US SQUASH

Stefanoni and Todd Earn Historic U.S. Junior Open Titles; Egypt Dominates Younger Age Divisions

The 2019 U.S. Junior Open Champions. Back row, l-r: Huzaifa Ibrahim (Pakistan, BU15), Aly Elkhawas (Egypt, BU17), Marina Stefanoni (USA, GU19), Sam Todd (England, BU19), Youssef Salem (Egypt, BU13). Front row, l-r: Heng Wai Wong (Malaysia, GU17), Fayrouz Abouelkheir (Egypt, GU15), Seif Elshal (Egypt, BU11), Maya Mandour (Egypt, GU11), Amina Orifi (Egypt, GU13)

The 2019 U.S. Junior Open Squash Championships produced a historic slate of results as Team USA’s Marina Stefanoni became the first three-time U.S. Junior Open GU19 champion, England earned its maiden BU19 title courtesy of Sam Todd and Egypt dominated the lower age divisions with six champions and six runners up Tuesday, December 17, at Harvard’s Murr Center.

Nearly 750 players representing forty-four nations competed in the world’s largest individual squash tournament, which took place across four days and four venues: Harvard, Northeastern, MIT and Andover. View all results here. View an expanding gallery of images from the main draw semifinals and finals here. Watch live stream replays from Harvard courts 1-6 on the US Squash YouTube channel.

The U19 divisions augmented two of the most successful U.S. Junior Open legacies in Stefanoni and Todd.

Stefanoni extended a six-year title streak spanning the 2014 U13 division, a U15 double in 2015 and 2016, and now her third consecutive U19 tile. The seventeen-year-old completed her title run with a decisive three-game final against Barbados’ six seed Meagan Best, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3. With the result, the Darien, Connecticut native surpasses two-time champions Satomi Watanabe, Sabrina Sobhy, Laura Gemmell and Jessica DiMauro.

“The competition was great this year,” Stefanoni said. “Meagan is a great player, her shots are impeccable. Usually she slots them into the nick. I couldn’t leave anything through the middle, no volleys, she’d put it right away. So I just tried to hit the length, hit the corners and keep the ball low. The whole tournament was tough so it was great to get a win today.”

The BU19 final yielded another tournament first in the form of an all-English final between top seeds Sam Todd and Max Forster. Todd clinched his fourth career U.S. Junior Open title in emphatic fashion, defeating his teammate 11-6, 11-2, 11-3.

“I’m good friends with Max,” Todd Said. “Coming all of the way over here to play a good friend is kind of funny in a way. We’ve always had a nice match together. I’m glad I played well today and was on form.”

At just sixteen years old, Todd now holds four titles since 2014—one in each age division from U13 through U19. Todd is also the first English BU19 champion since the tournament’s founding in 1993.

“It feels amazing, I didn’t actually know I was the first English champion,” Todd said. “It feels good to make history at the U.S. Open and good to win all of the age groups. It was my goal to win the U19’s ever since I played the U13’s. I’ve always loved coming over here, they always put on a great tournament.”

Egypt dominated the scene in the U17, U15, U13 and U11 divisions as a result of the Egyptian federation’s first official delegation to the tournament ever, resulting in some of the world’s top-rated players reaching the podium. Across the bottom eight divisions, Egypt produced six champions, six finalists and three third place finishes. The two other outliers, representing Pakistan and Malaysia, needed to defeat Egyptian opposition in the finals.

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