Robertson Removes Title-Holder Damming In World Juniors Shock
21 Jul 2023
USA's Hollis Robertson stunned defending champion Rowan Damming on the third day of the WSF World Junior Squash Championships to become the first American male to reach the quarter-finals in six years - and only the second of all-time.
In the final match of the day at Melbourne Sports Centres, the 18-year-old from New York looked to be heading out of his maiden World Junior Championships when he went 2/0 down to the Dutchman.
Robertson, who saved a match ball on his way to a five-game win against Colombia's Javier Emilio Romo Lopez 24 hours earlier, fought back spectacularly, though, with the tireless American retrieving everything as he fought back to two-all with 11-6, 11-5 wins.
In a tense conclusion, Robertson was able to complete the remarkable comeback with an 11-7 victory and his celebration was as energetic as his performance, with the American sprinting to the front of the court and roaring with delight, before commiserating Damming and then being mobbed by the rest of the US squad.
The Dutchman's demise was all the more surprising as Damming had spent the past two months competing on the PSA World Tour in the southern hemisphere where he reached five successive finals and claimed three titles.
"I kind of lost myself for a second and let it all out," Robertson said afterwards. "Knowing I had the team's support, they've supported me two matches in a row and really pushed me through and I just wanted to share that moment with them."
Robertson's opponent in the quarter-final will be fellow 9/16 seed Melvil Scianimanico of France, who himself performed a seedings upset as he came from a game down to beat Swiss 5/8 seed David Bernet 3/1.
The rest of the men's draw went to seedings. In an exciting contest, top seed Jonah Bryant edged past Yassein Shohdy, while 3/4 seeds Mohamed Zakaria and Hamza Khan got the better of Varun Chitturi and Jose Santamaria, with Khan having to fight back from a game down in a five-game win, alongside wins for remaining seeded players Salman Khalil, Juan Jose Torres and Joachim Chuah.
In the women's draw, the seeded players continued to impress.
Top seed Amina Orfi, who won the women's competition as a 15-year-old last year, continued her fine form as she got the better of Malaysian 9/16 seed Sehveetrraa Kumar in straight games, while No.2 seed Fayrouz Aboelkheir eased past 5/8 seed Nour Megahed in an all-Egyptian affair.
In an intense contest on Court Nine, Indian 5/8 seed Anahat Singh came from behind in a see-saw encounter against Egyptian 9/16 seed Nadien Elhammamy, with the 15-year-old winning 8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 in 52 minutes to set up a quarter-final with Egyptian 3/4 seed Malak Khafagy.