Bryant is Europe's hope for BJO glory

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Bryant is Europe's hope for BJO glory

England's Jonah Bryant carries European hopes on his shoulders into finals day at the British Junior Open after his boys' Under-19 semi-final victory over Switzerland's David Bernet.

Bryant won 11-3, 11-7, 12-10 to set up a final clash with top seed Mohamed Zakaria on Sunday. The Egyptian maintained his record of not dropping a game so far as he comfortably beat France's Melvil Scianimanico in the other semi.

"It would be massive to win this title," said 18-year-old Bryant. "I won the U13 trophy six years ago and I remember watching Marwan Tarek win the U19 title that day. The U19 is really the one you want to win. It would definitely be the biggest title of my junior career."

On his semi-final win, Bryant - last year's runner-up - said: "I'm happy that I got through that match in three as it's crucial to conserve as much energy as you can. It wasn't my absolute best squash but I played the big points well. I made a few more errors and rash decisions in the third and misjudged a few bounces, but I managed to steady myself towards the end."

Scianimanico (pictured above) was less happy with his performance against Zakaria. "That was not me out there," said the ESF ranked No.3. "Me and my coaches will watch the video and analyse. I will keep working hard."

Another European representative in Saturday's semi-finals was France's 3/4 seed Lauren Baltayan who performed brilliantly for two and a half games in the girls' U17 before falling to Egypt's Nadien Elhammamy.

A disappointed Baltayan said: "I feel like I lost a very big opportunity. To be in the semi-final of the British Open is not something that happens every day. I was already thinking about the victory and how I was going to feel after I won. I will try not to do that again."

The 16-year-old, who became the youngest European ever to win a PSA Tour title last year, was very pumped up from the start of the match and went two games up against her tall opponent.

She was then 7-2 up in the third game, before ElHammamy fought back to take it 11-9. The fourth then slipped quickly through the Frenchwoman's fingers after a very lengthy rally - in which she dived to the floor twice - sucked her energy.

The fifth was incredibly tense but Elhammamy ultimately sealed a comeback victory 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9. In Sunday's final, she will face India's top seed and national senior champion Anahat Singh who took care of Egypt's Barb Semeh in straight games.

Egypt dominated the other age categories although USA's second seed Caroline Fouts (pictured below) produced a classy display to beat Nour Khafagy in three to set up a girls' U19 final with top seed Fayrouz Abouelkeir.

Youssef Salem and Marwan Asal (brother of former world No.1 Mostafa) will contest the boys' U17 final after both won semi-finals against Egyptian compatriots.

Abdullah Ali of Kuwait broke the Egyptian stronghold in the boys' U15 by toppling Farou Mohamed in a five-game classic. In doing so he became the first ever Kuwaiti to reach a British Junior Open final. There, he will play top seed Philopater Saleh in Sunday's final. Two Egyptians, Malika El Karaksy and Rama El Naggar will meet in the girls' U15 final.

The top two seeds, Malek Helmy and Omar Mohamed, made it another all-Egyptian final in the boys' U13. There was a surprise defeat for USA's top seed Vivienne Sze in the girls' U13 semis as Egypt's 3/4 seed Reem Elmaghraby won in four to set up a final against her compatriot Layan Moustafa.

The top seed in the girls' U11 also fell short of the final as USA's Kaylee Li was beaten by Fayrouz Elsayad of Egypt. Serein Mohamed lies in wait in the final. In the boys' final, Yahia Waleed Rayan will take on Adam Ragab in another all-Egyptian affair.

Watch live streaming on British Junior Open finals day from the all-glass court at the University of Birmingham Sport at and on SQUASHTV

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