• Men's World Team Championships 2009  • Odense •  

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Tue 29th Sep, Day THREE: Pools Decision Day


Scotland and Kuwait
take unexpected top 16 places ... South Africa shock Pakistan ... Anjema inflicts first-ever team defeat on Palmer ...
Matthew injured
as England go through ...

13.00  H: ITA 2-1 IND   A: EGY 3-0 SRB   A: HKG 1-2 KUW   H: SCO 3-0 VEN

16.00  F: PAK 1-2 RSA   D: AUS 2-1 NED   C: FRA 3-0 IRL    F: SWE 3-0 KEN

19.00  E: MAS 3-0 USA   B: AUT 2-1 JPN    B: ENG 2-1 GER   G: CAN 3-0 NZL

Detailed results         Playoff draws

19.00 Matches ...

Playoffs decided

The playoff places were sealed with the final batch of pool matches. Malaysia and Canada scored 3-0 wins over USA and New Zealand to top Pools E and G.

And although defending champions England won Pool B with victory over Germany, the retirement through injury of their number one Nick Matthew will be a big concern ...
End of the playoffs
Dan Zilic reports

I got to watch Germany vs. England and Canada vs- New Zealand. I had positioned myself right between the courts quite early as I was really dying to see Jonathon Power play and I knew it would be tough to get a seat, as these matches were on the back courts.


Raphael Kandra
made his debut for Germany against Adrian Grant. Raphael is one of Germany's top juniors (and men) and was (I think) the only player to take a game off Shorbagy in the British. He certainly hung in well against Adrian and never made it easy for the Englishman, who was moving silkily smooth as always. Adrian managed to keep a few points between himself and Kandra for most of the time so it ended 5, 7 and 7. A solid debut for the junior, who might have wished to threaten in taking a game, but Adrian just never let him get quite close enough.

While Sean and Martin were still playing match two of Germany and England had started. It was pretty eagerly anticipated by the German fans since they rarely get to see their number one on international duty. Simon Rösner played against world number five Nick Matthew and the first rally, no joke, lasted a good two minutes.

And this was no up-and-down the wall squash, but high-paced attacking squash. Simon even hit a spectacular cross-court nick which Nick picked up no problem and a few shots later the rally ended, how else could it be, in a let. The game continued in this vain until towards the middle of the game Nick managed to move away and establish a lead and take the game 11:4.

At 3:3 in game two the unfortunate happened - Nick moved one way and then the other and somehow twisted his ankle. In the beginning it looked like he'd get up again right away, but after a few more seconds it became clear it was the end of the road - what a pity!

I think at this point Martin was still playing Shawn and Jens Schoor started against Peter Barker. I saw Jens hit some great winners but Peter is just so strong that you will need to do far more than that to get him in trouble. A good match for Jens though, who will be happy to get this kind of opposition.


In the meantime Shawn Delierre and Martin Knight were battling it out. I have never watched Shawn play before but have seen his results and what I remembered were a good few upsets and some very very long matches. I thought he was 60-40 favourite for the match but Martin, certainly one of the fittest players around, surprised me by taking the first two games. It was very tight but Martin was countering Shawn's attacks with great drops or wonderful lobs.

The thing was though that Shawn was playing too many boasts from the back, inviting Martin to use his good speed, get on the ball quickly and put Shawn under pressure with a tight drop. Delierre was getting more and more agitated and at 8:8 in the third game (or perhaps even 9:8) it looked like Martin would seal it - but Shawn is a resilient and very versatile player and got the third game 11:9 and then started an attacking onslaught in the fourth.

Suddenly he was rolling off nicks and incredible volley boasts, which even Martin was having trouble retrieving (and that says something). The fifth was tight again and although momentum was with Shawn Martin fought incredibly hard to keep it even. But Shawn's tight shots and tricky flicks were just too good in the end and the match ended in Shawn's favour. A great match though no doubt - a superb combination of incredible retrievals, beautiful touches and inventive attacking.

After the epic first match Mr. Power took to the court against Kiwi Kashif Shuja. This was, on paper, going to be a tougher test for Power after David Vidal, although Vidal managed to beat Shuja (surprisingly) in the group phase (another big surprise comeback 3:2 win). Shuja certainly did not look impressed and was not looking to contain Power with super-tight Squash, but instead tried to play to his own strengths.

From the outset it became clear though that he was going to be made work hard for every single point. Time and time again Power took full advantage of a loose shot or poor length by holding the shot, play a dying length and make Shuja run all the way around him. Couple that with some great deception and some perfect drops and you are in deep trouble.

