A dramatic semi-finals day in Birmingham saw three top seeds toppled and an all-English Boys’ U19 final set up … roundup below the results
England is guaranteed a winner in the boys under 19 category at the 2023 British Junior Open as 9/16 seed Jonah Bryant upset the seedings for the third time in a row to defeat top seed and World Junior Champion Rowan Damming from the Netherlands. He’ll take on compatriot Finnlay Withington for the coveted title after the second seed overcame Pakistan’s 3/4 seed Hamza Khan in five games.
The rallies couldn’t have been closer between Bryant and Damming throughout the match, with both players trying to find ways to break down each other’s rhythm and move ahead in the scoreboard. After narrowly losing the first game, took the last three games by the tightest of margins, winning 15-13, 11-9,11-9 to move into the final.
Withington’s win closed out the day’s play as he came from behind to defeat Khan in five games. The Lancashire 18-year-old started strongly in the contest and took the opening game 11-6 to put pressure on Khan to respond. The Pakistani did just that as he stormed back into the match and sealed a nail-biting third game 17-15 to take a 2-1 lead. Resistance disappeared from Khan as Withington took the last two games comfortably 11-2, 11-4 to set up the all-England final.
Like the boys final, the girls under 19 title will also be contested between two players of the same nation as top-seeded Egyptians Amina Orfi and Fayrouz Aboelkheir advanced to the final, but in contrasting styles. Top seed Orfi – who had not dropped a game in her three previous BJO appearances – came through a brutal 70-minute affair with compatriot and 3/4 seed Malak Khafagy. Orfi trailed 2-1 but fought back to secure the win in a nailbiting decider. Second seed Aboelkheir had no such trouble as she overcame Malaysia’s 3/4 seed Aira Azman in straight games to reach the final.
Unseeded American Alexander Dartnell’s dream run in the boys under 17s came to an end as he was beaten by Egypt’s 3/4 seed Eyad Hossam in three games. Hossam will now face top seeded compatriot Youssef Salem, who secured a five-game win over another surprise semi-finalist Jooyung Na of Korea.
The shocks came in the girls semi-finals as both top-seeded Egyptians Barb Sameh and Salma El Sheik were beaten by 3/4 seeds Madison Ho from USA and Nour Khafagy from Egypt. Ho lost the first two games to top seed Sameh, including an 11-0 first game, but managed to battle back in spectacular style to earn her spot in the final. Khafagy recorded three 11-8 games against compatriot El Sheik to win 3-0 to book her spot in the final.
Another big upset came in the boys under 15 category as 9/16 seed Seif Refaay from Egypt knocked out top seeded Malaysian Nickleswar Mogansundraham to reach the final. Refaay will be up against Marwan Asal (younger brother of World No.2 Mostafa Asal) in the final. In the girls category, India’s Anahat Singh secured her place in the final in confident style against 3/4 seeded Malak Samir from Egypt and will take on other 3/4 seed Sohaila Hazem, also from Egypt for the title.
The finals begin at 9:40 (UK time) at the University of Birmingham on Sunday.