In collaboration with our colleagues at SquashLevels, we have taken an in-depth look at the main contenders for the PSA Challenger 10 Le Reve Nancy event, which takes place this week in northern France.
This is the first tournament on the PSA Challenger Tour in 2021 which will see 32 players fighting it out for the title, and it boasts somewhat of an international field. Seven countries are represented in the draw, but the top four seeds are all Frenchman playing on home soil.
SquashLevels is different to the PSA World Rankings and calculates a player’s current playing level after every match based on their levels going into the match and the result of that match. Their level will increase if they do better than expected or decrease if they do less well than expected giving a very dynamic measure for how well each player is playing ‘at the moment’ and what their playing level has been over time. For more information on how player levels are calculated, please see the SquashLevels FAQs.
For the most part, the top eight seeds for the Le Reve Nancy tournament are in the same place on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, but there are some differences, most notably at the very top.
The top eight seeds on the SquashLevels Power Ratings
There are distinct categories amongst the top eight, with the top three distant from the rest, while the No.7 and No.8 seeds are also slightly adrift of the top six.
Spain’s Bernat Jaume and Japan’s Ryosei Kobayashi are currently hovering around the 30,000 level, with the Japanese World No.72 having won four of his last nine tournaments, the first of those coming at the Roberts & Morrow North Coast Open in August 2019.
Frenchmen Benjamin Aubert and Sebastian Bonmalais, and Swiss No.2 Dimitri Steinmann are also in their own little section on the SquashLevels Power Ratings. The two home hopes sit either side of Steinmann, who won the Sihltal Classic on his last outing on the PSA Challenger Tour. Aubert currently occupies the final spot in the world’s top 50, and is the No.4 seed for this week’s event in Nancy.
The top three seeds for the Challenger 10 level tournament are all French, and this is where it gets interesting. They are World No.35 Lucas Serme, World No.36 Baptiste Masotti and World No.44 Victor Crouin. However, it is the latter that seems to be in the best form, and is above the top two seeds on the SquashLevels Power Ratings.
Despite sitting eight and nine places below his countrymen in the PSA World Rankings, Crouin currently has the highest level on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, and on form, he is the favourite to the win the title.
This is highlighted by the fact he got the better of Serme in the final of the PSA Bordeaux Nord event in December. The 3-0 victory saw Crouin’s level increase by 4.2%, while Serme’s dropped by 4.4%, seeing the pair swap places ahead of this week’s event in Nancy.
The similarities between Lucas Serme and Victor Crouin this season
As you can see from the chart above, the pair started the season very close, and both had the same results at the Manchester Open and the CIB Egyptian Squash Open to start the season. The higher-seeded Serme made it through to the third round of the Qatar Classic in November, but his performances did not see his level increase by much.
His level increased by 3.1%, but Crouin remained in touching distance of his countryman. The pair both suffered straight game defeats in the opening round of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open, before eventually meeting in the final of the PSA Bordeaux Nord on December 21.
Crouin beat this week’s No.8 seed, the Japanese Ryosei Kobayashi, in the semi-finals of the Challenger 10 level tournament, before then dismantling Serme in the final. The 21-year-old now lays claim to the higher level on the SquashLevels Power Ratings.
In amongst all this, is another Frenchman in Baptiste Masotti. The 25-year-old is the one who represented his country at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships in Washington, D.C. in 2019, and he is just a place below Serme in the PSA World Rankings.
Masotti did not feature in that Challenger event in Bordeaux, with his last professional match coming in the first round of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open, where he lost out to eventual winner Fares Dessouky.
Since the start of the 2020/2021 PSA World Tour season, the Frenchman has seen his level improve by almost 7%, a rise almost akin to Crouin since the Manchester Open in September.
If the tournament goes to seedings, it will be Crouin and Masotti against each other in the last four in Nancy, with top seed Serme awaiting the winner of that clash in the final at the start of February.
The PSA Challenger 10 Le Reve Nancy event will be live streamed on the Challenger Tour Livestreams YouTube channel with play starting at 10:30 (GMT+1) on Friday, January 29. The final of the tournament will take place on Monday, February 1.
You can take a look at the entirety of the Power Ratings on the SquashLevels website.