Power won the first game 11:4 and while he took the lead in the second Shuja did begin to make the Canadian work hard himself - especially his boasts made Power cover a lot of ground. The thing is though that at times he got the boasts in a last gasp effort and played an absolutely sublime winning drop off them and he took the game 11:6.

Make no mistake though - at this point Power was fully in the match and did not want to lose a single point - he was questioning refereeing calls and shouting and got a conduct warning when missing a volley (he tried to look away when playing it) muttering "Watch the friggin' ball!".

He argued with the ref that he did not use a swear word but the referee either did not speak good English or has a low tolerance for swearing.

Game three saw more of the same with Shuja working hard but not letting loose. He also caught Power with a couple of his own well-held and disguised cross-court drops. Power did not look comfortable any more but took his chances and was awarded a number of strokes, which were probably just about strokes, but he did get the calls he wanted and made some extra efforts explaining to the referee why he deserved a let on that or a stroke on this.

The last game finished 11:6 and Power pumped his fist and was clearly satisfied with his win - lest we forget that Shuja is a very handy top 50 player who beat Shorbagy in the first round of the British just a few weeks ago.

Honestly, we are all hoping that Power plays against Scotland tomorrow again. He would be playing Alan Clyne, who is somewhat in-form at the moment and while probably not stronger than Shuja, can run for two hours and play at a very high pace, so it will be interesting, or lets say educational, to see how Power deals with him.

The tie ended 3:0 to Canada with Razik beating Grayson in the dead-rubber.


I didn't watch it though as there was a fierce battle going on between Austria and Japan, who had their play-off for third place in their group.

It was interesting for Serbia too because we were to face the losing team for the 25 - 28 play-off. I have to say I had expected Japan to cause a semi-upset but Stefan Brauneis beat Takanori Shimzu 3:1. The Japanese number three started strongly, he is very quick and bouncy, but I was told he faded after the first game and Brauneis took full advantage of it.

Therefore Aqeel Rehman had the chance to decide the tie for Austria. He was playing Japan's number one, Yuta Fukui, who I believe might still be a junior. I came for the fifth set in what was a highly entertaining match - two incredibly fit and quick players playing their heart out for their countries.

Rallies were frantic and high-paced and at 4:4 Aqeel hit a really lucky winner off his frame, which kind of upset Fukui and he went 9:5 down. He managed to stage a comeback to 9:9 thanks to some fantastic retrieving, but Aqeel, hitting a cool behind the back cross-court, finished things off and won the tie for Austria.

The meaningless dead rubber was won by Tsukue 3:0, against Dirnberger, who might have saved himself for matches to come.


Fram's view

It was all going fine for England – we were not exactly waiting for an upset against Germany, no disrespect – and I was on my way to see where the boys were at when I met with the Ref, coming back from the other end of the venue.

Nick just twisted his ankle, he said.

According to Simon Rosner, who was playing against Nick at the time, the Englishman was surprised by a flick, and went for the ball, twisting his ankle on the way. Although it didn’t seem too bad at the time, the ankle swelled very fast, and Nick has been taken to hospital for Xrays. Doesn’t look good to be honest.

I can’t believe how unlucky this boy is. I just cannot believe it. Since I’ve been on the circuit, I remember NY 2005, back injury against Thierry, Toronto Classic 2006, ankle against Hisham, then two years ago, shoulder, and then this… How unlucky can you get…

"This was the first time I ever played Peter. What is impressive is his consistency. I could more or less match his pace during the first game, and it was pretty tight up to there. But after that, I wasn’t able to sustain such a pace.

"I guess the answer is to get more and more matches like that, against the top guys, to get used to their pace, and get faster, fitter and stronger. That’s the key to any progression for me now…"

USA Malaysia

16.00 Matches ...
South Africans shock Pakistan
Dan Zilic reports

Right now I am watching South Africa play Pakistan. Pakistan, despite their higher seeding, are in trouble. Clinton Leeuw played out of his skin to beat Yasir Butt 3:2.

Butt started slowly but then really upped the tempo, but Clinton showed great resistance. Butt continued to play a high-risk game and while he did make Clinton work and hit some great winners, it did backfire when he hit a few tins in succession in the closing stages of the fifth.

"Last year I tried to qualify for the Men’s Worlds in Manchester, and I couldn’t. And I realised that my only way to improve would be to get more exposure, more matches with the top players.

"So I went and trained in Germany with a coach, Derek Lawrence, and started to make more and more matches, and that made the difference I believe today.

"I was always fit and fast, but I didn’t really hit the ball accurately enough. That’s what I’ve been working on primarily on, and now I also need to work on my fitness to get to the next level, where I want to go…."

