Australia and New Zealand booked their ticket to the quarters ealier on today, and the two Trans-Tasman rivals will clash tomorrow night at Modern Squash.
By Jérôme Elhaïk and Jenny Lavaud
Pictures from Nathalie Goossens
First up for the knock out matches on the glass court at Modern Squash opposed Canada and Australia. Although Australia were widely expected to win, the Canadian squad didn’t intend to give them an easy time. The last time the two teams had met was in the quarter finals in 2007 in Chennai, India where Australia went on to take 3rd place.
The order of the matches being 2-1-3, Pilley and De Lierre (picture above) started off the festivities. The players had already met 5 times previously, Pilley having conceeded none. In the first game, a very impressive Pilley took an early lead and raced on to take the second leaving no space for his opponent 11-3. The third was a different picture – a much tigher game but Pilley finally pulled away and secured a 1-0 lead for Australia. The next match to follow brought on the N°1 seeds - Ryan Cuskelly and Nick Sachvie. Despite having never played against each other before, Cuskelly was obviously a clear favourite. A close, well-fought first game proved that this could be an interesting match. After two short unlucky intervals on Sachvie’s behalf due to injury and a broken string, Cuskelly eventually won the game 11-8. However, the Australian took the next two games 11-8, 11-9 and went on to clinch the match. Last on, Rex Hendrick and Michael Mc Cue had a tough, first game, the Australian edging through 11-9 and then took the third to make it a 3-0 victory for the Aussies.
Australia will now play New Zealand in tomorrow’s quarters.
Comments from Cameron after his no-messing win over Shaun
"I’m glad I got the team off to a good start and I knew that I had to stay sharp and be positive and make sure that Shaun didn’t get into his rythme. We’re the same age and we’ve had some battles over the times but we haven’t played for a while. As a team, we know that if we play good squash on the glass court and hit the corners, you’ll get rewarded. It’s really important to have experience playing on the glass court before the big matches to come because if you’re not playing well, you get really punished."
Meanwhile, New Zealand were battling with Spain on the plaster court. Young Spaniard Iker Pajares was able to equalize at 1-all against Campbell Grayson, but the experience of the Kiwi prevailed in the next two games (picture below). Spanish number 1 Borja Golan then had no other choice to beat Paul Coll to keep his team alive in the tie. The first three games were outstanding, lasting more than an hour overall and with some gruelling rallies between the two players. Unfortunately, the Spaniard picked an injury at the end of the third, and could no longer defend his chances. New Zealand therefore won 2-0 and are through to the quarters.
New Zealand's coach Kashif Shuja after his team's win
"It's a big deal for us to make the quarters because we hadn't reached that stage for more than 20 years. We've been working hard for the last 3 years and are definitely on a high at the moment, so this gives us an extra boost. We've had 6 amazing days so far here, and the boys are confident and playing well. Yes, it was a very close tie against Spain, but we were expecting this, it's the World Championship after all! Paul's match coud have gone either way and it's a shame that Borja got injured. Now we are playing Australia, who are our sporting rivals. They are seeded 4 and we are 6, so it's a close one on paper and I expect it to be on the court tomorrow.”