Egypt Crowned SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Champions

June 18 2023

Egypt have been crowned the SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Champions after coming from behind to beat Malaysia in front of a capacity crowd in Chennai’s Express Avenue Mall.

The SDAT WSF Squash World Cup, which had not been played since 2011, was brought back this year with a number of exciting changes, including gender-balanced teams of two men and two women, scoring games to seven, and sudden death tiebreaks when scores are 6-6.

2011 winners Egypt’s title defence got off to the worst possible start against the No.4 seeds, who they beat 3-1 in the Pool Stage of the tournament.

Malaysia’s second string woman Xin Ying Yee - who lost 3-2 to Kenzy Ayman in the Pool Stage - gave her team a 1-0 lead with a 3-0 win over Ayman, with the 19-year-old saving four game balls and converting her own match ball in the third game.

World No.21 Aly Abou Eleinen restored parity for the top seeds with a battling 3-0 win over World No.134 Darren Pragasam in the men’s first string match.

This meant that, if Fayrouz Aboelkheir could avenge her Pool Stage 3-2 defeat to Aira Azman, Egypt would have an unassailable lead due to points being won by first string players being worth double.

To the delight of the Egyptian team, Aboelkheir was calmness personified, playing more of the clinical squash that saw her shock Satomi Watanabe in the semi final to take a 2-0 lead against Azman.

The Malaysian came back brilliantly in the third game, though, saving World Cup ball to keep Malaysia in the contest with a 7-6 win in the third game.

The 17-year-old came close to the unthinkable in the fourth game, when she saved five World Cup balls to force another sudden death tiebreak, but could not hold on, with Aboelkheir sinking to her knees as a stroke decision in her favour meant that she and her teammates would put their names alongside 2011 winners and squash royalty Raneem El Welily, Ramy Ashour, Karim Darwish and Mohamed ElShorbagy.

Afterwards, Aboelkheir said: “It wasn’t an easy match! Last time with Aira it was [very tough] and she beat me 3-2. This time, I had to keep my focus. In the last match [against Azman] I had a really bad day and put the team in a difficult position, so now knew I had to play really well and I’m really proud of each and every one of us, we fought really hard to get this title.”

Before the final, the 5-6 place and the 7-8 place playoffs took place at the Indian Squash Academy.

In the 5-6 place playoff, Australia came from behind to beat Colombia to finish fifth and meet their seeding. Despite the defeat, Colombia beat their seeding by two places with a 6th-place finish.

In the 7-8 place playoff, No.7 seeds South Africa overcame No.6 seeds Hong Kong, China.

At the prize ceremony, the Egypt, Malaysia, India and Japan teams were presented with medals and trophies by M.K. Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who congratulated all the teams who had competed and thanked the World Squash Federation (WSF) for choosing India to host the SDAT Squash World Cup.

WSF President Zena Wooldridge added her congratulations and thanked the teams for an incredible week of squash, as well as everyone the Squash Rackets Federation of India for their work in hosting and organising the event.

Zina added: “I think you’ll agree we’ve witnessed an outstanding week of squash in Chennai. The new format has produced some really exciting squash and I hope you’ve enjoyed the whole experience and hospitality here in Chennai.

“I’d like to extend a very special thank you to the government of Tamil Nadu and the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu.

“We wouldn’t have had this event without you and our grateful thanks for the exceptional quality.”

SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Final
[1] Egypt 2-1 [4] Malaysia
Kenzy Ayman lost to Xin Ying Yee 0-3: 4-7, 5-7, 6-7 (17m)
Aly Abou Eleinen beat Darren Pragasam 3-0: 7-3, 7-6, 7-4 (26m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir beat Aira Azman 3-1: 7-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 (25m)
Karim El Hammamy v Sai Hung Ong - match withdrawn

5-6 Playoff
[5] Australia 2-1 [8] Colombia
Alex Haydon lost to Catalina Pelaez 2-3: 7-5, 5-7, 5-7, 7-2, 4-7 (29m)
Joseph White beat Felipe Tovar 3-0: 7-2, 7-3, 7-6 (19m)
Jessica Turnbull beat Laura Tovar 3-1: 3-7, 7-1, 7-6, 7-3 (22m)
Nicholas Calvert v Alfonso Marroquin - match withdrawn

7-8 Playoff
[7] South Africa beat [6] Hong Kong, China
Hayley Ward beat Toby Tse 3-1: 7-6, 7-4, 4-7, 7-5 (29m)
Dewald van Niekerk beat Andes Ling 3-0: 7-2, 7-5, 7-3 (25m)
Lizelle Muller lost to Heylie Fung 0-3: 3-7, 6-7, 4-7 (20m)
Jean-Pierre Brits beat Chung Yat Long 3-1: 4-7, 7-4, 7-5, 7-3 (23m)

