France top seeds took U19 titles at fantastic Dutch Junior Open edition

11 juli 2023 9 Minuten leestijd

From 6 till July 9th the Dutch Junior Open were organized at the magnificent Frans Otten Stadium in Amsterdam. Despite the World Juniors in Australia coming up, the event had a record-breaking number of participants and so matches (±1.500) divided over 10 categories. On Sunday ten new champions were crowned at the Centre Court under the watchful eye of football legend Marco van Basten.

Birthday present for Avantikashrii Seenivasagam [2] in Girls Under 11
In the early Sunday Morning the first final took of on Centre Court with Seenivasagam from Malaysia and Hassan [5/8] from Egypt. In a very equal battle with great rallies among the 10-year-old squash players, Seenivasagam was able to control the ball a bit better than Hassan and took a 2-0 advantage. Hassan brought renewed energy to the third game and was able to take the third. Despite the energetic efforts of Hassan, Seenivasagam was able to take the fourth game and so the title of the Dutch Junior Open. A great gift for the Malaysian player who celebrated her birthday on the day after the final.

Graeson Smith [3/4] on fire in Boys Under 11
In the boys under 11 final the American Graeson Smith [3/4] faced Pierre-Emmanuel Haillet [9/16] from France. Despite the mega performance of Haillet in the tournament by creating a triple upset over Ben Lamond [1], Boris Braykov [5/8] and Hissan Nair Tan [3/4], Haillet wasn’t able to overperform again in the final. Graeson had a clean 3-0 sheet towards the final and played with the intention to continue this streak. As the neutral squashfan hoped for a tense battle, Graeson did not let any room for Haillet and took the title with another 3-0 win.

Topseeds clinches in Girls Under 13
In the only category without a major upset, Sandy Hassan [EGY, 1] and Judy Liu [MAL, 2] took the tickets for the final in the Girls Under 13. Hassan had an easy route towards the final without losing a game, while Liu had a tense semifinal against Keira Smith [USA 3/4] with two tie-breaks necessary to decide the winner. During the final Hassan was just a little bit stronger and had a bit more balance in her plays and was able to take a 2-0 advantage over Liu. In the third game it seemed like Liu had an answer for the the powerful play of Hassan by using lob-drop strategy. Liu took a 10-7 advantage, but Hassan had some power left and took the third and decisive game to win the title in the Girls Under 13.

Finger licking Eastern Europe Battle in Boys Under 13
As the four top seeded players all reached the semi-final, the expectations for the final were high. Hungarian top seed Vince Czakó [1] and Polish Mateusz Lohmann [3/4] delivered one of the greatest finals for the neutral squash fans. The two equal players perfomed not only with some great squash, they both were able to make it an exciting battle. Czakó had the advantage of an easier movement on court and proceeded towards a 7-2 score in the first game. Lohmann, ‘the Diesel train’, had warmed-up an did a stunning performance by taking 9 points in a row and securing the first game. Lohmann took the second game with the same amount of energy, but had to recharge in third.

The fourth game was finger licking good. Lohmann had three opportunities to take the title, but with some fantastic squash Czakó took the fourth in a tie-break. In the fifth game the resistance of Czakó was broken and Lohmann was the legitimate winner.

Harleein Tan takes down top seeds in Girls Under 15
The score sheet in the final did not represent the efforts both contenders had to deliver in their semifinals. Malaysian Harleein Tan [3/4] had a very intense five game battle with Dutch home-hero Renske Huntelaar [1], whilst Belgium Savannah Moxham not only played a five game battle with Mariam Eissa [ENG, 3/4] but also had to deliver in two endurance tie-breaks. Despite the energetic semi finales, both players recovered well and performed a tense battle on centre court. Power Player Moxham took the 1-0 advantage over Tan who had to find her way to counter the plays of Moxham. After the first game Tan found her rhytmn, was able to extend the rally’s and found the answer to take the next three games and conclude her fantastic tournament with a win.

Broken sound barrier after Egyptian win in Boys Under 15
Just like the boys under 13, the top four seeds reached the semifinals and performed a close final. Egyptian Michael Fayez [3/4] did not lost a game until the final and was also able to defeat top seeded Japanese player Shunsaku Kariyazono in the semis. The man to beat in the final for Fayez was American youngster Yaseen Shalaby [2] who defeated Dutchman Quinten van Es as well as seeded players Ryan Moadel [USA, 5/8] and Szymon Lohmann [POL, 3/4]. In a thight final Fayez did not only had the energy to counter the fantastic plays of the stylish Shalaby, he was also able to express his game with his vocals. As the crowd came to the stands, they saw an attractive game decided in favor of Michael Fayez, which he celebrated in his style.

