Naughton rallies in Canada’s strong squash start

squash_logoThe Canadian girls team got off to a strong start Monday at the 2013 World Squash Junior Championship in Wroclaw, Poland, sweeping the Czech Republic in the opening match of the round robin. The Canadian trio of Hollie Naughton (Oakville), Alyssa Mehta, and Sophie Mehta each won their singles match to give Canada the 3-0 victory.

Naughton, Canada’s current junior champion, got things started by defeating Czech number one Karolina Holinkova. Naughton, who has been fighting an ankle injury at the championships, dropped the first game 8-11, before rallying to win the next three games and the match 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5.

Alyssa Mehta, the under 17 Canadian champion, continued the run for Canada by taking out Kristyna Alexova in three tightly contested game, 11-9, 11-7 11-8. Sophie Mehta, Alyssa’s younger sister, and just 15 years old, was able to complete the sweep for Canada with an impressive straight games victory over Barbora Krejcova, recording the identical score line as her sister, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.

Chloe Chemtob, Team Canada’s fourth member, had the day off after an impressive run to the consolation plate title of the singles competition.

The victory gets the 7th seeded Canadian team off to a strong start in pool B round robin play. Canada has been placed in a pool with the Czech Republic, France, and the No. 2 seeded Americans, and as only the top two teams from each pool advance to the medal round, a victory over the Czechs was crucial to Canada’s tournament hopes.

Canada’s next match is against the United States.

The World Squash Junior Championship is an annual competition contested by the top under 19 squash players in the world. Competitions are conducted in three categories: girls, boys and teams. The team competition alternates every year between girls and boys with 2013 featuring the girls’ team event. The 2013 team competition features squads from 16 countries grouped into four pools of four. For each fixture, competing countries select three team members to compete in a best of three singles format against the opposition. The top two teams from each pool advance to the quarterfinals where a standard playoff elimination format is used.