India sent Argentina crashing out of the WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship to set up an intriguing pre-quarter final clash against the Netherlands in Nimes, France.
After upsetting seventh seeds Ireland in their tournament opener, India clinched pole position in Pool G after despatching 17th seeds Argentina 3-0 in the final qualifying round of the biennial World Squash Federation event taking place in France for the first time.
The event boasts a record entry of 26 nations and is being staged simultaneously at both the eight-court Club des Costis and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action is taking place on three all-glass show courts.
Squad number three Anaka Alankamony led the way for India, seeded 10th in the event, beating Maria Eugenia Bonilla 11—4 11—4 11—7, before second string Joshana Chinappa took just 19 minutes to overcome Cecilia Cerquetti 11—6 11—3 11—4.
In the final match, top-ranked Argentinean Antonella Falcione battled hard against India’s star Dipika Pallikal but world No. 13 Pallikal had the edge, defeating her opponent ranked more than 100 places below 11—8 11—7 11—8.
“It’s huge,” said Indian national coach Cyrus Poncha when asked about the significance of the success in the event so far. “Our aim was to top the pool and making the quarter-finals is our goal.
“Beating Ireland definitely gave us a lot of confidence and we hope to have a great performance against the Dutch (eighth seeds) tomorrow,” he added.
Incredibly, this is only India’s third appearance in the women’s world championship, with an 18th place finish in their debut in 2002 and 11th last year.
“Last year it was a first for us to finish in the top eight in the men’s world team championship – so if we can make the top eight here this year it will be a huge achievement and another significant step forward for Indian Squash,” concluded Poncha.
Result: Pool G:  INDIA bt  ARGENTINA 3—0 Anaka Alankamony bt Maria Eugenia Bonilla 11—4 11—4 11—7 Joshana Chinappa bt Cecilia Cerquetti 11—6 11—3 11—4 (19m) Dipika Pallikal bt Antonella Falcione 11—8 11—7 11—8.
Final positions: 1 India, 2 Ireland, 3 Argentina.