This year’s British Junior
Open drew to a close with a dazzling display of squash and two
surprising records set on the tournament’s final day.
The championships saw upsets, comebacks, thrashings and thrillers
but some of the best action was saved for last in Sheffield.
And much of that was showcased in the main event Boys’ Under 19
final, played out by unseeded Abhay Singh and Velavan Senthilkumar
[5/8] in what was the first ever all-Indian final in the
The match promised to be a tight contest between the two, with long
early rallies played out as neither gave the other an inch. Singh
and Senthilkumar entertained the packed crowd on the all-glass show
court at Abbeydale Rackets and Fitness Club for one hour before
Senthilkumar eventually emerged victorious 16/14, 11/2, 10/12, 11/7.
The finals also saw the first ever Irish winner in the form of
12-year-old Denis Gilevskiy [17/32], who comfortably dispatched
England’s Sam Osborne-Wylde [3/4] in the Boys’ Under 13s final. The
Irishman proved too strong for Osborne-Wylde, 12, of Cofton Hackett,
Gloucestershire, opening up a 10/1 lead in the first game and
winning it 11/2. Consecutive 11/6 wins in the last two games saw him
claim the title in just 20 minutes.
England’s hopes of a win were shattered when 16-year-old Elise
Lazarus was beaten 3-0 in the final. Lazarus and Osborne-Wylde’s
journeys to the last day meant England had two representatives in
the finals for the first time since 2001.
Lazarus [5/8], 16, of Woodford Green, Essex, faced Hana Motaz Ayoub
in the final of the Under 17s but was comprehensively beaten in 23
minutes, with Ayoub  (Egypt) winning 11/9, 11/6, 11/6.
Top seed Egyptian Hania El Hammamy defeated her fellow countryman
Zenia Mickawy [5/8] 11/4, 10/12, 11/6, 11/6 in the Girls’ Under 19s
event, winning her fourth title at the championships. While Marwan
Tarek  came back from 1-0 down to beat Omar El Torky  9/11,
11/4, 11/7, 11/8 in another all-Egyptian final in the Boys’ Under
The Boys’ and Girls’ Under 15s and the Girls’ Under 13s trophies
were all also taken home by Egyptians, with top seed Yahia El
Nawsany overcoming Malaysia’s Duncan Lee 11/9, 11/3, 11/5 in the
Boys’s Under 15s; Nour Abouelmakrim [3/4] beating second seed Farida
Ahmed (Egypt) 11/6, 11/9, 8/11, 11/4 in the girls’ competition; and
Salma El Tayab impressing in the day’s first match. She resisted a
spirited comeback from Noureen Khalifa (Egypt) to seal her win in
the Under 13s title 11/6, 9/11, 11/7, 11/8.
Two of England's finest young
squash players will be vying for British Junior Open titles for the
first time in 16 years on Friday.
33-year-old James Willstrop was still a junior the last time the
country was so well represented on the last day of the tournament.
And now Elise Lazarus and Sam Osborne-Wylde will both have shots at
the titles after overcoming tough semi-final draws.
Osborne-Wylde [3/4] earned a final match against Ireland's Denis
Gilevskiy [17/32] in the Boys' Under 13s draw, while Lazarus [5/8]
set up a showdown with second seed Hana Motaz Ayoub  in the
Girls' Under 17s.
The last time two English players made it through to the final stage
was back in 2001, when Willstrop and Jenny Duncalf both lost their
Under- 9 final matches. In 1999, Duncalf, Nick Matthew and Tom
Richards all reached the last day, with Matthew the only victor in
the Under 19s category.
After defeating Habbiba Saadallah [5/8] 11/8, 7/11, 11/5, 11/9,
Lazarus, 16, of Woodford Green, Essex, said: "I'm just feeling so
happy, I can't believe it. I've never got this far, this will be my
first final. I'm just going to go in and relax, play my game and
believe in myself."
