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Haley Mendez

SOAP Engineering Open: Mendez “Excited To Be Competing Again”

The first event of four this week on the Challenger Tour is also one of two taking place in the United States, with the SOAP Engineering Squash Open being held in Houston, Texas.

Following last week’s event in Chennai on the HCL SRFI Indian Tour, the SOAP Engineering Squash Open becomes the second fully international tournament to be played on the Challenger Tour since its return in the second half of 2020.

Eight nationalities will be represented in the tournament, with players from England, France, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, Ukraine and the United States all in action.

Four of those are represented in the top four seeds, with Malaysia’s Wen Li Lai, Pakistan’s Amna Fayyaz and Polish No.1 Karina Tyma all in the event, with all three sitting inside the top 100 of the World Rankings.

World No.42 Haley Mendez will be the top seed for the Challenger 10 level tournament in Houston, and she will be hoping to start well on Wednesday afternoon, with a first round clash against India’s Kriti Muthu.

The American, who is one of seven playing on home soil in Houston, will be getting her first taste of competitive action in 2021, is looking forward to getting back on court.

“I feel like I am playing well and moving well coming into this week’s event. Although I have only been on court with Nathan [Lake, her fiancee] for the last three months so it’s hard to gauge anything beyond that!” she admitted.

“I am just looking forward to getting some competitive matches in before the back half of the season begins to pick up!”

Mendez has become a regular feature at major tournaments on the PSA World Tour, with this being her first outing on the Challenger Tour in over a year. She will come in as the top seed and she is excited about the possibility.

“I think there is always a bit of added pressure as the top seed, but given the year we have all had I am just excited to be competing again. This year has put everything into perspective and these tournaments are the fun part,” the American said.

“Continuing to improve in all aspects of the game and continuing to stay healthy and enjoying competeing are always the goals! The next benchmark would be breaking the top 32.”

The event takes place from Wednesday 7 to Saturday 10 at the Downtown Club in Houston, Texas, where Haley Mendez is the top seed for the tournament. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

First Round Draw: Soap Engineering Squash Open
[1] Haley Mendez (USA) v Kriti Muthu (IND)
Charlotte Menhert (USA) v [7] Alina Bushma (UKR)
[8] Akanksha Salunkhe (IND) v Serena Daniel (USA)
Anika Sarna (USA) v [4] Karina Tema (POL)
[3] Amna Fayyaz (PAK) v Yana Sharma (USA)
Ariyan Irani (USA) v [5] Julia Le Coq (FRA)
[6] Arisha Khan (USA) v Margot Prow (ENG)
Vanessa Raj (MAS) v [2] Wen Li Lai (MAS)

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