CHENNAI, India: Title favorite Egypt and defending champion England booked semifinal slots in the squash World Cup on Wednesday.
Top-ranked Egypt swept aside Sri Lanka and France 3-0 both times to top five-team Pool A with four victories.
Meanwhile, No. 2-ranked England defeated Mexico 2-1 for its second win in four-team Pool B.
Third-seeded Australia also moved into the knockout stage with a 3-0 victory over India for its second win, leaving its clash with England on Thursday to determine the pool winner.
France will play Malaysia on Thursday to decide the last semifinalist, with both teams having won two of three matches.
World No. 3 Karim Darwish led Egypt’s win over Sri Lanka, and No. 2 Ramy Ashour won the opening match against France, against which Egypt didn’t drop a game. Raneem El Weleily, alone as Egypt’s women’s player after Nour El Tayeb withdrew with chicken pox, won both of her singles.
"It was really good, we’re going into the semifinals very confident," Ashour said.
Top French players Gregory Gaultier and Thierry Lincou withdrew from the competition injured.
France and Malaysia both whitewashed South Africa to set up their winner-takes-all showdown on Thursday.
"We are looking for a podium finish," said France coach Philippe Signoret.
Australia’s Cameron Pilley was taken the distance by top Indian Saurav Ghosal in winning 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5. However, former No. 1 Rachael Grinham and Aaron Frankcomb were dominant in their victories in straight games over Dipika Pallikal and Harinder Pal Singh.
England suffered a hiccup against Mexico when Laura Massaro lost to Samantha Teran 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9 to level the match, but Tom Richards defeated Jorge Baltazar 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 to secure the win.