Osborne-Wylde, 12, of Cofton Hackett, Gloucestershire, overcame
Kareem El Torky (Egypt), the second favourite for the title, 11/8,
11/3, 9/11, 11/7 in 36 minutes. Gilevskiy needed just 16 minutes to
defeat England's Jonah Bryant [5/8] 11/4, 11/4, 11/4.
Elsewhere, Sheffield's Nick Wall [5/8], was defeated 11/6, 11/6,
11/4 by top seed Marwan Tarek (Egypt) in the Boy's Under 17s draw.
Tarek faces second seed Omar El Torky (Egypt) in Friday's showcase.
Last year's Under 13 winner Sam Todd [3/4], another Yorkshireman of
Pontefract, will also miss out having been beaten in 22 minutes by
the Boys' Under 15s top seed Yahia El Nawsany (Egypt) 11/6, 11/5,
11/5. El Nawsany will now play Malaysia's Duncan Lee [5/8] for the
The surprise of the tournament has come in the form of unseeded
Abhay Singh (India) who has now defeated both Egypt's Belal Weal
[3/4], England's Kyle Finch [5/8] - where he came back from 2-0 down
- and now 9/16 seed Adhitya Raghavan (India) 12/10, 11/8, 11/8 to
reach the final of the Boys' Under 19s. Fellow countryman Velavan
Senthilkumar [5/8] is now all who stands between him and the prize.
The finals of the girls' competitions in the Under 13s, 15s and 19s
will be an all-Egyptian affair, with Hania El Hammamy  and Zenia
Mickawy [5/8] facing off in the Under 19s, Nour Abouelmakrim [3/4]
and Farida Ahmed  in the Under 15s and Salma El Tayeb [3/4] and
Noureen Khalifa in the Under 13s.
Three Report Courtesy of Donna Helmer
FIVE English players have
reached the semi-finals of the 2017 British Junior Open (BJO) in
what has been a truly triumphant day for the home nation in
Sam Todd was the first English player to cruise into the final four
of the Boys Under 15 competition, taking only 23 minutes to overcome
Thomas Rosini 11/4, 11/6, 11/7 in what was a repeat of the US Open
Junior final in December where he was crowned champion.
13-year-old Todd from Pontefract will have to defeat Egyptian top
seed Yahia El Nawsany if he is to emulate his US Open success.
Meanwhile, England’s Elise Lazarus [5/8] was the underdog going into
the Girls Under 17 quarter-final against top seed Malaysian Aifa
Azman. The 16-year-old from Essex kept her cool and put in a
formidable performance against last year’s BJO Under 15 champion to
win 11/6, 12/10, 11/9.
Tomorrow will be Elise’s first BJO semi-final, where she will face
equally ranked seed, Habbiba H.Saadallah.
Lazarus said: “I’m so excited. It’s my first semi, I’m just going to
go out there and enjoy it.”
Worcester’s Sam Osborne-Wylde [3/4] emulated Elise’s success to also
reach his first BJO semi-final in the Boys Under 13 category after
dispatching 5/8 seed Ameeshrenraj Chandran.
Despite losing the first game 8/11, Osborne-Wylde soon found his
rhythm to win 13/11, 11/4, 11/3.
“I’m really excited about the semis,” Osborne-Wylde remarked. “I had
quite a slow start but as it went on, my forearm improved.
“I’d like to think I can go all the way this year, I’ve been
training hard so hopefully I can get through.”
Osborne-Wylde's English compatriot Jonah Bryant [5/8] also made it
through to the final four, after seeing off Malaysia’s Joachim Chuah
[3/4] 15/13, 11/6, 11/6.
In the Boys Under 17 competition, Sheffield-born Nick Wall [5/8]
came from a game down against Egypt’s Mostafa Assal [3/4] and
bounced back to win 6/11, 11/6, 11/9, 11/4 and set up a semi clash
with top seed Marwan Tarek from Egypt.