Final Standings: 2023 SDAT WSF Squash World Cup
1 - Egypt
2 - Malaysia
3 - India
3 - Japan
5 - Australia
6 - Colombia
7 - South Africa
8 - Hong Kong, China

Malaysia pulled off a stunning upset against hosts India, securing a spot in the Squash World Cup final against top-seeded Egypt. The tournament, which features gender-balanced teams and a new scoring system, has been filled with high-paced drama in Chennai's Express Avenue Mall.

In their final match, Malaysia, the fourth seeds, took an early lead when Sai Hung Ong saved a sudden death match ball and eventually won a gripping encounter against Abhay Singh. India's hopes dwindled further as Joshna Chinappa, yesterday's hero, fell to 18-year-old Aira Azman in a 3-1 defeat.

With India needing a win from Saurav Ghosal to stay in contention for the home World Cup final, the task became even more challenging as Ghosal entered the court with heavy strapping on his right leg. India's fears materialized as World No.134 Darren Pragasam shocked the World No.19 by taking a 1-0 lead. Although Ghosal fought back in the second game, he was visibly struggling, and Pragasam capitalized on the opportunity. He secured a 7-6 win in the third game and broke Indian hearts with a 7-5 win in the fourth, sending Malaysia to the final.

Reflecting on his victory, Pragasam expressed gratitude for the immense support from the fans and acknowledged Ghosal's determination despite his injury, praising him as one of the greatest Asian and Indian players.

In the final, Malaysia will face Egypt, who emerged as winners the last time the tournament was held in Chennai in 2012. Egypt's Karim El Hammamy provided his young teammates with a confidence boost by comfortably defeating Tomotaka Endo 3-0 in the first match. The momentum continued for Egypt as 17-year-old Fayrouz Aboelkheir delivered her best performance of the tournament, defeating the top-ranked player Satomi Watanabe in straight games.

Egypt faced a minor setback when Ryunosuke Tsukue took a 1-0 lead against World No.21 Aly Abou Eleinen. However, the 21-year-old Egyptian recovered and sealed their progress to the final with a 3-1 victory. The last match, featuring Kenzy Ayman against Akari Midorikawa, was played, with Ayman securing a 2-0 win in a best-of-three contest.

The SDAT WSF Squash World Cup final between Egypt and Malaysia is scheduled for tomorrow, June 17, at 14:00 (GMT+5:30) inside Chennai's Express Avenue Mall.

Additionally, the 5-6 place playoff will feature No.8 seeds Colombia against No.5 seeds Australia, while No.6 seeds Hong Kong, China will face No.7 seeds South Africa in the 7-8 place playoff.

Colombia's surprising victory over South Africa, where they won based on games won after successes from Laura Tovar and Catalina Pelaez, marked their first win of the championship.

SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Semi-Finals
[1] Egypt 4-0 [3] Japan
Karim El Hammamy beat Tomotaka Endo 7-1, 7-6, 7-2 (21m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir beat Satomi Watanabe 7-5, 7-2, 7-2 (20m)
Aly Abou Eleinen beat Ryunosuke Tsukue 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-5 (36m)
Kenzy Ayman beat Akari Midorikawa 7-3, 7-4 (07m)

[4] Malaysia 3-0 [2] India
Sai Hung Ong beat Abhay Singh 7-4, 5-7, 1-7, 7-1, 7-6 (37m)
Aira Azman beat Joshna Chinappa 7-3, 7-3, 5-7, 7-4 (21m)
Darren Pragasam beat Saurav Ghosal 7-5, 2-7, 7-6, 6-5 (25m)
Xin Ying Yee vs Tanvi Khanna - match withdrawn

Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal staged an impressive comeback for SDAT WSF Squash World Cup hosts India, setting up a thrilling semi-final clash with Malaysia. After a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Japan, who will now face top seeds Egypt in the other semi-final, India secured the top spot in Pool B at Chennai's Express Avenue Mall on the final day of the Pool Stage.

The No.2 seeds had a disappointing start as Chennai-born Abhay Singh suffered a straight-set defeat against Tomotaka Endo. However, former World No.10 Joshna Chinappa came to the rescue in a remarkable second match against Satomi Watanabe, the highest-ranked player in the tournament. In a gripping battle, Chinappa fought back from behind twice, ultimately securing a crucial 3-2 win.

