US concludes play at World Junior Team Championships

Nov. 09, 2018, 10:26 p.m. (ET)

World Junior Championships

The United States finished in 18th place at the 2018 Li-Ning BWF World Junior Mixed Team Championships, played at the Markham Pan Am Centre in Markham, Ontario, Canada. The 18th place finish marks the second-best finish for the United States in the history of the event, behind just the 2016 team that finished 14th.

The championships started with group play, placing the US in a group with Denmark, Singapore and Guyana. 

The US defeated Guyana, 5-0, in their opening match on Monday, November 5. The next day, the Americans didn’t fare as well in losses to Denmark, 4-1, and Singapore, 5-0, resulting in a third-place finish in the group. Finishing third placed the US in the draw for 17th to 24th place, along with Germany, Canada, Peru, Brazil, Faroe Islands, Czech Republic and Mexico.

The United States first match out of group play was in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, November 8, against Mexico. The US came from behind to defeat Mexico, 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.

Following the emotional win against Mexico, on 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. 

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 finals against Canada on Friday, November 9, the US fell 3-1. 

The match opened with Canada earning the mixed doubles point. The US responded by winning the men’s singles point. Kan defeated Canadian Kevin Wang in the best match of the day. Kan won the opening game 21-14, but fell in the second game, 10-21. In the third game, both players were exhausted but kept battling. Kan eventually outlasted Wang, 21-17, and earned the point. 

Canada went on to win the women’s single point and a very tightly contested men’s doubles point to win the match.

The Li-Ning BWF World Junior Championships will continue on Monday, November 12 with the start of the individual events. 


**It was originally stated in this article that the 18th place finish was the best in team history. That fact was proven incorrect and has been changed. The 2016 USA team finished 14th at the BWF Junior World Championships.