CHENNAI, India: Title favorite Egypt started strongly in the squash World Cup in winning both of its matches on the opening day Tuesday of the mixed team competition that has been revived after 12 years.
Egypt, with three men ranked in the world’s top 10, beat fifth-seeded Malaysia 2-1 then swept eighth-seeded South Africa 3-0 in Pool A.
The No. 2-seeded England also won its opener, 3-0 over India, while No. 3 Australia defeated Mexico by the same margin in Pool B.
World No. 3 Karim Darwish beat Malaysian Mohd Asyraf 11-1, 11-5, 11-1 to open Egypt’s account.
Top-ranked women’s player Nicol David helped Malaysia draw level with a 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 win over Raneem El Walily, but men’s No. 9 Mohamed El Shorbagy clinched it for Egypt with an 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 win over Kamran Khan.
No.2 Ramy Ashour, rested for the opening round, put Egypt in the lead against South Africa with a 12-10, 12-10, 11-6 over Stephen Coppinger. El Walily beat Siyoli Waters 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 to clinch victory, and Mohamed El Shorbagy beat Rodney Durbach 11-7, 7-11, 11-0, 11-7 to finish off the match.
"We are a good team. We should win this time … what do you think?" Ashour asked.
Men’s No. 1 Nick Matthew of England withdrew from the competition injured, but in his absence No. 4 James Willstrop edged India’s Saurav Ghosal 12-14, 11-3, 11-5, 10-12, 12-10.
"I expected it to be tough as Sourav is good," Willstrop said. "The sport’s competitive at the moment, it’s got depth."
Women’s No. 2 Jenny Duncalf easily beat Indian counterpart Joshna Chinappa 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 and men’s No. 8 Peter Barker overcame Harinder Pal Singh 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10 to wrap up the match.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka lost both o its matches against France and Malaysia in Pool A.
Nine teams, including defending champion England, are split in two pools, with the top four advancing to the semifinals on Friday.
The inaugural World Cup was in 1996 in Malaysia and the second edition three years later in the Netherlands. Indian sponsorship revived the event this year into a biennial affair.