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Slater competes well against world’s best

Slater competes well against world’s best

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Top junior squash player Shane Slater has returned from a competitive series of international tournaments where he competed against some of the world’s best players. {{more}}

In the Canadian Junior Open (Dec 9-12), the 16-year old made the semi-finals of the Bronze draw after being edged out by Rafik Bhaloo (USA) and going down to Trinidadian Josh Pinard in the Gold and Silver Draws respectively. He then advanced to the Bronze semi-finals with a walkover against Columbia’s Nicolas Acosta and a 3-1 win over Australian Brett Pickup.

In the semi-final match, Slater struggled with the cold court conditions, losing in straight games to the eventual Bronze draw winner – James Stobie (CAN).

Slater was one of 106 competitors in the Boys’ Under-17 division of the United States Junior Open (Dec 17-20). In the Round of 64, he battled to a thrilling 1/9, 9/0, 8/10, 9/2, 10/9 win over Canada’s Iain Redford, advancing by a mere point. In the Round of 32, he faced off against world-ranked American Christopher Callis, losing 0/9, 2/9, 5/9.

His US Open campaign ended after he went down to former US National Junior Champion Christopher Ehlinger 1/9, 2/9, 2/9.

Slater then headed for the United Kingdom to compete in the Scottish from December 27-30 and British Junior Opens from January 2-6.

In the Scottish, Slater was dominated in the first round against the US no. 2 player Travis Judson, losing 0/9, 0/9, 2/9. He was then relegated to the B draw, where he lost a 9/7, 8/10, 4/9, 5/9 heartbreaker to Englishman Lewis Davies-Smith.

Though edged out by American Christopher Vernick, losing by a narrow 6/9, 8/10, 7/9 margin, Slater put himself back on the winners list, as he cruised past Ireland’s Neil Campbell 10/8, 9/0, 9/6. In his final match, he was given the hard task of playing the no. 9 seed Peter Halliday (Scotland), losing 3/9, 5/9, 4/9 in a commendable performance.

On the last leg of the tour, Slater competed alongside the world’s elite junior players at the prestigious British Junior Open. In his qualifying match, he was subdued by namesake John Slater of England, losing 0/9, 4/9, 1/9 to enter the “Lower Section”.

The first round saw Slater survive another epic battle, fighting his way to a 9/5, 7/9, 2/9, 9/6, 9/4 triumph over local player Neil Hornby. But he was once again edged out at crucial stages in his final match of the tour, losing 6/9, 7/9, 9/1, 3/9 to another Englishman Edward Charlton.

The youngster now awaits the release of the latest World Boys Under-17 rankings list, after his appearances in the Scottish and British Junior Opens.

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