Chinappa's victory meant that if Saurav Ghosal could overcome Ryunosuke Tsukue, India would be guaranteed the top spot. The capacity crowd erupted with joy as Ghosal held his nerve, winning in five games after a comeback from 5-3 down in the decisive fifth game. Tanvi Khanni sealed India's triumph with a routine 3-0 win over Akari Midorikawa.

Reflecting on her match, Chinappa expressed her emotions, acknowledging the importance of supporting each other within the team. She said, "It was just emotional winning this match. We all have to back each other up, and there will be days when I may not win, and the rest of my team will, so today was one of those days when I had to do the job."

Japan's defeat as the No.3 seeds meant they would face a formidable challenge from Egypt, who were thoroughly tested by the No.4 seeds, Malaysia. While Karim El Hammamy comfortably won his match against Sai Hung Ong, World No.55 Aira Azman caused an upset by clinching a hard-fought 3-2 victory over World No.33 Fayrouz Aboelkheir. Aly Abou Eleinen swiftly put Egypt back on track with a dominant 7-1, 7-0, 7-1 win against Darren Pragasam, and Kenzy Ayman narrowly secured a 3-2 victory against Xin Ying Yee.

In other results, No.5 seeds Australia and No.7 seeds South Africa secured their first wins in the tournament, finishing third in Pool A and Pool B, respectively. South Africa's minor seeding upset saw them defeat No.6 seeds Hong Kong, China, with wins from Jean-Pierre Brits, Dewald van Niekerk, and Hayley Ward, earning them a 3-1 victory. They will face No.8 seeds Colombia in the first playoff round tomorrow.

Australia, on the other hand, achieved a clean sweep over Colombia, courtesy of Nicholas Calvert, Jessica Turnbull, Joseph White, and Alex Haydon. As a result, Australia will face Hong Kong, China in the playoff round.

Overall, India's remarkable fightback, along with other exciting matches, set the stage for intense semi-final battles and showcased the thrilling competition at the SDAT WSF Squash World Cup.

SDAT WSF Squash World Cup - Pool A
[1] Egypt 3-1 [3] Malaysia

Karim El Hammamy beat Sai Hung Ong 7-1, 7-3, 7-0 (15m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir lost to Aira Azman 5-7, 7-5, 3-7, 7-2, 3-7 (31m)
Aly Abou Eleinen beat Darren Pragasam 7-1, 7-0, 7-1 (16m)
Kenzy Ayman beat Xin Ying Yee 5-7, 7-4, 7-3, 2-7, 7-5 (26m)

[5] Australia 4-0 [8] Colombia
Nicholas Calvert beat Alfonso Marroquin 7-4, 7-3, 5-7, 7-2 (28m)
Jessica Turnbull beat Laura Tovar 7-6, 4-7, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6  (33m)
Joseph White beat Felipe Tovar 6-7, 7-3, 7-1, 7-0 (25m)
Alex Haydon beat Catalina Pelaez 6-7, 7-6, 7-4, 6-7, 7-6 (30m)

SDAT WSF Squash World Cup - Pool B
[2] India 3-1 Japan [3]

Abhay Singh lost to Tomotaka Endo 6-7, 6-7, 2-7 (21m)
Joshna Chinappa beat Satomi Watanabe 2-7, 7-4, 3-7, 7-5, 7-5 (32m)
Saurav Ghosal beat Ryunosuke Tsukue 7-6, 6-7, 7-4, 3-7, 7-5 (50m)
Tanvi Khanna beat Akari Midorikawa 7-4, 7-1, 7-1 (14m)

[7] South Africa 3-1 Hong Kong, China [6]
Jean-Pierre Brits beat Chung Yat Long 7-1, 6-7, 7-3, 7-6 (36m)
Lizelle Muller lost to Heylie Fung 4-7, 7-6, 6-7, 5-7 (31m)
Dewald van Niekerk beat Andes Ling 7-5, 7-2, 7-6 (24m)
Hayley Ward beat Toby Tse 7-4, 7-4, 7-3 (14m)

Four teams will compete for the top spots in each pool on the final day of the SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Pool Stage after Egypt, Malaysia, India, and Japan all maintained their winning streaks at Chennai's Express Avenue Mall.

With only the top two teams from each pool advancing to the semi-finals, there is no room for error in the quest for a spot in the WSF Squash World Cup, which has made a comeback after a 12-year absence.

