Friday, December 1, 2023

England’s Finnlay Withington lifts British Junior Open squash title

Finnlay Withington won the battle of the Brits to lift his first British Junior Open title, as Egypt’s Amina Orfi continued her superb unbeaten run in Birmingham to capture the girls’ title.

Withington and Orfi overcame compatriots Jonah Bryant and Fayrouz Aboelkheir respectively in entertaining U19 finals at the University of Birmingham Sport. Egypt won six of the 10 titles on offer in Sunday’s finals.

Withington said: “I’m really happy, I can’t put it into words. It is a bit of relief and I stuck to the game plan and just played really well. 

“It’s always a hard game with Jonah, I didn’t really let him into the game. Towards the end I got a bit nervous to try and close it out but luckily I did.”

It was the first all-English final in the under-19 category since James Willstrop beat Peter Barker in 2002’s final.

Orfi, 15, found herself 2-1 down to No.2 seed Aboelkheir but as she so often does in British Junior Open finals, found a way to win. 

She stepped up the court to take time away from her compatriot and stormed to victory by winning the final two games 11-2, 11-6 to claim her fourth British Junior Open title.

 Orfi said; “Playing with her [Aboelkheir] is always more mental than it is tactical and physical,” said Orfi after her win.

“There’s a lot going on in Egypt and we’re main rivals and some people cheer for me and some for her, so beating her again for a second time this season is a huge win for me.”

Top-seeded Egyptian Youssef Salem claimed the boys under 17 title after he defeated compatriot Eyad Hossam in a four-game contest.

British Junior Open 2023 Aboelkheir v Orfi

The US captured their second trophy of the day as Madison Ho overcame Egypt’s Malak Khafagy in straight games to lift the title. 

India’s No.1 seed Anahat Singh produced a fine performance to capture the girls under-15 title as she beat Egypt’s Sohaila Hazem in four games.  

All but one of the top seeds prevailed in the under 13 and 11 categories as Egyptian duo Talia Sherif and Hazem Sarwat claimed the under 11 titles.

 Results – British Junior Open 2023 finals

G11   [1] Talia Sherif (Egy) 3-2 Lilly Mashaal (Egy)  11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2 (30m)

B11   [1] Hazem Sarwat (Egy) 3-1 [3/4] Malek Ahmed (Egy)  11-9, 10-12, 11-2, 11-1 (30m)

G13  [3/4] Habiba Rizk (Egy) 3-0 [1] Malika Taymour (Egy)  11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (24m)

B13   [1] Carlton Capella (Usa) 3-1 [5/8] Nauman Khan (Pak)  7-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-9 (36m)

G15   [1] Anahat Singh (Ind) 3-1 [3/4] Sohaila Hazem (Egy)  11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (28m)

B15   [2] Marwan Asal (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Seif Refaay (Egy)    11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (19m)

G17   [3/4] Madison Ho (Usa) 3-0 [3/4] Nour Khafagy (Egy)  11-8, 11-8, 14-12 (38m)

B17   [1] Youssef Salem (Egy) 3-1 [3/4] Eyad Hossam (Egy)  9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (45m)

G19   [1] Amina Orfi (Egy) 3-2 [2] Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy)  6-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-2, 11-6 (49m)

B19   [2] Finnlay Withington (Eng) 3-0 [9/16] Jonah Bryant (Eng)  11-3, 11-4, 11-8 (36m)

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