Pamela Reyes overcame both the odds and a string of higher-ranked opponents to get her hands on the U19 English National Championship title after a thrilling weekend in Milton Keynes.
Just one top seed prevailed across the five disciplines as surprises were aplenty throughout the three-day event, culminating in a final day bursting with impressive performances.
That was no more evident than from the racquet of Reyes, defying her third/fourth seed status to capture a superb victory – one of her two medals in the competition.
First came a semi-final against tournament favourite Grace King, a match-up between two players who had thus far shared their head-to-head record.
Their close competition was on display once again as they shared two tight games before Reyes held her nerve, winning the 44-minute thriller 19-21 21-18 21-14.
But she wasn’t done there, clearly confident from her excellent last-four victory to overcome second seed Freya Patel-Redfearn in straight games 21-14 21-13 to lift the trophy, dropping just one game in five matches.
That completed what was an impressive weekend for Reyes, also securing a share of third in the women’s doubles with partner Sian Kelly.
Victory instead went to King and Hope Warner, the only top seeds to prevail across the entire weekend in Milton Keynes.
They weren’t to have things all their own way but did just enough to hold off Patel-Redfearn and Molly Chapman 21-16 21-17 in the final.
Warner wasn’t able to complete the perfect day however, as she and Rory Easton were the victims of a surprise loss to William Jones and Asmita Chaudhari in the mixed doubles.
In fitting fashion it was to go all the way before Jones and Chaudhari held on against the European Mixed U17 champions, victorious 21-17 12-21 21-15.
That completed what was a superb doubles double for Jones after earlier joining forces with James Penver in winning fashion.
The absence of the top seeds made their progression slightly easier but you could take nothing away from the pair as they battled valiantly past James Lin and Brandon Yap 23-21 13-21 21-18, in the final.
Easton, meanwhile, was not to be denied his share of the top prizes as he claimed victory in the men’s singles in the first final of the day.
Second seed Easton had expected to be there but he came up against third/fourth favourite Yap in the final, after Zach Russ – who had been billed as pre-competition pick – lost in the second round in three games to Luke Donegan.
But after fighting to get past Harry Huang, Easton ensured he wasn’t the second victim of a singles surprise in his 21-18 21-13 win, dropping just one game in 11 in the competition.
Pictures: Action Photography
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