Team USA defeated Mexico and the Czech Republic in their first two matches

By Doug Ingels | Nov. 08, 2018, 4:28 p.m. (ET)

Team USA defeated Mexico and the Czech Republic in their first two matches after group play at the Li-Ning BWF World Junior Championships 2018 in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

The mixed team event consists of one match for each event (MS, WS, MD, WD, XD), with one point for each event. USA finished third in Group G, behind Denmark and Singapore, placing the US in the 17th to 24th bracket. 

The US will take on Canada in the finals of the 17-24 bracket on Friday at 12 pm local time. 

USA 3 – Mexico 2

On Wednesday night against Mexico, the United States came from behind to win, 3-2. 

Mexico won the men’s singles point, but the US tied the match, 1-1, when American Esther Shi defeated Jessica Jazmin Bautista Trigueros, 21-15, 15-21, 21-16, in women’s singles. Mexico went on to win the men’s doubles match, 16-21, 19-21, to go ahead, 2-1. 

With their backs against the wall, the US needed wins in women’s and mixed doubles to win the match. Mirabelle Huang and Sanchita Pandey took care of business in women’s doubles, 21-8, 21-7, winning in just 24 minutes to tie the match at 2-2.

Then the US coaches called up Huang and Winston Tsai for the mixed doubles match. The American duo won the opening game, 21-14, but lost a tight game two, 18-21. In the final game of the match, Huang and Tsai won 21-13 to defeat Mexico and advance to the semifinals of the bracket.

USA 3 – Czech Republic 0

Thursday, in the semifinals against the Czech Republic, the United States earned a quick 3-0 win. 

In men’s singles, Bryce Kan defeated Jan Janostik, 19-21, 21-16, 21-9, to earn the US its first point. Kan trailed by as many as seven in the opening game, but rallied late and lost game one by just two points. Kan used the momentum from that first game to control the second game and dominate the third game, winning the final game handily, 21-9.

Pandey represented the US in women’s singles against the Czech. The American won a hard fought match, 21-17, 21-17, against Katerina Zuzakova to earn the women’s singles point. Pandey controlled the first game and led for nearly the entire game. In game two, again Pandey seemed to be in control, only to have Zuzakova rally late. The Czech battled back and tied the match at 17-17 before Pandey scored the final four points for the win. 

“[At the end of the match] I just focused on my own game,” said Pandey. “I was thinking, ‘OK, if I play my game, I’ll be able to get the points.’” 

“I try not to think about the score really - I just play one point, play my game,” added Pandey.

In the final match, Tsai teamed up with Ryan Zheng for the men’s double point by defeating Jiri Kral and Vit Kulisek, 21-16, 21-11.

The American duo battled through errors in the opening game to pick up the win, but seemed to be on cruise control in the second game to clinch the US victory.

“In the first game, we were too a little too nervous,” said Tsai. “We played too fast and made a lot of mistakes. But then in the second game, we got used to it – their style, the bird, the court, the gym, so we came through in the second game.”