The top eight seeded nations sailed through their opening encounters on day one of the WSF Men's World Team Squash Championship in Marseille, all winning 3/0 at Modern Squash in the French city. The 25th staging of the biennial World Squash Federation event is being held in France for the second time in four years.
By Howard Harding
After qualifying rounds at Modern, knockout action from the last 16 round onwards will take place on an all-glass showcourt at Salle Vallier, leading to the final on Sunday (3 December). The event got underway with a confrontation between two of the giant nations of world squash: Egypt the No.1 seeds looking to gain revenge for their surprise defeat to England in the 2013 final and win the title for a fourth time, faced Pakistan, who reigned supreme between 1981 and 1987, and have been champions six times in all - but in 2017 are the 17th seeds.
Whilst the favourites come into the event with four players in the world top 11, underdogs Pakistan have a squad featuring only one player ranked within the top 150. With day's playing order set at 3,2,1, third string Marwan Elshorbagy, ranked six in the world, put Egypt firmly in the driving seat with an 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 victory over Amaad Fareed, the world No.162. Fresh from making the finals of three major PSA World Tour events in the past six weeks, and becoming the US Open champion, world No.4 Ali Farag sealed Egypt's overall win by beating Shahjahan Khan 11-3, 11-4, 11-9 (picture above courtesy to Ladies Squash). It was in the third match that Pakistan secured their only game of the day when Farhan Zaman claimed the third against Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad before the world No.2 wrapped up the match 11-7, 13-11, 7-11, 11-4. "We would have preferred to play opponents like Pakistan in the second match - it's a pity that such a great squash battle happened on the first day," said Ashraf Hanafi, the Egyptian National Coach. "We don't know their players - but we knew they'd be dangerous. It was a tough draw for Pakistan. (...)
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