The first round of the men’s event at the Odense Open took place yesterday at Squash Center Danmark, and playing on home soil, wildcard Theis Houlberg caused a surprise to reach the second round of the tournament.
The Odense Open is the sole qualifying event for the 2020-2021 PSA World Championships, with the winners of both the men’s and women’s draws securing their places at the University Club of Chicago come mid-July.
Six matches were played on the opening evening of action in Odense, and only one of the 9/16 seeds failed to make their way through to the second round of the men’s event. Frenchman Quint Mandil lost out to the Danish wildcard, and in convincing style.
Houlberg, who sits more than 100 places below the Frenchman in the World Rankings, was in contorl throughout their contest, and following a straight-game victory, the Dane will now face top seed Ryosei Kobayashi in the second round.
Elsewhere, the only match of the day that went past the third game saw two Brits, in Welshman Owain Taylor and Englishman Simon Herbert, battle it out for 74 minutes. In the end, it was Taylor who came out on top, having led twice in the match, winning 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9.
The eight seeded players make their bows in the men’s draw tomorrow, with the likes of Kobayashi, Juan Camilo Vargas and Moustafa El Sirty in action. USA’s Faraz Khan will take on one of the four Brits in the last 16, in Scotland’s Fergus Richards.
The women’s draw gets underway on the second day of the tournament as well, with the three top seeds, in Spain’s Cristina Gomez, Poland’s Karina Tyma and Scotland’s Alison Thomson, receiving byes through to the quarter-finals.
The action gets underway on Wednesday 16 at 15:00 (GMT+2) and you can watch all the action on the Squash Center Danmark/Odense Squash Club YouTube channel, with both courts being shown live.
Men’s First Round Results
[WC] Theis Houlberg (DEN) bt Quint Mandil (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-7 (24m)
Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) bt [WC] Sebastian Pedersen (DEN) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 (25m)
Matias Tuomi (FIN) bt Lukas Windischberger (AUT) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (32m)
Julius Benthin (GER) bt [WC] Tobias Weel (DEN) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (29m)
Owain Taylor (WAL) bt Simon Herbert (ENG) 3-2: 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9 (74m)
Fergus Richards (SCO) bt [WC] Thomas Søgaard (DEN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (24m)
Men’s Round Two Draw
 Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) v [WC] Theis Houlberg (DEN)
Aly Hussein (EGY) v  Robert Downer (ENG)
 Henrik Mustonen (FIN) v Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY)
Matias Tuomi (FIN) v  Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
 Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) v Rory Stewart (SCO)
Julius Benthin (GER) v Farkas Balazs (HUN)
 Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) v Owain Taylor (WAL)
Fergus Richards (SCO) v  Faraz Khan (USA)
Women’s Round One Draw
 Cristina Gomez (ESP) – [Bye]
Lea Barbeau (FRA) v  Georgia Adderley (SCO)
 Diana Garcia (MEX) v Amina El Rihany (EGY)
[WC] Klara Møller (DEN) v  Lily Taylor (ENG)
 Alison Thomson (SCO) – [Bye]
Taba Taghavi (FRA) v  Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY)
 Hannah Chukwu (HUN) v Jelena Dutina (SRB)
 Karina Tyma (POL) – [Bye]