Malaysia produced the first upset in the WSF Men's World Team Squash Championship by beating Asian rivals India, the eighth seeds, 2/1 in the second qualifying round of the biennial World Squash Federation event at Modern Squash in Marseille.
By Howard Harding
Playing in team order 1, 3 & 2, world No.21 Saurav Ghosal opened proceedings for India by taking on Nafiizwan Adnan, a lower-ranked Malaysian to whom he had never before lost. The Malaysian number one took the opening game before Ghosal fought back to forge a 2/1 lead. Adnan, the 31-year-old UK-based world No.31, drew level to force a decider - but twice again Ghosal led, 8-6 & 9-7. Underdog Adnan persevered however and, after 72 minutes, clinched the 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9 victory which swung the momentum in favour of the ninth seeds. India struck back when Mahesh Mangaonkar recovered from a game down to beat 21-year-old Mohd Syafiq Kamal 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 to level the tie. Teenager Eain Yow Ng, who, like Kamal, was making his maiden appearance in the championship, then faced India's experienced Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, a 28-year-old from Chennai celebrating his fourth time in the world championship. It was the pair's first meeting, but 19-year-old Ng was unfazed - and battled back from 2/1 down to overcome Sandhu 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 in 62 minutes to strengthen Malaysia's bid to top Pool H.
Malaysia's team manager Major Maniam, who only a year ago returned to his home country after a lengthy period as the Indian National Coach, was delighted with his team's performance: "With our No.2 out with an injury, we arrived in Marseille with a slightly weakened team - but Wan (Nafiizwan) and Yow were outstanding today... (...)
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