with another 7-2 victory. Egypt’s march towards the final was briefly halted when the impressive Ryunosuke Tsukue took a 1-0 lead against Aly Abou Eleinen. The 21-year-old rallied, though, clinching the second game on sudden death before putting the contest beyond all doubt with 7-5, 7-6 wins. Both sides opted to play the dead rubber, with Kenzy Ayman beating Akari Midorikawa 2-0 in a best-of-three.

Malaysia shock India 
Hosts India are out of the World Cup after a shock defeat to Malaysia in the other semifinals. Malaysia won 3-0. Malaysia took the lead in the first match, with Sai Hung Ong saving a sudden death match ball and then converting in the fifth game to edge a gripping encounter with Chennai’s Abhay Singh.

In the second match, which was crucial for India, 18-year-old Aira Azman took a 2-0 lead against Joshna Chinappa. Joshna did well to win the third game but eventually went down 7-4 in the fourth to leave India in deep trouble. After Singh’s and Chinappa’s defeats, India needed wins from both Saurav Ghosal and Tanvi Khanna to have any hope of progressing. Darren Pragasam took a shock 1-0 lead against World No 19 Ghosal. The 36-year-old came storming back in the second game to check Malaysia’s momentum, but 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.

Results: Semifinals: Egypt bt Japan 4-0 (Karim El Hammamy bt Tomotaka Endo 7-1, 7-6, 7-2; Fayrouz Aboelkheir bt Satomi Watanabe 7-5, 7-2, 7-2; Aly Abou Eleinen bt Ryunosuke Tsukue 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-5; Kenzy Ayman bt Akari Midorikawa 7-3, 7-4); Malaysia bt India 3-0 (Sai Hung Ong bt Abhay Singh 7-4, 5-7, 1-7, 7-1, 7-6; Aira Azman bt Joshna Chinappa 7-3, 7-3, 5-7, 7-4; Darren Pragasam bt Saurav Ghosal 7-5, 2-7, 7-6, 6-5).

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