Malik Scores Upset To Join Todd and Khalil In British Junior Open Finals
The English Perspective
Sussex’s Torrie Malik scored a big upset on semi-finals day at the 2022 British Junior Open as she defeated USA’s No.2 seed Lucie Stefanoni to join compatriots Sam Todd and Hassan Khalil in the finals.
Stefanoni is ranked nine places higher than Malik in the current PSA rankings but the determined Englishwoman fought back to take the opening game 13-11 after saving a game ball in the process. The next two games were hard fought but both went the way of Malik 11-8, 11-9 to take the match 3-0.
Sadly, an all-English women’s final was denied by the event’s No.1 seed Caroline Fouts from the USA, who beat Yorkshire’s Asia Harris in a tough four-game battle. Harris lost two tight opening games 12-10, 11-9 but responded in great style by taking the third game 13-11 to breathe more life into the encounter. It was by the same scoreline that Fouts sealed her victory in the fourth game after saving three game balls.
No.1 seed and heavy favourite Sam Todd continued his dominant performances, beating compatriot Jonah Bryant in a competitive three games. Todd is currently ranked No.76 in the PSA world rankings and showed his experience to control his younger opponent and take the match 3-0 – 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 in 50 minutes.
Warwickshire’s Hassan Khalil was up against fellow 5/8 seed Ameeshenraj Chandran from Malaysia in the last semi-final of the night. Khalil has come through two nail-biting five-set matches already in the event and as he lost the third game 11-2 to trail 2-1, it looked as though the time he’s spent on court was taking its toll and his tournament run was coming to an end.
Khalil had other ideas, however, digging extremely deep and saving three match balls to eventually take the fourth game 16-14 and set up yet another dramatic fifth game. The Malaysian looked the stronger and fresher of the two in the final game and led most of the way. Khalil’s strength and determination were ever-present however and he continued to fight to stay in the match. The Englishman took the last four points, to take the match, finishing with an amazing cross-court nick to book his place in the final after more than an hour on court.