Skip to content

Inaugural Helsinki Winter Challenger Gets Under Way


The Suez Helsinki Winter Challenger, PSA M5 event makes its debut on the PSA World Tour on Friday January 22 with the main draw getting off to an exciting start as a talented field looks set for some spectacular showdowns.

Following on from 2015’s successful Suez Helsinki Summer Challenger, the Winter Challenger sees Egypt’s Shehab Essam named the number one seed as he looks to lift his maiden PSA World Tour title.

The 20-year-old, who is spending his third cumulative month inside the world’s top 100, has a solitary PSA World Tour final appearance to his name which came in October 2014. However, as the top seed, the onus will be on Essam to battle for the title in Helsinki to break his PSA World Tour title duck.

Essam will face off against Jami Äijänen in round one as he looks to progress to the quarter-final stage of a PSA World Tour event for the first time since October.

Austria’s Aqeel Rehman, on the other hand, does have a wealth of title-winning experience with four PSA World Tour crowns to his name. A 16-month barren spell has seen him drop out of the world’s top 100 though and he will be eager to bring an end to that drought this time around.

Rehman goes head-to-head with South Africa’s Tristan Eysele in the opening round as he looks to get his title challenge off to a good start.

World No.110 Geoffrey Demont is also without a PSA World Tour title since 2014 but did achieve a runner-up finish at the Goodlife Open towards the end of last year which helped move him closer to a place inside the world’s top 100.

Demont will need to get past Roshan Bharos to reach the quarter-final and is seeded to meet Essam in the last four if both players make it that far.

Australia’s Matthew Hopkin has had some mixed form in recent months but could successfully claim a third PSA World Tour title if he plays to his full potential in Helsinki. The 24-year-old reached the final of the LOC Charing Cross Classic in October of last year but followed that up with three consecutive first round defeats. He will aim to end that run against Kale Wilson in the first round.

Main Draw: PSA M5, Suez Helsinki Winter Challenger, Helsinki, Finland
[1] Shehab Essam (EGY) v [Q] Jami Äijänen (FIN)
Miko Äijänen (FIN) v [8] Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
[5] Joshua Masters (ENG) v [Q] Julian Tomlinson (ENG)
[Q] Roshan Bharos (NED) v [3] Geoffrey Demont (FRA)
[4] Matthew Hopkin (AUS) v Kale Wilson (TRI)
[Q] Bradley Masters (ENG) v [7] Asim Khan (PAK)
[6] Ashley Davies (ENG) v [WC] Kristian Rautiainen (FIN)
Tristan Eysele (RSA) v [2] Aqeel Rehman (AUT)

Join SQUASHTV and get closer to the PSA World Tour