US SQUASH

Team USA Produces a Record Nine British Junior Open Quarterfinalists

The fifty-seven player strong Team USA delegation and coaching staff at the 2019 British Junior Open.

Team USA produced a record nine quarterfinalists and thirty-three players in the round of sixteen during the first two days of match play, January 2-3, at the Dunlop British Junior Open in Birmingham, England.

The 2019 BJO marks Team USA’s fifth annual team trip to England with its largest delegation to date, including fifty-seven players competing against the world’s top juniors in boys’ and girls’ U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19 divisions.

Team USA stole the headlines over the first two days of match play with nearly half of the Americans advancing to the last sixteen in their respective divisions. Team USA’s previous best round of sixteen showing was twenty-three players last year. The first day of play saw nineteen surprise results play out against the seeding, ten of which came courtesy of Americans. The Team USA upsets included: Marc Voloshin (BU11), Nili Sprecher (GU13), Kahjin Yap (GU13), Claire Barnett Pellegrino (GU13), Sarita Popat (GU13), Ayush Menon (BU19), Carson Beck (BU11), Avni Anand (GU17), Zane Patel (BU13) and Ahmad Haq (BU13).

The American upsets continued into the second day of match play with six results defying the seeding on the boys’ side. In the BU15 division, Lachlan Sutton pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament over the first two days by knocking out Egypt’s two seed Ismail Mansour 11-9 in the fifth. In the same division, Varun Chitturi and Mukunth Gopalakrishnan joined their U.S. teammate in defeating higher-ranked players. Both Jack Elriani and Dana Santry entered the round of sixteen as [9/16] seeds where they eliminated [5/8] seeds in the BU11 and BU17 divisions, respectively.

By the end of four rounds of play across the first two days, Team USA fielded nine main draw quarterfinalists–an increase from the previous best of seven in 2017. Of the nine quarterfinalists, five fulfilled their seeding. Team USA’s quarterfinalists included: [5/8] Eva Salzman (GU13), [5/8] Riya Navani (GU13), [5/8] Caroline Eielson (GU13), [5/8] Lucie Stefanoni (GU15), [1] Marina Stefanoni (GU17), [9/16] Jack Elriani (BU11), [9/16] Tad Carney (BU15), [33/64] Mukunth Gopalakrishnan (BU15) and [9/16] Dana Santry (BU17).

While eight of the remaining Americans were unable to overcome higher seeds in Friday’s quarterfinals, the GU17 top seed Marina Stefanoni put in a dominant three-game performance to claim her spot in the semifinals. Stefanoni is bidding to become the first American to win a BJO title since Olivia Blatchford Clyne captured the GU15 title in 2007. All semifinals and finals are streaming live on britishjunioropensquash.com/watch.

The on site Junior Team USA coaching staff consists of Simba Muhwati, Luke Butterworth, Jon Geekie, Henry Clutsam, Charlie Johnson, Supreet Singh, Chris Longman, Celia Pashley and Laurent Elriani.

Follow @TeamUSASquash on Twitter for more updates and American results. For more tournament coverage visit britishjunioropen.com.

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