Day One Roundup : BJO 2024 begins in Birmingham

The 2024 British Junior Open began in earnest today, with 482 matches across four venues on an action-packed opening day in Birmingham.

It was a perfect start to the tournament for the top two seeds in the Girls and Boys’ Under-19s competitions. Egypt’s number one seed Mohamed Zakaria saw off Arihant K S [33/64] of India 3-0, while England’s Jonah Bryant [2], who was runner up in the U19 final last year, also notched a straight games win over Kanta Ito from Japan to move into the last 32, with two rounds tomorrow to determine the quarter-finalists.

World No.37 and the top seed in the girls’ U19s, Egyptian Fayrouz Aboelkheir – who was also runner up in the final in 2023 – opened her account at this year’s event by beating Olivia Owens [17/32] of England 3-0, which was the same scoreline number two seed from the USA Caroline Fouts triumphed by against England’s Francesca Hall [17/32]Both now move into the last 16 with quarter-final places at stake on Day Two. France’s 3/4 seed Lauren Baltayan was taken the distance in her second match of the day, fighting back from 1-2 down to beat Netherland’s Renske Huntelaar [17/32].

While there were first round successes for the top eight seeds in the U19s, USA’s Avery Park [17/32] came from behind to advance to the next round at the expense of the 9/16 seed Ocean Ma from Canada. Park lost the first 11-2 but edged the second 13-11 in a tiebreak before taking the third and fourth games 11-9 to progress. 

The top two seeds in the Girls and Boys Under-17s followed suit by kicking off their tournament campaigns with 3-0 victories to book their places in the next round. 

Egyptian pair Youssef Salem [1] – the defending U17 champion – and Marwan Asal [2], who scooped the U15 title last year, defeated England’s Wilfred Baker and Viggo Hendricks [33/64], respectively. They also face a further two rounds tomorrow.

The number one seed in the Girls Under-17s Anahat Singh of India, who lifted the U15 title in 2023 and the Scottish U19 title last week, downed Egypt’s Farida Walid Sherif [17/32] in a fiery match which entertained a packed crowd on Edgbaston Priory’s court one, while Nadien Elhammamy [2] of Egypt overcame Austria’s Karina Seiner and Reka Kemecsei in emphatic fashion. 

Elsewhere in the Girls U17s competition, 17/32 seed Helen Tang from Hong Kong beat USA’s Charlotte Pastel [5/8] to record the biggest upset of the day. Tang took the first two games 11-5 before Pastel halved the deficit by winning the third, but the Hong Konger sealed the match with an 11-8 success in the fourth to progress. 

Meanwhile, the top eight seeds in the Under-15s competitions all prevailed, however there were two upsets in the girls’ side of the draw. [17/32] Akaisha Bhatia of India overcame Hong Kong’s 9/16 seed Pui Yin Chloe Lo 3-1 and 17/32 seed Trinity Moshi of the USA notched a straight games victory over England’s Renata Colabella [9/16].

All of the top eight seeded players in the Boys’ Under-13s and Under-11s competitions safely progressed, but three top eight seeds in the Girls’ Under-13s were beaten on the first day. 

Australian Elizabeth Wang [5/8] went down to Poland’s Antonina Piotrowicz [17/32] 3-1, Egypt’s Haneen Sameh Salah Abd El Rahman [17/32] beat the 5/8 seed Yoga Varunayvie Subramaniam 3-0 and Areej Elhadidy [17/32] of Egypt downed the USA’s 5/8 seed Almeera Khan 3-0. 

The British Junior Open continues tomorrow in Birmingham. The action gets under way at 9am (UK time), with the quarter-final lineups to be decided in most of the categories.

Watch live streaming from the all-glass court at the University of Birmingham Sport on the official website and SQUASHTV, while action from courts 1 and 2 from Edgbaston Priory Club on the Edgbaston Priory Facebook page.

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