New Delhi: India bounced back from their quarter-final defeat against Egypt to overcome Asian rivals Hong Kong 2-0 and earn themselves a play-off for fifth place in the WSF Women's World Team squash championship in Nimes, France.

Top string Dipika Pallikal, ranked 13 in the world, scored a hard-fought victory over Annie Au. The Chennai girl squandered a 2-0 lead before fighting back against the world No. 9 to win 11-5 11-8 5-11 9-11 11-5 in 53 minutes.

Inspired by her senior team-mate's success, India's 18-year-old Anaka Alankamony then went on to defeat higher-ranked Hong Kong opponent Tong Tsz-Wing 11-5 11-7 11-9 to seal victory for her country.

"We play Hong Kong so often in Asian championships, that when we saw we had to play them here, we said 'oh no, not again'!" said team manager Major Maniam.

"But getting into the quarter-finals was a first-time for us, so now to be playing for fifth place is icing on the cake. Dipika started well in the first match, then lost her way a bit, but came back strongly in the fifth to great effect. She's really improved significantly over the past few months and has played well for us here.

"Then the baby of the team came on: Anaka was very calm and collected. She stayed well and ran well and put in an impressive performance in a rubber she had to win. It's been a great year for Indian squash - but only as a result of a lot of hard work," Maniam concluded.

Another replay of an earlier pool clash will take place when India face Ireland in the 5-6 classification tie. In the longest tie of the competition so far, seventh seeds Ireland edged out New Zealand 2-1 - with two matches going the full distance.

Boasting a record entry of 26 nations, the 2012 championship is being staged at both the eight-court Club des Costières and La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action is taking place simultaneously on three all-glass show courts.


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