The rising stars of New Zealand squash have shown further improvement over their rivals in Australia by winning three titles at the Australian Open Junior Championships at Thornleigh, New South Wales.
The Kiwi team was victorious in the two Tests of the trans-Tasman series last week for the fifth year in a row, won the majority of titles at the Oceania Championships in Auckland and there was more success for the small contingent of Kiwi players.
Natalie Sayes from Auckland via Northland moved from being a finalist last year to winning the girls Australian U15 title with a straight game victory over second seed Maggie Goodman (New South Wales) 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 in 20 minutes.
The result adds to her Oceania U15 title she won on Tuesday.
Elijah Thomas (Eden Epsom Squash Club) won the U17 boys title, going one better than the previous year. He accounted for third seed Joshua Penfold (Queensland) 11-8, 11-8, 11-3 and also adds it to his Oceania win as well.
Auckland’s Gabe Yam, who won Oceania U19’s then took out the Australian U19 title with a win over second seed Kerwin Teh (Malaysia) 11-6, 11-6, 11-2 in 26 minutes. Yam who has a current PSA senior world ranking of 283 didn’t drop a game on his way to the title including a win over Ethan Eyles in the semifinals.
Oliver Dunbar from Wellington was beaten in the Australian U13 final by Malaysian Hashvind Kugan Thiru 6-11, 10-12, 10-12.
Players now compete in the prestigious AON New Zealand Junior Open at the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre in Tauranga starting on Friday.
The draws include around 170 juniors from around the country with Yam the top seed in junior men’s and Kaitlyn Watts who has already played for the New Zealand women’s senior team the junior women’s top seed. Anika Jackson from the Waikato is the second seed.