by Simon Daish
Both the U.S and Egyptian line-ups went into the tie following 3-0 victories over Australia in the opening two group A matches, but only one country could secure top spot in the group and that honour would fall to the victor in the final group encounter.
Seeded ninth the USA were considered as favourites to succeed in the group, but it was the No.15 seeds Egypt who established the early advantage as Amira Yousry edged out Amy Wang in seven ends (6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 16-14, 8-11) to give the African country a 1-0 lead.
Despite suffering the early setback the USA squad responded in the best way possible claiming the next three match wins; Angela Guan led by example for the U.S team seeing off both Mariam Alhodaby (11-4, 11-4, 11-3) and Amira Yousry (11-8 ,11-6, 11-8), and with Grace Yang’s win over Shahd Kamal (15-13, 11-6, 11-3) the 3-1 comeback was achieved for the USA.
“I think this was the first real match for us in this competition and when they (Egypt) won the first game, I knew I had to raise my game to ensure that we recorded victory… We will be hoping to finish among the top eight this year because of the quality of teams in this year’s tournament” – Angela Guan (USA).
Group D saw a thrilling battle for first position take place as Spain went head-to-head with Canada in a winner takes all match.
Right from the beginning of the tie there was drama as Canadian Alicia Cote managed to recover from two games down to draw level at 2-2 against Ana Garcia, but the Spanish competitor kept fighting and narrowly squeezed over the line (11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 11-5) to put her country in front.
Zhang Xuan then doubled Spain’s lead with a strong performance against Canada’s Ivy Liao (11-9, 11-7, 11-4), but there would be no clean sweep victory for the European side as Justina Yeung defeated Yolanda Enriquez in four ends (8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 13-15) to put Canada on the scoreboard. However, Spain made sure of the result as Zhang Xuan picked up her second win beating Alicia Cote (11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9) to claim first position in group D.
Success for Spain as was it for another European nation as Serbia ran out comfortable victors over Puerto Rico, in a tie that featured a five games duel between Puerto Rico’s Lineris Rivera and Serbian contestant Tijana Jokic with the latter player coming out on top (11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 11-3).
Earlier in the day Brazil were successful against Algeria and in the last group B encounter the Brazilian squad of Bruna Takahashi, Alexia Nakashima and Livia Lima saw off Nigeria 3-0 to end the opening day on a positive note for Latin American outfit.