Duo delight home crowd at Czech Junior Open
Karolina Sramkova and Max Pelikan were popular home winners of last weekend's Czech Junior Open at the Hector Sports Centre in Prague.
The Gold event attracted over 270 entries from 25 countries including players from Australia, South Africa and Jordan.
Sramkova's victory in the girls' U19 was something of a surprise as it was the 16-year-old's first ESF tournament playing in the top age category.
The 5/8 seed did it the hard way - beating 3/4 seed Rose Lucas-Marcuzzo of France in the quarter-finals, top seed Milena Velychko of Ukraine in the semis and Belgium's 3/4 seed Chloe Crabbe in the final.
Pelikan (pictured above) was top seed in the boys' U13 and came into the event having won ESF circuit titles in Croatia, Denmark and Poland already this season.
He cruised through the draw without dropping a game, beating Poland's second seed Kacper Stachowiak in Sunday's final.
Czech Republic came extremely close to winning both U19 trophies, as 3/4 seed Martin Stepan and Poland's top seed Leon Krysiak's final went deep into a fifth game before ending abruptly.
Stepan - ESF-ranked sixth - had battled back to parity after losing the first two games. In the fifth, at 9-7 up, Stepan ran into the back of Krysiak and injured the Polish player's calf. The referee awarded a no let and a conduct stroke for unnecessarily physical play, making the score 9-9. Krysiak's injury was adjudged to be opponent-inflicted, so when he could not continue after the 15-minute injury break, the match was awarded to the Polish player.
Israel's Elad Robenshtok took the boys' U17 title by overcoming Poland's Szymon Lohmann in straight games - going one better than his runner-up appearances at the HEAD Danish Junior Open and Austrian Open earlier last year.
In the U17 girls draw, Switzerland's Maja Maziuk dropped her only game of the tournament in beating England's Reka Kemecsei 13-11 3-11 11-7 11-8.
France's top seed Ethan Lecordier had to dig very deep to get through his boys' U15 semi-final with Republic of Ireland's Christian Dromgoole, hitting back from 2/1 down to win the fifth 13-11. In the final, he dropped the first game but once again showed resilience to beat Spain's Lucas Castillo in four.
Ameerah Ismail of England won the girls' U15 by beating three Czech players along the way, including second seed Anna Zelenkova in the final 11-8 11-7 11-8.
Poland's second seed Anna Jakubiec was victor in the girls' U13, while in the U11s the boys' winner was Andrey Hutsailiuk from Ukraine, with Saoirse Boulanger of France taking the boys' trophy.
Full results from the 2024 ESF Czech Junior Open here
Watching video replays of the finals on YouTube
Check out all tournament images from SquashPage.net