“I got off to a bit of an edgy start when I lost the first game, but
then after that I sort of got used to his game a bit more and had
more confidence.” Wall said.
“I’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight and some good food so I can
put in a good performance in the semi-final, so I’m feeling
Asked if he could go all the way and win the tournament, Nick said:
“I can try. This is the event that I’ve been peaking for with all my
training, so yeah that’d be nice.”
Elsewhere, Torrie Malik [5/8] put in a valiant display and kept a
cool head against Girls Under 13 top seed Aira Azman from Malaysia,
but Azman proved too strong winning 12/10, 11/4, 11/7.
At Abbeydale in the Girls Under 15 competition, England’s Katie
Maliff lost against number two seed Farida Ahmed 11/5, 11/5, 11/6.
Boys Under 19 player Kyle Finch [5/8] also exited the tournament,
narrowly losing out to unseeded Indian Abhay Singh despite taking
the first two games in a five-game thriller which lasted over an
hour on court - 5/11, 6/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/8.
Courtesy of Donna Helmer
Day two of the British Junior Open sprung
a huge shock as last year's world junior champion was knocked out in
the third round.
Spectators were treated to a five-game thriller in Sheffield as
American Andrew Douglas [9/16] defeated the favourite for the Boys'
Under 19 trophy, Eain Yow Ng of Malaysia, the reigning World Junior
Douglas took a 2-0 lead before the Malaysian battled back to level
the match at 2-2. The American eventually emerged victorious with a
11/8, 11/9, 9/11, 8/11, 11/4 win after 67 minutes and now faces
Adhitya Raghavan (India) [9/16] in the quarter finals at Abbeydale
on Wednesday. Douglas commented, "I never thought it could happen
but I worked hard and it paid off, I can't believe it. I've always
had to play the top seeds in the early rounds here, but this time I
did it, unbelievable!"
That was one of three Boys Under 19 upsets as India's Adhitya
Raghavan and Abhay Singh both beat seeded Egyptians, leaving India
with more representation in the last eight than Egypt. Meanwhile,
second seed Youssef Ibrahim from Egypt won in three, and now faces
the only other remaining Egyptian, Abdallah El Masry, while Douglas
and Raghavan meet, guaranteeing a semi-finalist outside the top
eight seeds. England's Kyle Finch [5/8] who defeated J G Dominiguez
(Mexico) [9/16] in four games, 11/9, 5/11, 11/4, 11/7 now meets
unseeded Abhay Singh of India.
The Girls' Uunder 19s draw by contrast went entirely to seeding,
with all five Egyptians winning, and at least one Egyptian
semi-finalist guaranteed in both halves of the draw. English
hopefuls Grace Gear and Lucy Turmel were both eliminated in three
Sheffield's own British National Junior Boys Under 17 champion Nick
Wall [5/8] will play 3/4 seed Mostafa Assal (Egypt) in the quarter
finals of the Boys' Under 17s competition after beating unseeded
Gautam Nagpal (India) 11/3, 11/2, 11/0 in just 18 minutes. Top seed
Marwan Tarek (Egypt) also advanced to the quarter final stage with a
comfortable 12/10 11/7 11/5 victory over Malaysian Danial Nurhaqiem
Ingy Sherif Hammouda of Egypt, who was seeded at the top of the
Girls' Under 17s draw, faces Habbiba H Saadallah in the next round.
Hammouda needed four games to eliminate England's Alice Green [9/16]
12/10 12/10 6/11 11/8. Meanwhile, England's Elise Lazarus [5/8]
defeated Karina Tyma of Poland to set-up a quarter final tie against
3/4 seed Aifa Azman of Malaysia.
