Major breakthrough on world stage as USA upset France
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
In the biggest upset of the event to date, USA upset fourth seeds France in the quarter-finals of the VDC Dental-Care WSF Men’s World Junior Team Squash Championship to guarantee a last four finish in the biennial World Squash Federation event for the first time in 17 appearances since 1984.
Victor Crouin put France into the lead at Enjoy Squash in the Polish city of Bielsko-Biała after surviving the opening second string battle against Spencer Lovejoy in five games.
The tie looked safely in the European team’s hands when squad number one Benjamin Aubert opened up a two-game lead against his US equivalent Andrew Douglas. But 18-year-old New Yorker Douglas played the game of his life to pull back the deficit before storming through to a 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 victory in 55 minutes to level the tie.
The sixth seeds then looked to be cruising to victory as Samuel Scherl took a two-game lead in the decider. But this time it was a Frenchman’s turn to stage a recovery as Sébastien Bonmalais took a dramatic third in which he held three game balls at 10-7 and then saved three match balls before finally taking it 15-13.
The 17-year-old American was on top again in the fourth, clinching the match 11-5, 11-6, 13-15, 11-6 in 70 minutes to the delight of his team-mates.
“Our match against Jordan last night was a tough one and we finished quite late,” explained the jubilant US Head Coach Adam Hamill (pictured above with the ecstatic squad). “We did a lot of recovery and came into the quarter finals believing we had a real chance.
“Spencer played outstanding squash against a very strong Crouin, pushing hard to get the fourth. Crouin showed his experience in the fifth and played attacking squash to give France the first tie.
“Andrew has had an unbelievable week, first taking world junior champion Eain Yow to five games then another five games against the Jordan number one. Andrew had a slow start physically against the French No.1 – however, as the match progressed, Andrew found more accuracy to slowly break down the Frenchman winning in five and keeping Team USA in the match,” Hamill continued.
“Sam took the court with the match all tied, handling the pressure like a pro and playing solid and varied squash. The French number three moved like a dream and was seemingly impossible to put away. Scherl, however found a way after almost 70mins to secure victory for the U.S.
“As coach I am truly overwhelmed at the team’s performance. This is a deserved win which they have all worked extremely hard for over months and years. Having Alex Stait and our sports physiologist Jeremy Mayer to keep the players moving makes all the difference.
“This is a historic moment for the US Junior Men’s team, with a guaranteed highest finish. We’re incredibly grateful for the support we have received from US Squash to make this event possible for us all.”
US squad No.4 Gabriel Morgan added: “We were in tears of joy after the victory against France. After playing junior squash for ten plus years, never have I felt so much pride and exhilaration as I have representing my country on an international stage. The team has worked so hard for this and we all feel that it’s finally paid off. Can’t wait for the semis!”
USA, who finished in 9th place two years ago, now face Pakistan for a place in the final. The second seeds beat fellow former champions Australia 3/0 in the final tie of the day and are now one win away from an eighth successive appearance in the final.
There was a further surprise in the event when England, the fifth seeds, defeated fourth seeds India 3/0 to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2012. After Kyle Finch put the 2000 champions ahead, top string Charlie Lee clinched England’s victory with an 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 victory over Indian No.1 Velavan Senthilkumar.
VDC Dental-Care WSF Men’s World Junior Team Squash Championship, Bielsko-Biała, Poland
 EGYPT bt  NEW ZEALAND 2/0
Youssef Ibrahim Abdallah bt Finn Trimble 11-5, 11-1, 11-1 (18m)
Saadeldin Abouaish bt Scott Galloway 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (24m)
 ENGLAND bt  INDIA 3/0
Kyle Finch bt Abhay Singh 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 (35m)
Charlie Lee bt Velavan Senthilkumar 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (43m)
Adam Corcoran bt Adithya Raghavan 11-5, 7-11, 11-4
 USA bt  FRANCE 2/1
Spencer Lovejoy lost to Victor Crouin 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11, 3-11 (69m)
Andrew Douglas bt Benjamin Aubert 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 (55m)
Samuel Scherl bt Sébastien Bonmalais 11-5, 11-6, 13-15, 11-6 (70m)
 PAKISTAN bt  AUSTRALIA 3/0
Ahsan Ayaz bt Alex Oswald 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (31m)
Israr Ahmed bt Alex Eustace 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (33m)
Abbas Shoukat bt William Curtis 11-6, 11-3 (20m)
9th – 12th place play-offs:
 HONG KONG CHINA bt  CANADA 2/0
Lai Cheuk Nam Matthew bt Rahul Sehrawat 11-6, 11-6, 12-10
Ng Ka Yiu bt Michael Mehl 11-9, 11-9, 14-12
 JORDAN bt  SOUTH AFRICA 2/1
Hamza Alzubaidi lost to Callan Mackenzie Hall 11-6, 8-11, 11-13, 9-11
Mohammad Al Sarraj bt Richard-John Kuhn 11-8, 11-4, 11-4
Abedalkader Jeitan bt Sipho Ncube 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9
17th – 21st place play-offs:
 GUATEMALA bt  POLAND 2/1
Ricardo Toscano bt Mateusz Szewczyk 11-4, 11-8, 14-12
Junior Enríquez Franco bt Maksymilian Wielgus 11-7, 11-2, 11-7
Roberto Urruela Bowen lost to Filip Jarota 5-11, 7-11, 10-12
 ARGENTINA bt  ZIMBABWE 3/0
Jeremías Azaña bt Luke Mannion 11-8, 11-6, 11-4
Juan Barreyro bt Callum Lawton 11-9, 11-8, 11-2
Matías Kupferberg bt Nicholas Joughin 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3
 GERMANY bt  ARGENTINA 2/1
Robin Ebert bt Jeremías Azaña 5-11, 11-3, 11-9, 12-10
Sean Redmen lost to Juan Barreyro 6-11, 5-11, 7-11
Loïc Hennard bt Matías Kupferberg 11-8, 12-10, 13-11
 GUATEMALA bt  ZIMBABWE 2/1
Ricardo Toscano bt Nicholas Joughin 11-2, 11-8, 12-10
Junior Enríquez Franco bt Luke Mannion 7-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7
Roberto Urruela Bowen lost to Ethan Alfalfa Porter 4-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-3, 9-11
 EGYPT v  ENGLAND
 PAKISTAN v  USA
5th – 8th place play-offs:
 INDIA v  NEW ZEALAND
 FRANCE v  AUSTRALIA
Pictures courtesy of WSF