US SQUASH

Douglas Captures First U.S. Junior Open Title; Watanabe Wins Fourth Consecutive Title

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The U.S. Junior Open BU19 final between Andrew Douglas (l) and Jorge Gomez.

U.S. junior champion Andrew Douglas capped off his breakout year with his first U.S. Junior Open title, while Japan’s Satomi Watanabe earned a fourth consecutive title in the girls’ U19 division Tuesday at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

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Douglas celebrates his first U.S. Junior Open title.

The U.S. Junior Open, the largest individual junior tournament in the world, had a field of 889 players from thirty-four countries, six continents and twenty-two states. Four venues hosted the tournament on a combined forty-three courts at Yale, Trinity College, Wesleyan University and Choate Rosemary Hall.

Of the ten champions, four represented Team USA, two Egypt and one Japan, Mexico, England and India. Finalists also represented the U.S., Egypt, Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Eight of the ten champions were top seeds.

After exiting the 2015 U.S. Junior Open in the boys’ U17 quarterfinals, Douglas returned to New Haven a national and Pan American junior champion—and the boys’ U19 top seed. In what was a repeat of the Pan American juniors individual final, Douglas made it two victories over Mexico’s Jorge Gomez this fall, coming back from a game down to win his maiden U.S. Junior Open title in his final tournament appearance, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.

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Watanabe (front) against Epke in the GU19 final.

In the girls’ top division, Japan’s Watanabe became just the fourth girl in U.S. Junior Open history to win four or more consecutive titles following Emily Park 2001-2005, Laura Gemmell 2005-2008 and Reeham Sedky 2008-2011. The seventeen year old dropped just one game all tournament, and clinched the final in three games against New Zealand’s two seed Ellie Epke. Watanabe is eligible to aim for a fifth title in 2017, which would add to her 2013 U15, 2014 U17, 2015 and 2016 U19 titles.

With five players in the finals, Egypt claimed one of two titles in the Gu17 division final that saw two seed Jana Shiha upset top-seeded Elena Wagenmans in one of just two final upsets. Shiha, who was making her U.S. Junior Open debut, took out the Seattle-based Dutch international 11-5, 14-12, 8-11, 12-10.

Mexico’s title came in the form of BU17 top seed Leonel Cardenas, who adds to his 2012 U13 title. The sixteen year old held off a tough challenge from Egypt’s three seed Aly Hussein, pulling through 11-5, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8 in the final.

For the second year in a row, up-and-comer Sam Todd provided England with its only title, but in the BU15 division this year after aging up. Todd dropped just two games on his title run, culminating in a four-game final victory against Team USA’s three seed Thomas Rosini.

Shreyas Mehta became the first Indian U.S. Junior Open champion in the BU13 division.

Shreyas Mehta became the first Indian U.S. Junior Open champion in the BU13 division.

Team USA’s fourteen-year-old phenom Marina Stefanoni ensured that both junior national champions claimed an Open title. In a perfect run of three game victories, the Darien, Connecticut native successfully defended her U15 title in a third consecutive final against Egypt’s Nouran Youssef.

History was made in the BU13 division when top seed Shreyas Mehta became the first Indian U.S. Junior Open champion. The twelve-year-old defeated Egypt’s seven seed Islam Kouritam in a four-game final.

The younger Stefanoni sister, Lucie, led the GU13 draw as the top seed, and reached the final after a five-game semifinal comeback. In her second U.S. Open appearance, Haya Ali ended home hopes by upsetting Stefanoni 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 in the final to clinch one of Egypt’s two titles.

Team USA swept the U11 divisions with two, three-game finals. Santa Clara, California’s Ahmad Haq endured a marathon five-game semifinal, before claiming the BU11 title against Philadelphia’s Graeme Herbert. 2016 U.S. GU11 champion Madison Ho added an Open title to her 2016 pedigree, defeating Canada’s unseeded surprise finalist Maria Min.

View and purchase images at the U.S. Junior Open gallery.

View all results on the 2016 U.S. Junior Open tournament page. For more images and reaction, visit the U.S. Junior Open Twitter.

 

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