US SQUASH

Douglas and Stefanoni Bow Out of World Juniors Quarterfinals in Five

Andrew Douglas against Youssef Ibrahim. (image: WSF World Juniors)

Team USA’s Andrew Douglas and Marina Stefanoni narrowly missed out on reaching the 2017 WSF World Junior Championships semifinals after five-game quarterfinal losses against higher seeded opponents Saturday in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Douglas, a 5/8 seed, was on court first against Egypt’s one seed, Youssef Ibrahim. Ibrahim earned an early two game lead, 11-4, 11-3, before Douglas fought back to win the third and fourth games 12-10. In the fifth, Douglas held a 9-7 lead over Ibrahim, at which point the Egyptian rattled off four straight points to win the match in fifty-three minutes.

Marina Stefanoni (image: WSF World Juniors)

“So much pressure, I was winning comfortably then it became so tense,” Ibrahim said. “I was playing well, keeping my focus but I couldn’t hold it for three games. I beat him 3-0 in the round of 32 last year, this was much tougher.”

Stefanoni, fourteen years old and a 9/16 seed, followed on court against Japan’s 5/8 seed and two-time U.S. Junior Open champion Satomi Watanabe. The players split two close first games with Stefanoni taking the first 15-13, and Watanabe the second, 12-10. Watanabe then earned a 2-1 lead in the third, 11-8 but Stefanoni forced a fifth game in the fourth, 11-9. Watanabe controlled the fifth to win the match 11-4 in forty-eight minutes.

“I’m so happy to make the top four in the world for the first time,” Watanabe said. “I didn’t start well, 7-10 down in the first two games and I didn’t think I could do it, she’s so good and so young. But I told myself that this is my last worlds and I had to make it, and I did so I’m really happy!”

Both Douglas and Stefanoni will continue consolation play for 5-8 place, while Team USA’s girls look ahead to the team competition Tuesday, July 25.

Follow more updates from Team USA on the World Juniors Blog. For more information and tournament coverage, visit www.wsfworldjuniors.com.

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