|England Celebrate Historic European Junior Breakthrough|
|Written by Howard Harding @ Squashinfo.com|
|Monday, 18 April 2011 09:32|
For the first time in the tournament's 22-year history, players from a single country will line up in the men's semi-finals of the European Junior (U19) Individual Squash Championships after four Englishmen prevailed in the quarter-finals of the European Squash Federation event in Kriens, Switzerland.
It was England's Nicholas Hopcroft who made the breakthrough when he twice came from behind to upset Belgium's 3/4 seed Tom de Mulder 5-11, 11-5, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6 to claim a surprise semi-final berth.
The 18-year-old from Surrey, a 5/8 seed, will now take on Nathan Lake, the top seed from Cheltenham, also 18, who marked his fourth straight games win in the event by defeating Zbynek Standera, from the Czech Republic, 11-5, 11-2, 11-4.
The other semi-final will feature Declan James and James Earles. Second seed James, a 17-year-old from Nottinghamshire, beat county colleague Oliver Holland 11-9, 11-6, 11-5, while 3/4 seed Earles, from Hull, despatched Spaniard Hugo Varela 11-7, 11-1, 11-1.
An English double is on the cards - though firm favourite Emily Whitlock is the lone English player in the last four of the women's championship.
English Junior National champion Whitlock, who is expected to become the third successive English winner of the women's title, defeated Welsh opponent Hannah Jane Davies 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 - and will now face surprise opponent Elvira Bedjai, a 16-year-old from France who beat fellow 9/16 seed Victoria Temple-Murray 11-8, 11-9, 12-10.
News reported by Howard Harding at SquashInfo.com