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Leonel Cardenas

QSF 3 Preview: Cardenas Focussing On Maintaining Ranking

The final event of the week on the Challenger Tour this week will be the QSF 3, which will take place from Friday, May 20 to Tuesday, May 24 at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha.

The Challenger 20 level tournament will feature a 24-strong field, the majority of which will be inside the top 100 of the World Rankings. Egypt’s Karim El Hammamy will be the top seed for the competition, with Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas and home favourite Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi as the nearest contenders for the crown.

Egypt’s Yahya Elnawasany and Mazen Gamal, along with Pakistani Muhammad Asim Khan, Portuguese No.1 Rui Soares and Malaysia’s Mohammad Syafiq Kamal, make up the rest of the top eight seeds for the tournament.

There will be four Qataris in action in total, with Syed Azlan Amjad and the wildcard duo of Ahmad Mohammad Altamimi and Waleed Zaman will all feature at the Challenger 20 level tournament.

We spoke to Cardenas prior to the tournament getting underway, with the Mexican having just come off the back of a first match-up with World No.2 Ali Farag, along with beating former World No.1 James Willstrop at the Manchester Open last month.

“[It was a] great experience for me, it’s the highest ranked player I have ever played and I think this match will help me learn a lot,” the Mexican explained.

“I take as much experience as possible from this match [against Farag]. The glass court was a bit different for me since it is outdoors and it was very windy but in the end I enjoyed playing there.

“It felt good to give that performance [in Manchester] against a player like James Willstrop. I was training hard and it helped me a lot to arrive well prepared for that match.”

Cardenas currently occupies the World No.37 spot in the rankings, his highest ever position, and although he is happy with where he has got to, he knows that he still has to work hard to maintain that spot in the rankings.

“I am happy with my ranking and I hope to be able to improve it in these last tournaments that I will play this season,” he said.

“It has been difficult for me to arrive at this World Rankings and I know that in order to maintain it and improve it, I must continue to focus and work even more.” 

The event takes place from Friday, May 20 to Tuesday, May 24 at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

First Round Draw: QSF 3
[1] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) – [Bye]
[WC] Ahmad Mohammad Altamimi (QAT) v [9/16] Addeen Idrakie (MAS)
[9/16] Darren Rahul Pragasam (MAS) v Leandro Romiglio (ARG)
[5] Muhammad Asim Khan (PAK) – [Bye]
[8] Mohammad Syafiq Kamal (MAS) – [Bye]
[WC] Waleed Zaman (QAT) v [9/16] Emyr Evans (WAL)
[9/16] Charlie Lee (ENG) v Khaled Labib (EGY)
[3] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) – [Bye]
[4] Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) – [Bye]
Noor Zaman (QAT) v [9/16] Syed Azlan Amjad (QAT)
[9/16] Robert Downer (ENG) v Miles Jenkins (ENG)
[7] Mazen Gamal (EGY) – [Bye]
[8] Rui Soares (POR) – [Bye]
Reserve v [9/16] Juan Camilo Vargas (COL)
[9/16] Balazs Farkas (HUN) v Alireza Shameli (IRI)
[2] Leonel Cardenas (MEX) – [Bye]

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