Alexandra Jaffe takes care of surprise of the tournament in Girls Under 17
In the girls under 17 the most upsets took place and created therefore an unexpected final between American Alexandra Jaffe [17/32] and Polish Sofiia Zrazhevska [9/16]. Zrazhevska was able to defeat top seeds Karma Belal El Shal [EGY, 3/4] as well as Ona Blasco [SPA, 2], but also prevented a sister-act final by winning over Samantha Jaffe [USA, 17/32] in the quarter final. Alexandra Jaffe took down the hopes of top seeded players like Emily Coulcher-Porter [ENG, 3/4] and Maya Weishar [GER, 1].

In an exciting final the Polish ‘powerhouse’ had a great start and took a 1-0 advantage over Jaffe. The American player recovered herself during the first break and adapted to the powerful plays of Zrazhevska by playing long drives deep into the court. Zrazhevska was struggeling to find the correct answer and despite retrieving many of the drives, the Polish player was not able to take over the rallies and therefore Jaffe was the well-earned winner of the Dutch Junior Open in the girls under 17.

American podium in Boys Under 17
In the boys Under 17 the American entries were on fire with four players in the first seven spots, the coaches and players returned home with confidence for the upcoming season. Rohan Arya Gondi [3/4] and Alexander Dartnell [2] faced each other on the Sunday afternoon at the center court of the Frans Otten Stadium. Both players played the familiar American style with very attacking style of play and got the crowd roaring with some fantastic shots. Even tough, the first two games were close on the score sheet, the game there didn’t had that much tension due to winning streaks on both sides up to five points. In the third and forth game Dartnell let some room for Arya Gondi who thank fully took the opportunity and celebrated his victory with a primal scream. Jack Elriani [3/4] completed the American podium after winning in five over Czechian player Vojtech Martinovsky [5/8].

Laura Baltayan takes gold in Girls Under 19 upfront of World Juniors
In the under 19 categories there was all to play for due to the upcoming World Juniors in Melbourne. Almost all top seeds of the World Junior chose for another approach for the World Juniors and therefore new stars were able to shine. Eventough five American players made it to the last ten, none of the American players were able to take one of the medals home. Top seed Lauren Baltayan [FRA, 1] had a proper streak towards the final without losing a single game. In the second round Baltayan staggered a bit against Ukranian Velychko and had to play two tie breaks but showed the crowd her status of a [9/16] seed in the upcoming World Juniors.

The final got flying colors with Millie Breach as she was able to take care of multiple upsets over Chloé Crabbé [BEL, 5/8] and Meha Shah [USA, 2]. Even tough the final match sheet showed a five-set match, there was not that much tense on center court. Both players won their games with a big game difference with the French Baltayan taking the fifth game.

Melvil Scianimanico takes down Dutch home-heroes in Boys Under 19
After winning the semifinal over home-hero and number two seeded Guido Lindner, second Dutchman Sam Gerrits [3/4] know it would be a major job awaiting against France [3/4] seeded Melvil Scianimanico. With Gerrits on his favorite court and supported by the home-crowd all requirements were set to be the first Dutchman winning the Dutch Junior Open in Boys Under 19 since 2005.

Both final contenders had the Dutch Junior Open as their last hurdle towards the World Juniors and showed their quality from the first rally on in the best match – by far – of the tournament. With a rally over 100 plays the crowd was quietly enjoying the breathtaking rallies of both players. Gerrits started great with some great drops, deep drives and strong defence. Gerrits led the entire game and took it to a comfortable 11-5.

In the second game Gerrits showed his class again and took an 8-2 advantage over Scianimanico, history was in the making, but some unforced errors on Dutch side brought the French player back in the game who was even able to win the second game by 11-9, a mental one on the cheek for Gerrits.  The third game was a fantastic tactical game with Gerrits in attacking mode with lobs and drops and Scianimanico countering with a zero-mistakes-protocol and fighting spirit to retrieve all attacks from Gerrits. The Dutch player was able to take a 9-6 advantage, but Scianimanico was again the winner of the game. Both players had put an enourmous amount of energy into the game. However, the packed crowds around Center Court saw an intense start of the fourth game, Gerrits resistance was broken. Scianimanico took the fourth game and sealed trophy ahead of home heroes but more than ready for the future Sam Gerrits and Guido Lindner.

All texts were created with the help of the Livestream team, all streams can be found here.
All tournament results can be found via this link.

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