Tom Pilcher reports
Team USA punched above their weight on a day of few upsets as the Dunlop British Junior Open 2020 got under way in Birmingham.
With 671 players representing 56 nations and all with high hopes on day one, the top seeds were keen to spend as little time on court as possible, with some in action twice.
And on home soil, England’s 3/4 seed Lewis Anderson, the 2019 World Junior Championship bronze medallist, swiftly went two games up against American Myles Mcintyre in the BU19s before the underdog stunned a shellshocked Anderson 7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 in 52 minutes in the biggest and final upset of the day.
Earlier in the BU19 competition, Mcintyre’s compatriot, [33/64] Nicholas Spizzirri saw off two-time BU13 champion [9/16] Mohamed Elshamy of Egypt in 64 minutes: 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9.
There was further woe for England as GU11 5/8 seed Harriet Broadbridge was toppled by Team USA’s Layla Gupta 11-7, 12-10, 11-5, while in the GU13s, 5/8 seed Charlie McCrone was outfoxed by Eliza Schuster 11-8, 11-7, 12-10.
It didn’t all go Team USA’s way however with BU13s [5/8] Christian Capella losing a tight battle 12-10, 13-11, 8-11, 12-10 to unseeded Abdullah Nawaz of Pakistan.
In the BU19s, Egyptian top seeds Moustafa El Sirty lost just nine points in a straight games victory, while  Yahya Elnawasany, the reigning BU17 champion, made light work of Canada’s [33/64] Mitchell Kahnert in the final encounter of a jam-packed first day.
GU19 top seed Jana Shiha of Egypt was a convincing 11-4, 11-2, 11-7 winner over England’s [17/32] Polly Clark while Malaysian second seed Aifa Azman – the three-time BJO champion, never looked overly troubled by Japan’s [17/32] Ayumi Watanabe.
BU17 top seed Sam Todd of Yorkshire made a convincing start to his bid for a third BJO title with an 11-4, 11-1, 11-2 defeat of Luxembourg’s [33/64] Amir Samimi. Meanwhile, Malaysian second seed Muhammad Amir Amirul Azhar overcame a feisty start from Poland’s [33/64] Jakub Gogol to eventually win 13-11, 11-4, 11-1.
Malaysian GU17 top seed Aira Azman – younger sister of Aifa – started off proceedings with a solid opening victory and later dispatched France’s Ninon Lemarchand 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 as she seeks to add to her 2018 U15 title.
Egypt’s Sana Ibrahim then rounded off day one in the category with a dashing 11-1, 11-3, 11-1 defeat of Spain’s Icia Riveiro.
It was a race to get off court between the top two seeds in the BU15 event, with England’s Jonah Bryant requiring a quarter of an hour to see off Scotland’s [33/64] Rory Campbell in straight games whilst Pakistan’s Muhammad Hamza Khan took just 13 minutes to overcome [33/64] Guido Lindner of The Netherlands.
The Malaysian-Egyptian GU15 stronghold on the seedings showed little sign of being disturbed, with Asian top seed and U13 2018 champion Sehveetrraa Kumar winning her two opening day encounters as did Egyptian second seed Fayrouz Abouelkheir.
Meanwhile in the BU13s, Egypt will take some stopping, with top seed Mohamed Zakaria and second seed Youssef Salem both in dominant form.
BU11 top seed Jayden Oon of Malaysia got stronger as his second-round match progressed, while Egyptian second seed Yassin Kouritam saw off England’s George Barker.
With GU11 top seeds Jana Mohamed of Egypt and England’s Mariam Eissa given a bye through to round two, it was over to 3/4 seeds Maya Mandour and Harleein Tan from Egypt and Malaysia respectively to wow the crowds with ruthless displays.
England’s Nadiya Ismail failed to win a single point against Tan while Mandour was nearly as frugal in her 11-0, 11-2, 11-1 victory over England’s Zarminae Raja.