US SQUASH

Marina Stefanoni Reaches British Junior Open U15 Final

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Stefanoni (L) saved two match balls in the fifth game to come back and win the match. (image: Steve Cubbins)

Marina Stefanoni became the first American to reach a British Junior Open final since Amanda Sobhy in 2011 Tuesday morning, upsetting the GU15 top seed in the semifinals at Abbeydale in Sheffield, England.

The thirteen-year-old from Darien, Connecticut, saved two match balls in the fifth game to upset Egypt’s Jana Shiha 4-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 14-12.

(image: Steve Cubbins)

(image: Steve Cubbins)

Stefanoni will contest Wednesday’s final against Malaysian two seed Aifa Azman, who won the U13 British Junior Open title in 2014.

Last month, Stefanoni won her second consecutive U.S. Junior Open title—her first in the U15 division—adding to recent U15 titles in the Irish and Swiss Junior Opens, and a fourth place finish in the Candian Junior Open U19 division.

Stefanoni has the opportunity to become just the third American to claim a British Junior Open title, which would add to Olivia Blatchford’s GU15 title in 2007, and Michelle Quibell’s GU17 title in 2001.

Stefanoni is one of thirty-nine Team USA juniors that traveled to Sheffield for the 2016 British Junior Open, and is the last American in any of the eight main draws.

Stefanoni’s younger sister, Lucie, and U.S. Junior Open BU17 champion Sam Scherl both reached their main draw quarterfinals adding to Team USA’s stand-out performances.

Team USA's Charles Braff (L) and Tad Carney have fun with the selfie board in between matches. (image: Steve Cubbins)

Team USA’s Charles Braff (L) and Tad Carney have fun with the selfie board in between matches. (image: Steve Cubbins)

The British Junior Open is considered the world age-group championships at all age groups other than U19, however some formidable names have been crowned BJO Champion in the past. Past winners include include, Nick Matthew, Greg Gaultier, Karim Darwish, Ramy Ashour (all previous World No. 1’s) and current world No. 1 Mohamed Elshorbagy on the male side. On the women’s side, names such as Nicol David, Nour El Sherbini and Camille Serme are on the winners list. 2016 marks the second year that Team USA has sent a full delegation of players to the British Junior Open.

Follow the action twitter @BJOSquash and @TeamUSASquash.

For full coverage and results, visit the official British Junior Open tournament page.

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