There were more upsets in the Boys Under 15s draw as USA's Thomas
Rosini and Canada's Abdelrahman Dweek took out seeded opponents,
while Dana Santry followed up Monday's upset to boost American
interest. While the top two seeds Egyptians are still favourites for
the title, England's Sam Todd, the reigning Under 13 champion,
looked in good form as he set up a quarter-final with USA's Thomas
Marina Stefanino (USA)  took her place in the last eight of the
Girls' Under 15s competition after a 3-1 win against 9/16 seed Megan
Best of Barbados. Stefanino will now face Sin Yuk Chan of Hong Kong
after claiming the 11/4, 11/4, 9/11, 11/3 victory. English girl
Katie Malliff's 11/3, 11/5, 11/4 win against Priya Verma (USA)
earned her a quarter final meeting with the number two seed Farida
England's Sam Osborne-Wylde [3/4] and Jonah Bryant [5/8] will both
have their eyes on the semi-finals after advancing through to the
last eight of the Boys' Under 13s, while Torrie Malik, also of
England, faces top seed Aira Azman in the girls' draw.
Day One Report
Courtesy of Donna Helmer
More than 400 of the world’s finest young squash players began their
quest to become British junior squash champion.
Youngsters from 33 countries as far away as Malaysia, Hong Kong and
Australia travelled to Sheffield to take part in one of the biggest
competitions in the junior calendar.
Day one of the competition witnessed a few upsets during round one
The Boys’ Under 19 event went according to seed with the top three
sailing through. British Junior Under 19 champion Kyle Finch [5/8]
needed all five games and 63 minutes to dispatch Jonathon Lentz
(USA) 11/8, 5/11, 9/11, 11/8, 11/3. Finch went on to endure a
further thrilling five-setter in round two, and made a remarkable
comeback to oust 17/32 seed Darren Rahul Pragasm 8/11, 9/11, 11/2,
The first round of the Girls’ Under 19 event saw top seed Hania El
Hammamy (Egypt) beat South African Noel Lee 3-0 in just 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, England’s highest seed Lucy Turmel beat fellow countryman
Leanne Herbert to set-up a second round match against 5/8 seed
Andrea Lee (Malaysia).
Boys Under 17 top seed Marwan Tarek (Egypt) advanced to the third
round with wins against Daniel O’Sullivan (Scotland) and Enrique
Moncada (Mexico). Joining Tarek is British Junior National Boys
Under 17 champion Nick Wall of Sheffield who defeated Andrew Shipley
(England) and Elliot Hunt (Canada). Meanwhile 9/16 seed Utkarsh
Baheti of India and unseeded Englishman Benjamin Sockett endured an
epic five-setter lasting 99 minutes 11/9, 11/4, 8/11, 12/14, 15/13
which saw Baheti prevail.
Meanwhile, in the Girls Under 17 event, the top seeds progressed
through including England’s Alice Green, Elise Lazarus and Eve Coxon.
The biggest upset of the day came in the Boys Under 15 event when
17/32 seed Dana Santry (USA) beat 5/8 seed Ishant Shah of Malaysia
in 23 minutes winning 11/6, 11/9, 11/5. Meanwhile, top seed
Egyptian Yahia El Nawsany sailed through, as did home hero, and
recent US Junior Open Champion Sam Todd [3/4].
Meanwhile the Girls’ Under 15 competition witnessed an upset when
3/4 seed Wong Heng Wai (Malaysia) was knocked out by 17/32 seed Nour
Ibrahim [Egypt], losing 9/11, 11/5, 11/7, 11/6.
In the Boys Under 13 event, top seed Egyptian Omar Azzam beat
Mukunth Gopalakrishnan (USA) 11/6, 11/6, 11/8 in the second round
and will face 9/16 Sheryas Mehta of India in the third round.
The Girls Under 13 competition also witnessed an upset when
England’s unseeded Olivia Besant beat fellow countryman Amy Royle
[9/16] in 23 minutes, winning 11/7, 12/10, 9/11, 11/3 to set up a
third round clash against top seed Aira Azman (Malaysia).