Krajewski and Simon Advance at 4 Nations
Jayci Simon and Miles Krajewski beat the 2-seed from Peru in SH6 Mixed Doubles to advance to the quarterfinals at the 2023 edition of the 4 Nations Parabadminton International in Sheffield, England.
This was their fourth time in the past nine months playing the duo of Giuliana Poveda Flores and Nilton Quispe Ignacio, who are also the top-ranked pair in the Pan Am region.
With Krajewski entering his senior year in high school living in South Dakota, and Simon, who graduated from high school this past June, living in Michigan, they have had very few opportunities to practice together since the beginning of the 2024 Paris qualifying period in January. That limited time together was clear in the Canada Level 1 tournament in June. In a lopsided 21-8, 21-14 loss to the same Peruvian pair in the quarterfinals, Simon and Krajewski had difficulty getting in sync together.
With summer arriving, the pair was able to spend a week and a half together with Krajewski’s coach, Moss Lattison, in Omaha (Nebraska) in July.
“The practice time together definitely helped us,” Krajewski said. “Prior to that, we only had one weekend of practice together in late January, so being able to spend over a week training specifically on mixed doubles was really valuable.”
The results of that training time together have been evident this week. They battled a very tough and experienced Thailand pair to 3 games in their first group match before losing 21-17, 17-21, 21-13 on Day 1.
The loss set up the win-or-go-home match against Peru on Wednesday.
“We went into the match knowing it was going to be a tough one because they are the top-ranked pair in the Pan Am region and we didn’t play as well as we should have against them in Canada,” Krajewski stated.
“Our strategy was really just to communicate and place it rather than just use power,” added Simon.
The first game found the USA pair trailing 11-9 at the first interval. Taking the break to regroup, Simon and Krajewski returned to the court focused and confident. After giving up the 12th point right away, they forced a Peru error and then won a 25-shot rally to pull within 12-11.
They proceeded to win the next three points to go ahead 14-12, but Peru was able to pull even again at 16-all. The USA pair refused to yield, though, running off four straight points to go up 20-16 and they ultimately won the game 21-17.
The second game gave a glimpse of the potential of these two young players as Krajewski and Simon continued their momentum. They took an 11-5 lead into the interval and didn’t look back, giving up just two more points the rest of the way and winning 21-7.
With the win, the pair guaranteed themselves a spot in the quarterfinals, where they will meet the 3-seed from England. Match time is set for 9:35 am local time and can be seen on the Badminton YouTube channel.
In other Day 2 action, Krajewski played his last group match against Jack Shephard from England. Playing in front of friends and family on his home court, Shephard played nearly flawlessly and came out on top 21-11, 21-15. The final score wasn’t reflective of the intensity of the match, which wowed spectators in person and those watching online.
Combined with a Day 1 group win against Peru, the loss moved Krajewski to 1-1 but allowed him to advance to the knockout stage, where he will play top-seeded Man Kai Chu from Hong Kong China at 2:50 pm on Friday afternoon.
Finally, in women’s doubles (SH6) Jayci Simon and her partner Yasmina Eissa (Egypt) went 1-1 on the day, moving them to 2-1 in the table and looking to finish with a silver medal with a win against Chinese Teipei on Saturday.
All matches will be live-streamed on the Badminton England YouTube channel.
Match results and schedules can be found on Tournament Software