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WSF World Doubles: England Claim Two Surprise Final Spots

Fifth seeds England produced the biggest upset on semi-finals day of the WSF World Doubles Championships when they beat second seeds India to claim a place in the women’s final.

Duncalf & Waters trailed the 2014 Commonwealth gold medallists Chinappa and Pallikal 1-0 after a slow start. The English pair were stronger in the second, dominating the rallies with more winners, and won the game 11/6.

A perfectly-weighted backhand drop shot from Duncalf brought up 10/6 match ball in the third. The Indians pulled two points back before Duncalf and Waters won on a “No let” decision, 6/11, 11/6, 11/8.

“I was really under the cosh in the first,” admitted Duncalf. “They’re obviously very experienced at this, and the pace and power of their shots was catching us out. But we changed tactics in the second and managed to work it out.

“Ali and I are best friends and we always thought we’d play well together. She was injured for Glasgow so hopefully we can stay together for one more shot at the Commonwealth’s next year. For now though, we’re just really chuffed to be in the final.”

England will go on to meet top seeds and defending champions King & Landers-Murphy of New Zealand who received a bye following Urquhart of Australia’s retirement from the women’s semi-finals.

England will also go on to face New Zealand in the mixed doubles following Selby & Waters nail-biting victory over Wales’ Creed & Evans.

The English duo saved game ball to take the lead 11/10, the Welsh coming from 2/8 down in the second, saving two match balls to equalise 11/10.

Selby & Waters moved ahead 10/5 in the decider, and although the Welsh managed to save three match balls, the English took their place in the final 11/8.

“It was a tough battle, we thought we’d won it in the second at 8/2 but they fought back so well,” said Selby. “They’re very gritty and tough competitors with lots of skill and good movement, so we just had to try to keep it steady.

“It was probably my least effective mixed match so far, but Ali did really well, considering she’d just had an hour’s women’s match!”

“It feels great to be in two finals after two tough matches,” said Waters. “I’ll be playing the Kiwis in both so it’s the same for them, really looking forward to it.”

The last time England entered the competition in 1997, they won one gold and two silver medals.

Meanwhile, Australia denied England a hat-trick of finalists after Pilley and Cuskelly overpowered James and Willstrop 11/3, 11/7 (37m).

The Australians opened up a big lead in the first, taking it 11/3, and although the English kept in touch until 7/7 in the second, the Aussies finished it off 11/7.

“We got off to a good start and kept our concentration to finish it off,” said Cuskelly. “We lost a bit of focus in the second, but from 7/7 we tightened up again and finished it off well.

“That’s our best performance in the tournament so far, it seems we’re getting better round by round, just how we like it!”

In the final they’ll meet top seeds and defending champions Clyne & Lobban, the Scottish pair who beat Kiwis Coll and Cambell Grayson 2-1 in the longest match of the tournament so far.

The Scots took the first 11/7 and led 7/1 in the second before a Kiwi comeback levelled the match 11/8. The Scottish pair led 7/1 in the third too but the Kiwis couldn’t quite close the gap, losing out 11/8 after 82 minutes.

“We always knew it would be a long tough match against them,” said Lobban. “Keeping it tight and not making mistakes, that’s their strength. But we knew that if we stuck to our game plan and played well we could win.

“We maybe saw the finishing line a bit early in the second and stopped attacking, which you just can’t do in doubles, but we managed to get back on track in the third. Great to keep the title defence going.”

Watch the finals live from 2pm.

Results

WOMEN’S SEMIS

[1] King / Landers-Murphy (Nzl) w/o [3] Grinham / Urquhart (Aus) Urquhart injured
[5] Duncalf / Waters (Eng) 2-1 [2] Chinappa / Pallikal (Ind) 6/11, 11/6, 11/8 (49m)

MIXED SEMIS

[5] Selby / Waters (Eng) 2-1 [7] Creed / Evans (Wal) 11/10, 10/11, 11/8 (68m)
[1] Coll / King (Nzl) 2-0 [4] Palmer / Grinham (Aus) 11/8, 11/8 (29m)

MEN’S SEMIS

[1] Clyne / Lobban (Sco) 2-1 [4] Coll / Grayson (Nzl) 11/7, 8/11, 11/8 (82m)
[2] Cuskelly / Pilley (Aus) 2-0 [5] Willstrop / James (Eng) 11/3, 11/7 (37m)

MIXED QUARTERS

[7] Creed / Evans (Wal) 2-1 [9] Kempsell / Aitken (Sco) 6/11, 11/6, 11/9 (60m)
[5] Selby / Waters (Eng) 2-0 [3] Pilley / Urquhart (Aus) 7/5 rtd (9m)
[4] Palmer / Grinham (Aus) 2-1 [6] Malhotra / Chinappa (Ind) 8/11, 11/9, 11/9 (50m)
[1] Coll / King (Nzl) 2-1 [2] Ghosal / Pallikal (Ind) 11/7, 10/11, 11/9 (56m)


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