5/6 seeds Malaysia, runners up in 2014, went into their tie with Japan as favourites and hit the ground running when Yiwen Chan stormed past Risa Sugamoto 3-0 in 20 minutes.
Japan pulled level when Malaysia’s Aifa Azman, who was 2-1 down at the time, was forced to retire hurt in the fourth game of her match with Japan’s Satomi Watanabe.
Malaysia’s World No.25 Rachel Arnold, though, was able to remain steady as she held off a spirited challenge from 17-year-old World No.98 Akari Midorikawa 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 to setup an enthralling encounter tomorrow.
“This was an important tie. Aifa was playing well in her match but then had the injury, but she’s doing fine now. She and the other three girls are playing well. Rachel really played well [to close out the tie]. We’re hoping to take France tomorrow afternoon. We want to finish number one in our group,” Malaysia’s coach Ajaz Azman said afterwards.
Tomorrow will see a number of blockbuster ties when the pool stage concludes tomorrow.
5/6 seeds Hong Kong, China, will take on England for top spot in Pool C after they got the better of South Africa on the outdoor glass court.
While No.3 seeds England may go into that clash as slight favourites, they will have taken note of the performances of Ka Yi Lee and Sin Yuk Chan after they secured the victory with wins over Cheyna Wood and Lizelle Muller either side of Hong Kong No.1 Tomato Ho’s 3-2 defeat to Alexandra Fuller.
“It’s always tough against South Africa, they usually play above their level in the team events and they gave us a really tough challenge tonight,” Hong Kong coach Peter Genever said.
7/8 seeds Scotland, meanwhile, will compete with No.2 seeds USA for the top spot in Pool B tomorrow after they overcame Australia – the most successful team in tournament history with nine titles – 2-1, though there will be great concern in the camp after Scotland No.Lisa Aitken suffered what appeared to be a serious injury.
Scotland’s meeting with the No.2 seeds may be a particularly tense affair, with the runner up in Pool B scheduled to play the Pool A winner, which will be either 7/8 seeds Canada or top seeds and defending champions Egypt.
Egypt and Canada will meet tomorrow on the outdoor glass court to play for the group winner’s spot after Canada came from one match down to beat Switzerland
In the day’s other tie, Finland picked up their first win of the championship as they overcame debutants Chinese Taipei 3-0.
The pools stage of the WSF Women’s World Team Championship concludes tomorrow (13 December) from 17:30 (GMT+2). You can watch the glass court action live and free on worldsquash.tv and on the channels of our partners.
Find out more about pools and schedules.
Results: WSF Women’s World Team Championship Pools Stage
Pool A: [7/8] CANADA 2-1 SWITZERLAND
Samantha Cornett 2-3 Ambre Allinckx: 12-10, 14-12, 7-11, 8-11, 9-11 (56m)
Hollie Naughton 3-0 Nadia Pfister: 11-4, 11-2, 11-3 (18m)
Nikole Todd 3-1 Celine Walser: 10-12, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6 (29m)
Pool B: [7/8] SCOTLAND 2-1 AUSTRALIA
Alison Thomson 3-0 Alex Haydon: 11-8, 12-10, 11-6 (43m)
Lisa Aitken 2-3 Donna Lobban: 11-4, 11-6, 4-4 rtd (35m)
Georgia Adderley 3-0 Jessica Turnbull: 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 (35m)
Pool C: [5/6] HONG KONG, CHINA 2-1 SOUTH AFRICA
Ka Yi Lee 3-1 Cheyna Wood: 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 (26m)
Tomato Ho 2-3 Alexandra Fuller: 12-10, 8-11, 11-2, 8-11, 9-11 (55m)
Sin Yuk Chan 3-0 Lizelle Muller: 11-4, 14-12, 11-4 (24m)
Pool D: FINLAND 3-0 CHINESE TAIPEI
Riina Koskinen 3-0 Wei-Ting Huang: 11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (23m)
Emilia Soini 3-0 Lee Yi-Hsuan: 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (21m)
Emilia Korhonen 3-0 Wang Yuan: 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (15m)
Pool D: [5/6] MALAYSIA 2-1 JAPAN
Chan Yiwen 3-0 Risa Sugamoto: 11-6, 11-1, 11-3 (20m)
Aifa Azman 1-3 Satomi Watanabe: 8-11, 2-11, 11-8, 5-9 rtd (40m)
Rachel Arnold 3-0 Akari Midorikawa: 11-6, 11-2, 11-8 (29m)