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Top seed Raphael Kandra in action in Prague

Prague Day One RoundUp: Solnicky and Rapp Gatecrash Quarters

Home hope Jakub Solnicky and Germany’s Valentin Rapp both provided the upsets on day one of the Expression Networks Nolan and Liam’s Tournament taking place in Prague, Czech Republic.

The PSA Challenger event is the first professional squash event to take place following the six-month suspension of the PSA Tour due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

World No.150 Solnicky caused the biggest upset of the day as he took out compatriot and World No.101 Martin Svec to book his place in the last eight.

The two players are familiar with each other’s games having played each other since juniors, however, despite being the lower ranked player it was Solnicky who produced a more focused performance to take an 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 victory. He will receive a walkover into the semi-finals after Colombia’s No.3 seed Juan Camilo Vargas picked up an injury in his win over Spain’s Marc Lopez.

The other shock of round one came courtesy of Germany’s Rapp, who took out No.8 seed Ondrej Uherka in just 32 minutes and the World No.141 will now take on No.2 seed Daniel Mekbib after he held off a comeback from Czech Republic’s Marek Panacek to progress through to the last eight.

Top seed Raphael Kandra meanwhile got his tournament off to a winning start with a 11-2, 11-9, 11-7 victory over Viktor Bytrus to set up a quarter final clash with Austria’s Aqeel Rehman after he defeated David Zeman after coming from 2-1 down in a thrilling five-game encounter that lasted 70 minutes.

Former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier also started his first tournament since February’s Windy City Open strongly as he despatched Germany’s Tobias Weggen in straight games.

Gaultier will now take on Yannik Omlor from Germany for a place in the semi-finals after he took out wildcard Heiko Schwarzer in 25 minutes at the PSA Challenger event.

Colombia's Vargas will now not play in the quarter finals after having to withdraw due to injury, which means Solnicky will receive a walkover into the semi-finals.

Results: Round One
[1] Raphael Kandra (GER) beats Viktor Byrtus (CZE) 3-0: 11-2, 11-9, 11-7 (28m)
[5] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) beats David Zeman (CZE) 3-2: 7-11, 11-5, 3-11, 12-10, 12-10 (70m)
Jakub Solnicky (CZE) beats [6] Martin Svec (CZE) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (38m)
[3] Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) beats Marc Lopez (ESP) 3-0: 14-12, 11-5, 11-4 (24m)
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) beats Tobias Weggen (GER) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (24m)
[7] Yannik Omlor (GER) beats [WC] Heiko Schwarzer (GER) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-3 (25m)
Valentin Rapp (GER) beats [8] Ondrej Uherka (CZE) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (32m)
[2] Daniel Mekbib (CZE) beats Marek Panacek (CZE) 3-1: 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7 (43m)

Draw: Quarter Finals
[1] Raphael Kandra (GER) v [5] Aqeel Rehman (AUT)
Jakub Solnicky (CZE) Walkover
[4] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [7] Yannik Omlor (GER)
Valentin Rapp (GER) v [2] Daniel Mekbib (CZE)

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