Wai Leads Surprise Hong Kong Pair Through To World Juniors Last 16
19 Jul 2023
Wai Sze Wing provided the shock of day two of the WSF World Junior Squash Championships in Melbourne when the Hong Kong 18-year-old joined compatriot Leung Ka Huen as the only unseeded players to make the women's event's last 16.
The Hong Kong native looked in trouble at the Melbourne Sports Centres when English opponent Asia Harris, a 5/8 seed, took the opening game 11-6, but hit back to move into the lead with a tense pair of 11-9 wins.
Harris forced the match into a fifth game with an 11-7 victory in game four, but, in a nail-biting tie-break, it was Wai who held her nerve as she edged the gripping contest 12-10 to set up a last-16 clash with Lauren Baltayan, the 9/16 seed from France who beat Germany's Maya Weishar 3/1.
After her match, Wai said: "I feel excited about that. This is my first time going into the top 16 and I didn't think I could make it. I won from deuce in my last match, too, and I'm just so excited now!
"I just told myself to play and don't think about winning."
While Wai's win was the day's biggest surprise, she was far from the only player to upset a seeded opponent, with three 9/16 seeds crashing out to unseeded players, all on the traditional courts.
First, Wai's compatriot Ka Huen Leung downed England's Amelie Haworth, then - in the men's event - USA's Varun Chitturi upset Ireland's Dylan Moran, before Colombia's Jose Santamaria got the better of India's Krishna Mishra.
Ecuador's Javier Emilio Romo Lopez came close to adding one more upset when he had match ball against USA's 9/16 seed Hollis Robertson, but he was eventually pipped in a tense tie-break in the fifth game.
To the disappointment of the home crowd, there were no upsets on the glass court, with unseeded Australian duo Oscar Curtis and Madison Lyon losing out to Malaysian 5/8 seed Joachim Chuah and Egyptian 9/16 seed Nadien Elhammamy to end home hopes.
Joining Chuah and Elhammamy in the next round are all of the top seeds, with defending women's champion and No.1 seed Amina Orfi of Egypt beating Canada's Ocean Ma, her compatriot and women's No.2 seed Fayrouz Aboelkheir beating Malaysia's Whitney Wilson, men's No.1 seed Jonah Bryant of England beating USA's Zane Patel and men's No.2 seed and defending champion Rowan Damming of the Netherlands beating Malaysia's Harith Danial.