Now, Steve Coppinger is up in the fifth after being 2:0 down to Amir Atlas Khan. I don't know how he recovered but the South Africans are a real gritty team - something that seems to lack in the Pakistani team, who impress with their shots, speed and skill, but somehow the the sum of all this is not mounting up to enough to beat the Springboks, who are cheering themselves on like men possessed (especially Jessie is doing a great job).

Okay - Coppinger 10:8, nick by Khan to 9:10, tin by Coppinger to 10:10, tin by Khan to give Coppinger two more match balls at 11:10. Coppinger plays a winning drop to take SA 2:0 up - what a surprise!

So South Africa certainly caused the upset of the second round of matches - I was especially happy to see Clinton go through in the end as I know him (he lives in Germany) and he is a great player. He really had his heart in that match and deserved it through and through. The reward is a meeting with the US tomorrow - which is a tough one.

US are favoured at position one, I think SA may have the edge at three so it boils down to the match at position two - Gilly Lane versus either Rodney Durbach or Jesse Engelbrecht, and we are starting with second string matches tomorrow!

Fram reports

D: Australia 2-1 Netherlands

Aaron Frankcomb 3-2 Rene Mijs 
                    8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (68m)
David Palmer 1-3 LJ Anjema   
                    6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 10-12 (58m)
Cameron Pilley 3-0 Piedro Schweertman
                   11-0, 11-6, 13-11 (31m)

I must say I did let the rest of the world go by as Australia was playing Netherlands. First on was Aaron, for his first selection for his country, he played yesterday, so it’s wasn’t his first match, but nervous yes, he was…

Not in at the start though, but as the match went along, he started to stress out, “didn’t want to let Australia down”, and against a stunning Rene Mijs who let go of his arm, found himself 2/0. Unfortunately for Netherlands, Rene went for a bit too much, probably wanted to finish things quickly, and made too many errors in the 3rd, putting the Australian right back into it….

"I was pretty relaxed in the first game, went up comfortably 8/5, I was playing OK, nothing extraordinary, but he started coming back, my length dropped off, he found a few nice shots and snapped the first, and before I knew it, I was down 2/0, thinking, hold on, I’m going to lose that match, and I really didn’t want to, I didn’t want to let the team down.

"Then I remember Rodney Eyles telling me to start from scratch, to start from fresh, and that’s what I did. Found a good length again, kept in front of him, nothing special, keeping it simple really, and he made a lot of unforced errors, that helped…!

"And it all went my way from then on…"


Fram reports

It had to happen sometimes I guess, but this will not be a day David Palmer will remember fondly.

According to my records, the Marine had never lost a match for Australia, but when he found himself 2/0 down, the Australia Camp started to panic.

What happened? Well, LJ played extremely well, for a start!

He was constantly in front of David, found some great shots at the front, playing at a very fast pace, and when David was making his move with his trademark volley, the counter attack was just spot on. David was on the back foot constantly…

There was a moment at the end of the third where I saw LJ a bit tired, and David felt it too. He kept the momentum going in the 4th, leading 6/3, with a Netherlander looking a bit lost. And we thought, well, there is a five setter waiting to happen.

But no, LJ regrouped, and honestly, played the best game I’ve seen him play since that stunning match in the first phases of the worlds in Cairo against John White, a match he only lost 11/9 in the 5th (on a burst ball at 9/9…).

David may not have played his best game – on a warm court as well – but LJ was on fire today.

From 6/4 up, David made four uncharacteristic unforced errors (didn’t do one in the previous game), including one that set up the match ball at 10/8.

A winning shot for LJ, who didn’t celebrate, didn’t show his emotions whatsoever on there.

Neither did David…

13.00 Matches …

As we thought, Serbia was eaten alive by the Egyptians, and Daniel Zilic, our special reporter here in Odense, has made a good article on it.

3/0 for Egypt, with Wael, Karim and Ramy against Ivan, Dennis and Daniel…


Oh well, it didn’t start well for the poor injury-ridden Indians, as in their first match, Gaurav Nandrajog, who stepped in at the last minute to support his team, was penalised with a conduct game for bad language.

I could only hear what happened, as I was slaving away in the press room, but apparently, as Italy was leading 2/0 and 8/5, there was a collision between the two players, in a match that I’m told was a bit messy movement wise.

As the collision was a bit brutal, Gaurav was not happy, “what was that,” I could hear, then a bit brouhaha, loud voices, and the next thing I heard was “conduct game, and match to Italy”. It would seem that the Indian player would have used bad language…

In the next game, not a word out of order between Davide and Ritwik, an encounter that ended with a 3/0 victory again for Italy.

