US SQUASH

Egypt and Team USA Earn Top Honors at U.S. Junior Open

The ten 2019 U.S. Junior Open champions. Back row (l-r): Nouran Youssef (EGY), Marina Stefanoni (USA), Tad Carney (USA), Aly Abou El Einen (EGY), Sam Todd (ENG), Nourin Khalifa (EGY), Shahd Shahen (EGY) Front row (l-r): Jack Elriani (USA), Maya Mandour (EGY), Rohan Gondi (IND)

Team USA and Egypt accounted for eight of ten 2019 U.S. Junior Open titles following four action-packed days of squash at Phillips Academy Andover, the Brooks School and Harvard University in Massachusetts.

The U.S. Junior Open is the world’s largest individual squash tournament with 900 players representing forty-one nations across ten divisions: boys’ and girls’ U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19.

Seven different nations–including Pakistan, Hong Kong and Canada–were represented in Tuesday’s finals, and four nations took home titles–Team USA, Egypt, England and India.

Egypt led the field with five titles–the nation’s most since six titles in 2014–with hosts Team USA recording three titles for the second consecutive year.

The U19 divisions augmented two U.S. Junior Open title records in the form of Marina Stefanoni and Aly Abou El Einen.

Stefanoni, sixteen years old, was one of just three of the tournament’s ten top seeds to reach their respective final and fulfill their seeding. The three-time defending U.S. junior champion defeated U.S. teammate and four seed Laila Sedky in the final, coming back from going a game down to clinch the title 9-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-1.

“This new venue is amazing so playing on this glass court in front of the crowd is incredible,” Stefanoni said. “I tried not to give Laila space up front because she has great kill shots. I just tied to keep her in the back of the court, keep her moving and not give her any opportunities.”

The title marks the Darien, Connecticut-native’s fifth consecutive adding to the U19 in 2017, U15 in 2015 and 2016, and U13 in 2014.

The BU19 division saw Egypt’s four seed Aly Abou El Einen end his junior career on a high note, upsetting the top two seeds on his way to the title. El Einen, who attended the nearby Brooks School, recorded a major victory over 2017 world junior champion and top seed Marwan Tarek in a four-game semifinal. Pitted against his old high school rival in the final, Tabor’s Aly Hussein, the two Egyptians put on a five-game show for a packed gallery in what was the last match of the tournament. Hussein fought off El Einen’s two-game lead to force a fifth, but El Einen pulled out the match 11-7 in the fifth.

“It’s crazy to win, I worked really hard and played this event every year and so I’m just so happy that the hard work paid off,” El Einen said. “I want to thank Aly for a great match. In my opinion, he’s the hardest guy to play in junior squash so credit to him.”

El Einen won the U11 title in 2010.

The BU17 division saw the most dominant performance of the tournament courtesy of England’s Sam Todd. The top seed didn’t drop a game on his way to the title, including an emphatic final against Team USA’s Thomas Rosini 11-1, 11-4, 11-2. Todd has now won a title in all three of his U.S. Junior Open appearances, following up his 2015 U13 and 2016 U15 titles.

Having lost in U.S. Junior Open finals in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Nouran Youssef went the distance in the GU17 division to collect her second career title in addition to the 2013 GU13 title. The U.S.-based Egyptian held off a strong challenge from Canada’s surprise finalist Erica McGillicuddy in a four-game final.

Team USA’s Tad Carney celebrated the first major individual U.S. junior title of his career in the BU15 division. Carney, the two seed, edged Pakistan’s five seed Mohammad Hamza Khan in a tight final 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7.

Egypt’s Nourin Khalifa upset the top two seeds on her way to the GU15 title in her maiden U.S. Junior Open appearance. Seeded [17/24], Khalifa upset top seed Lucie Stefanoni in a four-game quarterfinal, and earned the title with a three-game final victory against Hong Kong’s two seed Miriam Cheng.

For the fourth consecutive year, India produced a U.S. Junior Open champion, this year in the form of Rohan Gondi in the BU13 division. Gondi, the three seed, pulled through the closest final of the tournament against Pakistan’s Humam Ahmed in five games, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9.

Egypt’s Shahd Shahen entered her first U.S. Junior Open in the lowest possible GU13 seeding pool. Shahen proved to be the surprise of the tournament, dispatching top seed Caroline Eielson in the quarterfinals and against three seed Riya Navani in a five-game final 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5.

After finishing sixth in his first U.S. Junior Open BU11 appearance last year, Jack Elriani fulfilled his top seeding to earn his first career major individual title. Elriani defeated surprise [13/16]-seeded Egyptian finalist Adam Hawal 5-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6.

Egypt produced another surprise champion in the GU13 division–[9/12]-seeded Maya Mandour, who upset the one and four seeds on her way to the final. In the final, Mandour claimed the title in three games against Team USA’s two seed Sriya Viswanathan 11-4, 11-5, 11-9.

View all results here.

Watch live streaming replays from Andover courts 1, 4 and 5 on the US Squash YouTube page.

View select tournament photography here.

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