In Pool A, the tournament favourites and top seeds, Egypt, recorded their second consecutive 4-0 victory by comfortably defeating Colombia, the eighth seeds. Kenzy Ayman, a 19-year-old player, kick-started a dominant performance with a straight-game win against Catalina Pelaez. Aly Abou Eleinen replicated the scoreline against Felipe Tovar, and Fayrouz Aboelkheir and Karim El Hammamy sealed the victory with 3-1 wins over Laura Tovar and Alfonso Marroquín, respectively.

Egypt will now face Malaysia, the fourth seeds, who emerged victorious from a tense battle with Australia, the fifth seeds. Malaysia's Sai Hung Ong secured the crucial fourth-match victory with a 3-0 win over Nicholas Calvert, ensuring at least a second-place finish. Earlier, Xin Ying Yee and Aira Azman had secured wins over Alex Haydon and Jessica Turnbull, respectively, while Darren Pragasam suffered a defeat against Joseph White. Malaysia showed resilience in securing the victory and advancing to face Egypt.

Pool B will witness a race for the top position between India and Japan, following their triumphs over South Africa and Hong Kong, China, respectively. India's Tanvi Khanna provided a strong start with a 3-1 victory over Hayley Ward, setting the tone for her team. Saurav Ghosal, who was applauded by the crowd for his sportsmanship, extended India's lead with a straight-games win against Dewald van Niekerk. Joshna Chinappa ensured victory with a 3-1 win in the fourth match, and Abhay Singh concluded with a 3-1 win in the last clash of the day.

Japan faced Hong Kong, China in the day's first match and staged a comeback from being one match down to secure a 3-1 victory. Ryunosuke Tsukue, Satomi Watanabe, and Tomotaka Endo claimed wins for Japan, displaying their resilience and skill.

Overall, Egypt, Malaysia, India, and Japan have displayed their prowess in the Squash World Cup Pool Stage, setting the stage for an exciting final day.

SDAT WSF World Cup 2023, Express Avenue Mall, Chennai, India
13th - 17th June 2023
3rd Pool Round:
[2] INDIA v [3] JAPAN

2nd Pool Round:
[1] Egypt 4-0 [8] Colombia
Kenzy Ayman beat Catalina Pelaez 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (15m)
Aly Abou Eleinen beat Felipe Tovar 7-5, 7-2, 7-2 (18m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir beat Laura Tovar 7-3, 7-4, 5-7, 7-2 (20m)
Karim El Hammamy beat Alfonso Marroquín 7-5, 7-3, 4-7, 7-4 (24m)

[4] Malaysia 3-1 [5] Australia
Xin Ying Yee beat Alex Haydon 5-7, 7-4, 7-2, 7-4 (20m)
Darren Pragasam lost to Joseph White 2-7, 6-7, 1-7 (19m)
Aira Azman beat Jessica Turnbull 7-6, 7-2, 6-7, 7-1 (21m)
Sai Hung Ong beat Nicholas Calvert 7-6, 7-1, 7-5 (25m)

SDAT WSF Squash World Cup - Pool B
[2] India 4-0 [7] South Africa
Tanvi Khanna beat Hayley Ward 7-4, 7-2, 3-7, 7-2 (20m)
Saurav Ghosal beat Dewald van Niekerk 7-6, 7-4, 7-1 (25m)
Joshna Chinappa beat Lizelle Muller 7-4, 7-3, 3-7, 7-1 (23m)
Abhay Singh beat Jean-Pierre Brits 7-4, 3-7, 7-6, 7-5 (27m)

[3] Japan 3-1 [6] Hong Kong, China
Akari Midorikawa lost to Toby Tse 5-7, 7-3, 4-7, 4-7 (20m)
Ryunosuke Tsukue beat Andes Ling 7-1, 7-4, 7-1 (18m)
Satomi Watanabe beat Heylie Fung 7-2, 7-1, 5-7, 7-2 (20m)
Tomotaka Endo beat Chung Yat Long 7-4, 7-6, 7-5 (26m)

Hosts India and top seeds Egypt got off to a perfect start in the return of the WSF Squash World Cup after a 12-year hiatus. The tournament, now called the SDAT WSF Squash World Cup, features rule changes such as gender-balanced teams and shorter matches played to seven points per game.

In Pool B, India, seeded second, impressed their home crowd at Chennai's Express Avenue Mall by winning all four matches against Hong Kong, China. Abhay Singh and Joshna Chinappa secured 3-0 victories against Chung Yat Long and Heylie Fung, while Saurav Ghosal and Tanvi Khanna overcame initial deficits to win 3-1 and 3-2, respectively.

Chinappa expressed her pride in representing India at the highest level, acknowledging the success of Indian women in various sports.

