Torres Topples World Junior Champion to Win Back-to-Back U.S. Junior Open Titles; Stefanoni Bows Out With Maiden Win

Back (l-r): Savannah Moxham (BEL, GU15), Youssef Salem (EGY, BU17), Lucie Stefanoni (USA, GU19), Juan Jose Torres (COL, BU19), Farouk Ahmed (EGY, BU13). Front (l-r): Malek Ahmed (EGY, BU11), Nour Ghoneim (EGY, GU11), Vivienne Sze (USA, GU13), Janna Swaify (EGY, GU17), Jack Elriani (USA, BU15)

Colombia’s Pan American Junior Champion Juan Jose Torres defeated Holland’s reigning World Junior Champion Rowan Damming to win back-to-back U.S. Junior Open titles, while Team USA’s Lucie Stefanoni marked her final tournament appearance with her first win Tuesday, December 20, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.

The U.S. Junior Open–the largest individual squash tournament in the world–fielded 954 players representing forty-two nations. After three days of play, Tuesday’s finals narrowed the field down to twenty players representing five nations. Of the ten finals, four were Team Egypt versus Team USA–all of which Egypt won–and three were all-American.

Watch match replays from the Specter Center on the US Squash Youtube Channel. View all results on the U.S. Junior Open tournament page. Tournament photography will be available on the US Squash Smugmug page.

The tournament culminated in two dramatic five game finals in both U19 finals.

In a repeat of the 2022 U.S. Junior Championships final on the same court, Stefanoni avenged her loss against the two seed Caroline Fouts 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 in forty-one minutes.

“It was a really tough match, especially because she’s so fit,” Stefanoni said. “I was just trying to take advantage of volleying as much as I could because she was getting everything back, and not getting rattled by her pick ups and staying composed throughout the match. It’s amazing to win in my last year because I’ve never won before, I think I’ve been in the finals three or four times, so I was glad to pull it out in my last try.”

Lucie Stefanoni (l) against Caroline Fouts

The biggest upset of the tournament came in the BU19 final as three seed Torres–the 2021 BU17 champion–took down top-seeded Damming in his tournament debut. Damming pulled through a difficult five-game quarterfinal, and found himself on the brink of losing again down 2-0 against the Colombian. The momentum shifted to the Dutchman who took the third and fourth games and earned two match balls up 10-8. Pushed on by a raucous crowd, Torres saved two match balls and won the next four points to clinch the title 12-10 in the fifth after sixty-four minutes.

“I don’t think I have words to describe how I’m feeling right now, I can’t believe it,” Torres said. “I lost to him in four at the World Juniors and then coming here I felt like I had it, but then he came back from 2-0 down. I’m just happy that I left everything on court and it worked out. I’m so happy. It feels incredible to win two titles in a row. I also tried to focus step by step in both tournaments, and both times it worked out. I love this tournament, I love the people here and the crowd. I really enjoy playing here and it’s a big factor for me to win this. I want to thank US Squash, they organize a really good tournament, and I want to thank the crowd and everyone from Colombia who came here to support me.”

Juan Jose Torres celebrates his BU19 win

In addition to the U19 finals, three other finals went the distance to five games. Belgium’s Savannah Moxham earned her first U.S. Junior Open title, defeating Egypt’s Sohayla Wahba 6-11, 11-6, 15-13, 8-11, 11-6.

In the GU11 final, Egypt’s Nour Ghoneim overcame a marathon third game loss 17-19 to come back from 2-1 down against top seed Amelia Rutherford and win 11-9, 10-12, 17-19, 11-3, 11-5.

Egypt’s 2019 BU13 champion Youssef Salem earned his second U.S. Junior Open title in the BU17 division, edging Colombia’s Juan Irisarri in a thrilling final 11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9.

Five years after winning the BU11 title, Jack Elriani earned his second against Marc Voloshin in an all-American BU15 final.

GU13 three seed Vivienne Sze was the second player to win back-to-back U.S. Junior Open titles in different age groups, upsetting fellow American and top seed Isabella Tang 7-11, 14-12, 11-6, 14-12.

Egypt’s Farouk Ahmed and Janna Swaify put in two of the most dominant performances of the tournament, dropping just one game along the way to their titles. Ahmed dethroned defending champion and top seed Carlton Capella in the BU13 division, while Swaify fulfilled her top seeding with a 3-0 final win over Team USA’s Riya Navani.

Egypt completed a sweep of the U11 divisions with two seed Malek Ahmed defeating American three seed Eric Tang in the final.