Top Three Finishes for Stefanoni and Fouts Cap Off Successful British Junior Open

Marina Stefanoni (l) and Caroline Fouts

Marina Stefanoni and Caroline Fouts ended their Dunlop British Junior Open campaigns on a high note with third place finishes as Team USA celebrated another successful tournament across the pond Monday, January 6, at the University of Birmingham in England.

2020 marked the sixth annual Team USA trip to the BJO with fifty-three top-ranked U.S. players competing against the world’s best in ten divisions: boys’ and girls’ U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. stole the headlines after the first two days of play by producing numerous upsets and five surprise quarterfinalists. Overall, sixteen Americans exceeded their seeding–the most of any country in the tournament–and twenty-six players fulfilled their seeding. In addition to the seven American quarterfinalists, seventeen players reached the last sixteen and twenty-one reached the round of thirty-two.

By the end of the five-day tournament, it was Stefanoni and Fouts who placed highest for Team USA. Stefanoni, who became the first American BJO champion since 2007 last year by winning the GU17 title, moved up the U19’s this year and entered the draw as a 3/4 seed. The recent U.S. Junior Open champion lost a close three-game semifinal against Egypt’s top seed and eventual champion, Jana Shiha, and entered the 3/4 playoff on the final day of match play. Stefanoni secured third place with a five-game win against fellow seventeen-year-old and 3/4 seed Farida Mohamed.

In the GU15 division, Fouts completed the best performance of her junior career so far. After exceeding her 5/8 seeding with a quarterfinal upset over a 3/4 seed, Fouts lost a close four game semifinal to move on to the 3/4 playoff. Fouts clinched third place with a decisive three game win. The GU15 division produced other standout performances for Team USA with two additional top eight finishes. Caroline Eielson, a 9/16 seed, placed sixth and Emma Trauber, a 17/32 seed, placed seventh.

In the BU19 5/8 playoff, U.S. junior champion Thomas Rosini pulled off an upset over Indian 5/8 seed Yash Fadte on his way to recording a career best sixth place finish. U.S. teammates Dillon Huang, Nicholas Spizzirri and Brian Leonard all recorded career best finishes of twelve, fourteen and sixteen, respectively.

Team USA’s two other top eight finishes came in the GU11 division where both Kaitlyn Vahlsing and Layla Gupta exceeded seedings. Gupta, who entered unseeded, defeated 9/16-seeded Vahlsing in a five-game 7/8th place playoff.

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