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Yahya Elnawasany in action

Open De Cognac: Tournament Preview

The Open de Cognac begins on Wednesday afternoon at Squash La Belle Allee in the French city of Cognac, with plenty of home hopes in action at the Challenger 5 level tournament.

The event features a mainly-French field, but there is just one Frenchman in the top eight seeds, with Yahya Elnawasany being the top seed, and one of three Egyptians in the draw.

The other two are Mohamed Nasser and Abdallah Elmasry, who will be the No.7 and No.8 seeds for the tournament, and they are joined by the Indian duo of Abhishek Agarwal and Aadit Zaveri.

England’s Nick Wall, Spain’s Ivan Perez and Frenchman Edwin Clain are the other three players who will be among the top eight seeds for the event on Wednesday.

The top seed will be Egyptian Yahya Elnawasany, who has already won twice this year, and he believes that he is in a good vein of form coming into this tournament.

“I feel I am currently playing good squash and that I still have more to offer and happy with the way I am improving day after day,” he explained.

Earlier this year, Elnawasany made it into the second round of the CIB Egyptian Open, his first appearance in the last 32 of a Platinum tournament, something he really enjoyed.

“It was the best tournament of my career so far. It also felt really special because it was something I have been looking forward to for a long time, so to achieve it and even have a great battle with Mazen after it was like a dream to me,” he said.

The Egyptian has three wins on Tour to his name, but they have all come on home soil. Elnawasany is aware of that, but he admits that rankings are a bigger focus than titles at this point of his career.

“I have never won an event outside of Egypt but also I have never been the top seed in an event outside Egypt so hopefully this would be my first title outside Egypt,” he said.

“It would be amazing, of course, but I think a title is a title. It does not matter it is on home soil or not. At the end of the day, I am going for the [ranking] points without thinking about how many titles I have or where I had them. It is a bit early for me to set titles as my target. I am focusing now on going up the rankings and playing the big tournaments.

“I need to focus more on gaining more and more points with every tournament I play and seek consistency rather than titles. And hopefully with the way I am playing, I will soon be in the top 50 and climb my way up further in the rankings.”

First Round Draw: Open de Cognac
[1] Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) – [Bye]
[9/16] Paul Gonzalez (FRA) v Mathew Proctor (ENG)
[9/16] Lewis Doughty (ENG) – [Bye]
[5] Aadit Zaveri (IND) – [Bye]
[7] Mohamed Nasser (EGY) – [Bye]
Baptiste Bouin (FRA) v [9/16] Brice Nicolas (FRA)
[9/16] Quint Mandil (FRA) – [Bye]
[4] Abhishek Agarwal (IND) – [Bye]
[3] Ivan Perez (ESP) – [Bye]
Laszlo Godde (FRA) v [9/16] Aron Astray (ESP)
[9/16] Manu Paquemar (FRA) – [Bye]
[6] Edwin Clain (FRA) – [Bye]
[8] Abdallah Elmasry (EGY) – [Bye]
Maceo Levy (FRA) v [9/16] Joshua Phinera (FRA)
[9/16] Laouenan Loaec (FRA) v Titouan Isambard (FRA)
[2] Nick Wall (ENG) – [Bye]

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