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Sebastien Bonmalais

Open De Mulhouse Preview: Bonmalais Likes Added Pressure

The sole European event of the week on the Challenger Tour comes from France, with the Challenger 5 level Open de Mulhouse beginning on Friday 14 May.

The event, which takes place at Espace Squash 3000, will be allow regional entries, meaning players who permanently live in Europe were allowed the enter.

That has allowed for an eight-nation field on show, with seven of those represented amongst the top eight seeds. France’s Sebastien. Bonmalais will be the top seed for the tournament, with Japan’s Ryosei Kobayashi, Hungary’s Farkas Balazs and Englishman Robert Downer inside the top four.

Germany’s Valentin Rapp, Switzerland’s Yannick Wilhelmi, Spaniard Ivan Perez and Frenchman Toufik Mekhalfi are also in action, with the four already having claimed a victory in 2021.

Bonmalais will be the top seed for this week’s event, and playing on home soil, he will be looking to grab a first win since 2019. We spoke to the Frenchman ahead of the tournament.

“Currently I’m feeling good, but not as good as when I was playing in March 2020, It took me some time to get my physical quality back after being hit by COVID last year,” he admitted.

“Now I feel better, but I still need to get my old habits back hopefully when I will have played more matches. I think I’m playing around top 60/70 if we talk about the ranking.”

“Of course, to be the top seed adds a little bit of pressure because you are the target to beat. But I like it and I will take all in my stride. This weekend will be a good challenge for myself and I will try to make the most of it.

The 23-year-old is currently the World No.61, but has been as high as World No.57. He believes that he is capable of making it into the top 50 in the World Rankings, and that playing on home soil this week will help him start to make that move.

“Playing at home is always a pleasure for me, it’s helpful to have the French crowd by your side. Even if there are no spectators currently, I have my friends and my girlfriend coming so it’s nicer that way. And the local clubs in France are always welcoming towards us. I am really looking forward playing this weekend especially in my club in Mulhouse.

“To break into the top 50, I need to play more tournaments and matches. Before COVID, I was almost there. I need more matches to get used to the level of the top 50 and more tournaments as well to get opportunities to perform.

“I know I’m capable to go far in the ranking, I just need to be patient, and it will come when it’s the right moment.”

The event takes place from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 May at Espace Squash 3000 in Mulhouse, where Sebastien Bonmalais is the top seed for the tournament. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

Action from Mulhouse will be streamed throughout the week on the PSA Challenger Tour YouTube channel, where you can watch Challenger Tour action, and interviews with rising stars.

Men’s Draw: Open de Mulhouse
[1] Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) – [Bye]
[WC] Brice Nicolas (FRA) v [9/16] Marek Panacek (CZE)
[9/16] Nils Roesch (SUI) v Nilo Vidal (ESP)
[8] Ivan Perez (ESP) – [Bye]
[7] Yannick Wilhelmi (SUI) – [Bye]
[WC] Laouenan Loaec (FRA) v [9/16] Edwin Clain (FRA)
[9/16] David Zeman (CZE) v Augusto Ortigosa (ESP)
[4] Robert Downer (ENG) – [Bye]
[3] Farkas Balazs (HUN) – [Bye]
Heiko Schwarzer (GER) v [9/16] Miguel Mathis (SUI)
[9/16] Toufik Mekhalfi (FRA) v Tobias Weggen (GER)
[5] Valentin Rapp (GER) – [Bye]
[6] Robin Gadola (SUI) – [Bye]
Quint Mandil (FRA) v [9/16] Sergio Gacia Pollan (ESP)
[9/16] Joel Jauma Izcara (ESP) v [WC] Paul Gonzalez (FRA)
[2] Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) – [Bye]

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