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Yuri Furneti

Open Niort Venise Verte Preview: Furneti Excited After Two Year Break

The first tournament of the week comes from France, with the Open International Niort Venise Verte beginning on Monday 8 November at Squash du Marais in Niort.

The men’s Challenger 10 level event will feature 12 nationalities over the 24 players in the draw, with two Frenchman at the head of the field on home soil this week.

Benjamin Aubert and Auguste Dussourd will be the top two seeds, but Egypt’s Mazen Gamal will come into the tournament as one of the favourites, having beaten both of the Frenchman en route to the title in Lagord on Saturday afternoon.

The English duo of Sam Todd and Robert Downer, Scotland’s Rory Stewart, Colombian Juan Camilo Vargas and Germany’s Yannik Omlor, all members of the world’s top 100, will be the rest of the top eight seeds.

Argentina, Czech Republic, India, Israel, Italy and Spain will all be represented in the tournament, and we spoke to Italian No.1 Yuri Furneti ahead of the event, with the World No.176 featuring on Tour for just the third time since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think I’m playing well, I trained hard for almost two years and now I’m ready for tournaments,” the Italian said.

“[It] obviously wasn’t easy during the pandemic but I tried to train as hard as possible to be ready for restarting playing tournaments! I’m very happy and excited to play again.”

Furneti is the leading male Italian on Tour, with a highest ranking of World No.120, and although he is the Italian No.1, he does not feel any pressure in being his nation’s top player.

“Being Italian No.1 is a pleasure and I’m very proud of it! I don’t feel pressure in being the best Italian but I want to show that Italian squash can be at high level,” he explained.

“Now I’m No.176 but my ranking dropped off because I didn’t play tournaments for almost two years. I need to restart playing PSA and trust what I’m doing.”

The event takes place from Monday 8 to Friday 12 November at Squash Du Marais in Niort. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

First Round Draw: Open International Niort Venise Verte
[1] Benjamin Aubert (FRA) – [Bye]
Ondrej Vorlicek (CZE) v [9/16] Ben Smith (ENG)
[9/16] Edwin Clain (FRA) v Augusto Ortigosa (ESP)
[7] Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) – [Bye]
[5] Robert Downer (ENG) – [Bye]
Leandro Romiglio (ARG) v [9/16] Toufik Mekhalfi (FRA)
[9/16] Ibrahim Elkabbani (EGY) v [WC] Paul Gonzalez (FRA)
[4] Sam Todd (ENG) – [Bye]
[3] Mazen Gamal (EGY) – [Bye]
[WC] Maceo Levy (FRA) v [9/16] Abhishek Pradhan (IND)
[9/16] Yuri Furneti (ITA) v Javier Martin (ESP)
[6] Rory Stewart (SCO) – [Bye]
[8] Yannik Omlor (GER) – [Bye]
[WC] Laouenan Loaec (FRA) v [9/16] Sergio Garcia Pollan (ESP)
[9/16] Daniel Poleshchuk (ISR) v Charlie Cowie (ENG)
[2] Auguste Dussourd (FRA) – [Bye]

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