As for the dead rubber between “new Italian” Amr Swelim – may I remind you that his dad is actually Italian – and Harinder Sandhu, it turned out to be a good victory for India, 3/0.

“I started a bit too slow, a bit too relaxed, and he played very well, I just couldn’t get into the match really today…” said a disappointed Amr.


This was a bit of a Christmas day in reverse today, as we already had two conduct games (one led to match) awarded in the first round of matches. The first one, in the Italian/Indian match, and the second one as Scotland's Stuart Crawford was playing a dead rubber against Venezualan Juan Pablo Rothie.

Up to then, Scotland was cruising really 3, 4, 4 for Chris Small against Juan Pablo Sanchez, and 0, 3, 1 for Alan Clyne against Francisco Vallecillo.

Stuart was controlling the first game 11/4, and was up 7/5 in the 2nd and as I passed by on the gallery, I could hear – again – an argument going on, with Stuart been refused a let.

He was explaining that he did go round his opponent, and got the ball on his racquet before the ball bounced twice. The ref wouldn’t have his explanation, and I couldn't hear what was said, but I guess the ref heard something that she didn’t like, as the game was awarded to Venezuela.

Well, a bit of excitement I guess in a match that was going so smoothly, not much to write home about now, is there…


That will be a sad day in Hong Kong, as they are out of the top world 16, after their defeat against Kuwait, with two victories for Abdullah and Bader against Dick and Leo.

I only saw the first rallies of Abdullah v Dick, and I can tell you that the squash was top qualities, with long rallies, and great short games from both players.

In the qualifying rounds of the Asian Team Champs, Kuwait already upset Hong Kong, finishing 3rd of the competition while  HK ended up 5th back in 2006, and they beat Pakistan in the semi-finals of the 2008 event.

So another excellent result for the country that in a few weeks will be hosting the Men's World Championship…

Serbia take on top seeds
(and come off second best)

Dan Zilic reports

So today Serbia, boasting seven squash courts in three different clubs played against Egypt - who probably have more courts than that per square mile in their larger cities. We fielded our strongest team for the first time today and were hoping that this may make the difference. I will tell you so much now - it didn't!

Ivan played Wael and did well for himself after a slow start. He exerted himself so much in game one that he did not manage a point in game two, but came out all guns blazing in game three and managed another eitht points, using his great reach time and time again to catch El-Hindi's cross-courts.

Dennis Drenjovski was on next and played against Karim. Quite honestly we were afraid Karim would annihilate Dennis as we have watched him play ruthless Squash. In comparison to Ramy and Wael he plays a bit less open and hits an incredible length, which makes it tough for players like us because we are hoping that they may make some mistake or give us one or two cheap points. There was no need to be afraid though as Dennis played really well and actually managed 7, 5 and 5 points, taking the lead a few times in the match. Karim hit some deadly lengths and incredible drops, but Dennis made the most out of playing the number one and made the team proud.

I was on court against Ramy next and I was totally over-rolled in game one, going 1:0 down and then luckily managing 2 more points before losing 11:2. Ramy's drops from all round the court are just so good - I really tried my best to cover them but most of the time I was simply no where near them. Game two went a little better and I managed 5 points. Even Ramy's lob-serves make life from the outset of the rallies so tough, you play an average return and he simply slams or cuts it in the nick. Game three was the best of all and I took a 1:0 and 9:8 lead. I managed a few good drop shots which Ramy casually countered with some cross-court drops into the nick. Lost 11:9 in the end but it was a lot of fun and a special day for Serbia.

We got some autographs from all the players on a shirt  as well as a signed flag which will all go up in Ivan's club SquashLand.

As for the other games - well, Fram covered them! We were quite interested to see Hong Kong play Kuwait - as they both seemed pretty close. Hong Kong fielded Leo Au for the first time who was beaten surprisingly clear by Alhusaini (who is working since two years and is no longer playing full time he told us).

Still a tough competitor though - let me tell me you. That meant Hong Kong needed the next two matches - they were favourites at position two but it meant before that Dick Lau needed to beat Al-Mezayen. And Al-Mezayen beat the higher-ranked Lau 3:0.

I saw some rallies and Al-Mezayen looks really casual and while he is not the most precise player, he has incredible pace and moves really well. Second was a 14:12 tie-break and Al-Mezayen virtually sealed the tie with that. As predicted, Lee did win the dead rubber against Mohammad 3:1.

Other than that there were no real surprises. Venezuela won their first game of the competition when Rothie took a game off Crawford at second string. Rothie looks the strongest Venezuela player at two and winning that one game was a bit surprising, but had nothing to do with luck.


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