Sobhy (l) against Massaro. (image: WSF Women’s World Team Championship)

Defending WSF Women’s World Team Champions England held off a strong challenge from Team USA on the second day of tournament play, edging the Pool B match 2-1 to remain on top of the group Tuesday at Jeu de Paume in Paris, France.

England, the tournament’s two seed, fielded a lineup with three players ranked in the world’s top twelve: world No. 12 Sarah-Jane Perry, world No. 10 Alison Waters and world No. 2 Laura Massaro. The U.S. maintained the lineup that defeated Wales 3-0 Monday, led by world No. 7 Amanda Sobhy, world No. 30 Olivia Blatchford and University of Pennsylvania sophomore Reeham Sedky.

With the No. 3’s up first, nineteen-year-old Sedky took Perry by surprise winning the first game 11-9, but the 2015 English champion responded to go up 2-1 in games. Perry appeared to be on the verge of a four-game win up 10-8 in the fourth, when Sedky fought off two match balls and pushed on to force a fifth game 12-10. Perry regained control in the fifth, however, winning the game and fifty-eight-minute match 11-4.

PSA tour veteran and former world No. 3 Waters followed on to seal the match for England, defeating Blatchford 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 in twenty-eight minutes.

Despite the 2-0 deficit overall, Sobhy earned some consolation in the final match against world No. 2 Laura Massaro, upsetting the 2014 world champion for the first time in her career 13-11, 8-11, 11-8, 14-12 in forty-nine minutes.

“I wanted to go out and play the best I could, ” Sobhy said. “Laura is the one player in the world top ten that I had never beaten before so I am elated to get my first win.”

Ganek Family US Squash National Head Coach Paul Assaiante admitted that his team was under no pressure: “But we didn’t come here to lie down and die. Reeham has a wonderful fighting spirit and has tremendous heart—she could be so dangerous in the future—and Amanda played really well against a number one opponent.”

England coach David Campion had anticipated a tough encounter. “I picked USA out as a major threat as soon as I saw the draw. The final match was a high quality encounter which could have gone either way. Amanda played really well—but whenever Laura loses it always brings out the best in her so I have no doubt that she will respond in her next match. The main thing is that we got the win that we needed and should top the pool. Stage one is done—and the next stage is almost like another tournament.”

As in 2014, a place in the last eight knock out round is now contingent upon Team USA’s result against Canada, barring a Wales upset over England, in the final Pool B match Wednesday. Live stream Team USA against Canada from St. Cloud Squash court 2 at 2pm local time, 8am ET, on the Women’s World Team Championship live streaming page.

For reports, images and more information visit the WSF Women’s World Team Championship official website.