This past weekend featured the 2023 Mexican Junior National tournament in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The results of these events determine the national team members that will represent their country at the upcoming World Juniors in Bolivia in Late November. Here’s a quick recap of the qualifiers and some commentary.
Mexican Junior tournament and qualification goes as follows: the entrants play a double elimination draw; the winner of the winner’s bracket is the champion and Junior National titlist, while the winner of the loser’s bracket is the 2nd player to join the delegation. This consolation bracket champ often is not the winner’s bracket finalist, and the format gives players hope of getting back on the team even with an early loss. Mexico does not play any doubles; the singles qualifiers will form the doubles teams at Worlds.
R2 site for Mexican Jr Nationals: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=41515
Congrats to the following Boys singles finalists for team Mexico:
(click here https://rball.pro/olf for a Matrix of all Mexican boy’s titlists loaded into the database currently, dating to 2012)
– Boys 21U: Diego Gastelum & Elias Nieto
– Boys 18U: Jorge Gutierrez & Luis Renteria
– Boys 16U: Sebastian Ruelas & Eder Renteria
– Boys 14U: Brian Axel Sanchez & Emilio Jurardo
– Boys 12U: Elias Medrano & Elias Garcia
– Boys 10U: Max Soto & Hermann Gracia
– Boys 8U: Isaac Soto & Mateo Zaala
– Boys 6Umb: Jose Maria De Alba & Enrique Rivera
Commentary on the older divisions:
The Mexico U21 division is stacked right now, and has several names that you should know about. IRT fans know the name Erick Trujillo , who tours regularly and was the 2021 18U Mexican Junior national champ, but Trujillo did not win this draw. He was beaten in the winner’s bracket final by Gastelum in 3, then lost to Nieto to miss out on the Jr. worlds team. Nieto took out last year’s 18U champ Sebastian Hernandez and IRT regular Erick Cuevas before falling to Trujillo in the winner’s bracket semis … but avenged the loss in the consolation final to qualify.
None of these players was the #1 seed/defending champion Jose Ramos (aka “Pepe”), who fell in the semis to Gastelum, then was topped by Nieto in the consolation semis. Nieto, in case you forgot, beat Murray at the Parc 2022, then went to World Singles & Doubles a few months ago and beat Castro, Sam Bredenbeck and Alan Natera before falling to Montoya in a tie-breaker. But none of these guys could touch Gastelum in this event (Gastelum also was in Denver; he was the guy who nearly took a game off of Jake before falling 14,4).
As good as the U21 players are, the 18U champ may be even better. Jorge Gutierrez (playing in his age 17 season) is the 2-time defending Mexico and Junior world 16U champ, and moved on up to 18U with no issues. He also has h2h wins over both Gastelum and Trujillo in amateur events recently. He’s only got one IRT appearance when he was 15; we hope to see more of him.
In the 16U, the last two champions of the 14U (Sebastian Ruelas in 2022 and Eder Renteria in 2021) faced off in the winner’s bracket final, with Ruelas winning. Renteria then took the consolation bracket to qualify and guarantee that both he and his older brother Luis were heading to Bolivia.
In the 14U, last year’s 12U finalist Brian Axel Sanchez moved up and took his first Junior National title, topping fellow newcomer Emilio Jurardo in the final.
Congrats to the following Girls Singles finalists for team Mexico:
(click here: https://rball.pro/qcm for a Matrix of all Mexican Girls’s titlists loaded into the database currently, dating to 2012)
– Girls 21U: Maria Gutierrez & Leonela Osorio
– Girls 18U: Cynthia Gutierrez & Ivanna Balderama
– Girls 16U: Mariafernanda Trujilo & Yanna Salazar
– Girls 14U: Lilia (Lily) Farias & Danna Portillo
– Girls 12U: Michelle Gomez & Grissel Gómez Rubio
– Girls 10U: Maria Jose Jurado & Lia Montserrat Gonzalez
Commentary on the older divisions:
21U’s Maria Gutierrez repeated as 21U Mexican champ with a 5-game win over Osorio. Gutierrez made the finals of JrWorlds 21U last December, losing to Barrios, but she’s never made an appearance on the LPRT.
18U’s Cynthia Gutierrez, Ivanna Balderrama, and last year’s 18U champ Angela Veronica Ortega all finished the RR stage 3-1, with no h2h winner, so the draw came down to points, with Gutierrez finishing atop the standings for her first Junior title. Balderrama (the 2019 14U champ) finished second, leaving Ortega on the outside looking in. Of these three, only Ortega has even played an LPRT event, losing in the opening round of the 2022 US Open.
In 16U, defending champ Yanna Salazar was upset in the final by 2021 14U champ Mariafernanda Trujillo, moving up to compete in 16U for the first time. This is Trujillo’s 4th junior national title.
in 14U, Lily Farias won her second junior national title by topping the 7-person bracket.
Congrats to all the Mexican Junior National title winners for 2023, and congrats to the National team qualifiers as well.
Congrats to Favio Soto for another successful Mexican national tournament.