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Day 1, Round 1.
From Adrian Fulneczek
During the first seven hours of squash at the World Juniors we saw glimpses of the level of play fans expect to see during this event. The seeded players had a rest day on Tuesday and most matches ended with 3:0 wins, but there were a couple of moments worth remembering.
Day 1. started rather well for the organizers as we were visited by the biggest local TV station. Their 2.5 minute news-story can be seen at our Facebook fan page. Tuesday was a great day for them to attend the WJC as it was mainly a “Polish day” on Hasta La Vista’s courts. Well, at least in the timetable it was. All of the 9 players representing the home nation lost their matches. Among the girls only Natalia Ryfa (the Polish number 1 in this event) put up any real fight, playing really decent squash in the third game of her match against Rebecca Barnett.
The Pole eventually lost 3-0, but there was some late drama at 9:9 in the third, when the refs had to intervene and call Barnett of the court because of some blood on her elbow. – I’m just happy to get the win. There was a bit of drama at the end, but I managed to close out the match – said the victorious Barnett.
Among the early games, we were treated to a great game when Guatemala’s very own (and only girl in the event!) Winifer Bonilla beat Oceane Wadoux of France in four games and 35 minutes. Another tense affair was Dileas Macgowan win over Abbie Palmer, the World 190 from New Zealand (another Kiwi having to taste defeat after Sachika Ingale’s triumph over Hayley Hughes), which was just a prelude to another Canadian, Alison Richmond winning her match against Lea Van Der Zwalmen in five although being 2:0 down.
The longest match among the girls on Day 1. was Kayley Leonard’s (USA) battle with Urwashi Joshi (IND) with the American coming through after 39 minutes to win the fifth 11:9. Last, but not least, it’s worth knowing that Choi Uen Shan, the 16-year old sensation from Hong Kong, a freshly crowned Asia Junior Champion, was again in sensational form, winning her match against Elise Romba 3:0.
The boys’ draw started play at 3pm and also with a Polish match. The young hope of a young squash nation, Piotr Hemmerling tried his best, but could not overcome Vojtech Babista of the Czech Republic. The 13-year old Hemmerling was however the first Pole to win a game on the day, but instead inspire a combeback, it lead to a 11:2 scoreline in the fourth and last game. – You can see he’s playing well when he’s relaxed, but he tends to lose his concentration and lose 5-7 points just like that. It’s all in his head, but at this age it is still very hard to work on that at all – said Marcin Kozik, his coach in the national team.
Apart from Argentinas Francisco Obregon’s win over Adrien Grondin of France in 48 minutes there were not many other matches worth mentioning. Syed Azlan Amjad of Qatar was solid in his win, but to long awaited fireworks came at the very end. First England’s George Parker beat Czech Republic’s Martin Svec 3:0 in a rather hard-fought win with tempers flying high in the last game and lots of pushing and shoving throughout. – The first two games went as planned, but in the third he started putting more pressure on me and volleying most balls. But I feel like I was the person in control throughout the whole match – Parker summed up his win.
The last match of the day was surely the longest one and arguably the most entartaining. Hungary’s Nandor Gergo Papp won in five against Madhav Dhingra, but seemed down and out in the fourth game. He clawed his way back to 10:10 however saving match balls. At 14:13 the ball had to be changed and after that Papp managed to finally close out the game. In the fifth it was also Dhingra who got to a better start, but Papp came back to punish him for not closing out the match when he probably should have done so. Either way, it was the best way possible to cap off the first day of the tournament. One down, ten still to go.
WJC 2013 Press Bureau