India will face South Africa in Pool B in the 2nd round of matches, while Japan, seeded third, defeated seventh-seeded South Africa 3-1 in the opening tie of the day. In Pool A, defending champions Egypt showcased their superiority with a clean sweep against Australia. Karim El Hammamy and Fayrouz Aboelkheir both fought back from a game down to secure 3-1 victories, followed by comfortable straight-game wins from Aly Abou Eleinen and Kenzy Ayman.

Egypt will face Colombia in their next match, while Colombia suffered a 3-1 defeat to Malaysia, seeded fourth.

Overall, India and Egypt started their campaigns impressively, demonstrating their strong positions as contenders in the Squash World Cup.

SDAT WSF World Cup 2023, Express Avenue Mall, Chennai, India
1st Pool Round:

[1] EGYPT bt [5] AUSTRALIA 4/0  
Karim El Hammamy bt Nicholas Calvert 5-7, 7-3, 7-0, 7-3 (29m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir bt Jessica Turnbull 5-7, 7-4, 7-4, 7-4 (23m)
Aly Abou Eleinen bt Joseph White 7-1, 7-6, 7-2 (21m)
Kenzy Ayman bt Alex Haydon 7-5, 7-3, 7-4 (20m)

[4] MALAYSIA bt [8] COLOMBIA 3/1
Ong Sai Hung bt Alfonso Marroquin 7-2, 7-3, 7-4 (16m)
Aira Azman bt Laura Tovar 5-7, 7-0, 7-3, 7-1 (19m)
Darren Pragasam bt Felipe Tovar 7-2, 7-2, 7-2 (14m)
Xin Ying Yee lost to Catalina Pelaez 6-7, 6-7, 7-2, 5-7 (21m)

[3] JAPAN bt [7] SOUTH AFRICA 3/1  
Tomotaka Endo bt Jean-Pierre Brits 7-4, 1-7, 2-7, 7-3, 7-5 (45m)
Satomi Watanabe bt Lizelle Muller 7-2, 7-1, 7-2 (17m)
Ryunosuke Tsukue bt Dewald van Niekerk 4-7, 7-5, 7-5, 7-3 (33m)
Akari Midorikawa lost to Hayley Ward 7-5, 5-7, 1-7, 2-7 (24m)

[2] INDIA bt [6] HONG KONG 4/0
Abhay Singh bt Chung Yat Long 7-2, 7-3, 7-6 (24m)
Joshna Chinappa bt Heylie Fung 7-1, 7-5, 7-5 (20m)
Saurav Ghosal bt Andes Ling 5-7, 7-2, 7-5, 7-1 (25m)
Tanvi Khanna bt Toby Tse 5-7, 6-7, 7-1, 7-4, 7-3 (26m)

What is the Squash World Cup?
The Squash World Cup is organised by the World Squash Federation (WSF) and is an international squash tournament that features national team squads consisting of two men and two women competing against each other.

The 2023 edition of the tournament will take place in Chennai, India, and will include eight teams vying for the title of World Cup Champions. The event is sponsored by the Tamil Nadu Government and supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport in India. Matches will be played between June 13 and June 17, 2023, on a spectacular all-glass show court inside the Express Avenue Mall.

The first Squash World Cup was held in 1996 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, with 16 teams participating. In the inaugural final, top seeds Australia defeated England 3-0, with Brett Martin, Michelle Martin, and Rodney Eyles emerging victorious against Mark Chaloner, Suzanne Horner, and Chris Walker, respectively. The tournament has since been held twice more, with England winning in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, in 1999, and Egypt claiming the title in Chennai in 2011. A separate Under 21 World Cup was also held in Chennai the following year, with Egypt triumphing over surprise finalists India.

The 2023 WSF Squash World Cup has introduced several changes, including gender parity within teams and adopting a game format where matches are played to seven points, a first in the history of the World Squash Federation (WSF).

The competition will follow a format with two round-robin pools, followed by a knockout stage. Each tie will consist of two men's matches and two women's matches. The playing order will be determined by a coin toss and can be either Woman #2, Man #1, Woman #1, Man #2, or Man #2, Woman #1, Man #1, Woman #2. Matches will be played to the best of five games, with each game played to seven points. Even at 6-6, the game will continue until a player reaches seven points. In terms of scoring, winning a match will earn a team points: Women #1 & Men #1 matches award 2 points, while Women #2 & Men #2 matches award 1 point. In the knockout stage, if a tie ends in a draw, the winning team will be determined by the greater positive difference between games won and lost.

The eight teams participating in the 2023 Squash World Cup represent Australia, Colombia, Egypt, Hong Kong China, India, Japan, Malaysia, and South Africa.