US SQUASH

Ten U.S. Junior Open Champions Represent Record Seven Countries

The 2017 U.S. Junior Open champions. (back row, l-r): Leonel Cardenas (MEX), Yash Fadte (IND), Serena Daniel (USA), Marina Stefanoni (USA), David Costales (ECU) (front row, l-r): Meagan Best (BAR), Caroline Fouts (USA), Ona Blasco (ESP), Islam Kouritam (EGY), Adham Mabrouk (EGY)

The ten 2017 U.S. Junior Open champions represented a record seven different nationalities following finals day, Tuesday, December 19, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

A record 930 players from forty-one countries—an increase from thirty-four last year—competed across five age divisions. The largest draws were the BU19 and BU17, which were full with 128 players, while the GU17 (121) and BU15 (123) both exceeded 100. More than 2,000 matches were contested over the course of the four days at Yale, Trinity College, Wesleyan University and Loomis Chaffee School.

Three countries earned maiden U.S. Junior Open titles—Barbados, Spain and Ecuador. Team USA led the pack with three titles, followed by Egypt with two and India and Mexico joining the first-time champions with one.

In the eldest age group, top seeds Marina Stefanoni and Leonel Cardenas were the only previous U.S. Junior Open champions to augment their tournament title records.

Competing in the U19’s for the first time, fifteen-year-old Marina Stefanoni claimed top honors dropping just one game all tournament in the final against U.S. teammate Elle Ruggiero. The title is the two-time U.S. junior champion’s fourth consecutive, adding to the U15 in 2016 and 2015, and U13 in 2014.

Leonel Cardenas, the 2016 U17 champion, made it two titles in a row, fulfilling his one seed by dropping just two games all tournament. Cardenas dispatched Princeton’s two seed Adhitya Raghavan in a three-game final to earn Mexico’s sole title.

Barbados’ Meagan Best made history in the GU17 division, becoming the first player from a Caribbean nation to win a U.S. Junior Open title. Best, the five seed, pulled out a gripping final 11-9 in the fifth against Egypt’s Malak Ashraf Kamal.

In the BU17 division, India’s Yash Fadte was the lowest seeded player to win a title. The eight seed defeated the one and two seeds on his way to the title, which he clinched in four games against Team USA’s Ayush Menon. The title marks India’s second in tournament history in addition to the U13 last year.

California’s Serena Daniel came back from a game down in the GU15 final to defeat Egypt’s three seed 13-11 in the fourth. Daniel, the top seed, marks her first career U.S. Junior Open title.

In the BU15 final, six seed David Costales upset Egypt’s top seed Ahmed Marzouk in three games to claim Ecuador’s first U.S. Junior Open title in tournament history.

The U13 finals pitted teammates against each other. In the GU13 final, five seed Caroline Fouts upset American compatriot and two seed Madison Ho in three games to win her first title. In the BU13 final, top seed Islam Kouritam defeated fellow Egyptian Youssef Bastawy in three games to win his first title.

Both U11 finals saw the three seeds upset by a lower seed. In the GU11 final, four seed Ona Blasco earned Spain its first U.S. Junior Open title against Hong Kong’s three seed Tsz Ling Alyssa Ho in three games. In an all-Egyptian BU11 final, five seed Adham Mabrouk came back from a game down against teammate Eaid Daoud to win his first title in four games.

View all results on the 2017 U.S. Junior Open tournament page.

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