After a two-week break following the Airport Squash and Fitness Challenger, held in Berlin, the PSA Challenger Tour returns this week with six events taking place across five countries, and three continents.
The events range from Challenger 20 to Challenger 5, with the week beginning in Odense on Tuesday. Action takes place in Seattle, Edinburgh, Philadelphia and Jaipur, along with the Savcor Finnish Open taking place in Mikkeli.
Starting with the Odense Open, a men’s Challenger 5 event, which is now in its second year, and it takes place from Tuesday 28-Saturday 1.
Last year, Frenchman Benjamin Aubert upset home favourite, and No.1 seed, Kristian Frost in a final which lasted more than an hour and a half.
This time round, Frost is the No.1 seed again, and he will be aiming to win on home soil, to claim the 17th title of his professional career. The likes of Jan Van Den Herrewegen, Farkas Balazs and English junior Sam Todd will be hoping to cause a shock.
The first of two events taking place in the Untied States this week is the Seattle Open, a women’s Challenger 10 tournament, which will be contested between Wednesday 29-Saturday 1.
The No.1 seed for the tournament is Canada’s Danielle Letourneau, who featured in the last women’s tournament to take place in Seattle, the Samson Seattle Open, almost four years ago.
Edinburgh Sports Club Open
The 2020 Edinburgh Sports Club Open is the biggest event taking place this week on the Challenger Tour, with four of the World’s top 50 taking part in the women’s tournament in Scotland from Wednesday 29-Sunday 2.
The English duo of Emily Whitlock and Julianne Courtice are seeded to meet in the final, but Scotland’s No.1 Lisa Aitken is the No.3 seed, and will be vying to win on home soil.
Along with Aitken, there are six other Scots in the field, with World No.73 Alison Thomson the No.8 seed. Georgia Adderley, Katriona Allen, Elspeth Young, Jessica Shaw, Lucy Murchie and Carrie Hallam will also be looking to impress.
Savcor Finnish Open
The second event to be held between Wednesday 29-Sunday 2 is the Savcor Finnish Open, a tournament which has traditionally been a men’s event, but this year is a women’s Challenger 10.
Milou van der Heijden is the top seed for the tournament, with Finland’s Emilia Soini seeded to reach the semi-finals on home soil, but she will be looking to improve on that seeding in front of a home crowd.
E.M. Noll Classic
The second event to be held in the States will feature both a men’s and women’s Challenger 10 event, the E.M. Noll Classic. Last year’s edition was also a qualifier for the World Championships in Chicago, with Menna Nasser and Ramit Tandon booking their places.
This year, the women’s field is headed by a trio of Americans looking to do well on home soil. Olivia Fiechter and Haley Mendez are seeded to meet in the final, with junior Marina Stefanoni being the No.3 seed.
US No.1 Todd Harrity will be the No.2 seed in the men’s draw, and he will be aiming to reach the final, where he is expected to face Youssef Ibrahim. Faraz Khan and Spencer Yager, an 18-year-old junior, will also look to impress on home soil.
HCL SRFI Indian Tour – Jaipur Leg
The final event of the week is the Jaipur Leg of the HCL SRFI Indian Tour, which takes place from Thursday 30-Sunday 2, and features both a men’s Challenger 5 and a women’s Challenger 10 tournament.
Tsz-Wing Tong will lead the women’s draw, with 20-year-old Sunayna Kuruvilla the leading Indian in the field. She will be the No.4 seed, but will look to go further than an expected semi-final on home soil.
The 32-strong men’s field consists entirely of Asian and Egyptian players, with Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu being the top seed for the event, in what will be just his third tournament back since returning from injury.
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Challenger Tour Schedule: Monday, January 27-Sunday, February 2
Odense Open: Tuesday 28 – Saturday 1
Seattle Open: Wednesday 29 – Saturday 1
Edinburgh Sports Club Open: Wednesday 29 – Sunday 2
Savcor Finnish Open: Wednesday 29 – Sunday 2
E.M. Noll Classic: Thursday 30 – Sunday 2
HCL SRFI Indian Tour – Jaipur Leg: Thursday 30 – Sunday 2