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Leonel Cardenas

2nd Guatemala Open Squash Preview: Cardenas On Form After Junior Pan Ams

The first event to be held in the Americas this week comes from Guatemala, with the Challenger 10 level 2nd 10k Guatemala Open Squash Tournament beginning on Wednesday afternoon.

The Asociación Deportiva Nacional de Squash plays host to the tournament, which will feature players from six nationalities, in what is an event that has regional restrictions on entrants, allowing only those currently based in either North, Central or South America to take part.

Along with the host nation Guatemala, Mexico will be the lead country in the draw, with seven players featuring in the tournament, including five of the top eight seeds.

Canada’s Connor Turk and Cory McCartney, and home hope Josue Enriquez, will join Alfredo Avila, Miled Zarazua, Allan Nunez, Alejandro Reyes and the tournament’s top seed, World No.51, Leonel Cardenas, in those top eight seeds.

We spoke to Cardenas ahead of the event, and he is coming into this event off the back of winning Gold in the men’s singles and in the men’s team event with Mexico at the Junior Pan American Games in Cali Valle, Colombia.

“I am feeling very well. I made a squash camp in Barcelona as preparation for the Junior Pan American Games. I have just finished the Junior Pan Am Games, so I have been training and playing at a good level,” he said.

The Mexican is playing the next two tournaments in Guatemala in the run up to Christmas, in the hope of getting some more matches in ahead of the American swing of events in the early part of 2022.

“The first target is to get [ranking] points. I need to defend around 400 points since I didn’t play any PSA events in November due to the Junior Pan Am games, so now I need to recuperate points. Secondly, it will let me be in rhythm ahead for the TOC in USA.”

Cardenas broke into the world’s top 50 in October, and has now become his nation’s top-ranked player. However, he only sees that as the next step in his career.

“It is a commitment to continue improving. Although I still cannot say that I am the best in Mexico as I have not dealt with Cesar Salazar in the last two years,” he explained.

“I feel happy since this [reaching the top 50] was one of the objectives that we (my team) had planned to achieve for this year. Definitely, my goal for next year is to improve month by month in the rankings.”

The event takes place from Wednesday 8 to Sunday 12 December at the Asociación Deportiva Nacional de Squash in Guatemala City, where Leonel Cardenas 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: 2nd 10k Guatemala Open Squash Tournament
[1] Leonel Cardenas (MEX) – [Bye]
[WC] Sebastien Fonseca (GUA) v [9/16] Ricardo Toscano (GUA)
[9/16] Darosham Khan (CAN) v Angel Gabriel Enriquez Franco (GUA)
[7] Alejandro Reyes (MEX) – [Bye]
[6] Josue Enriquez (GUA) – [Bye]
Luis Quisquinay (GUA) v [9/16] Alejandro Enriquez (GUA)
[9/16] Ahsan Ayaz (PAK) – [Bye]
[4] Miled Zarazua (MEX) – [Bye]
[3] Connor Turk (CAN) – [Bye]
[WC] Ronelhu Cristobal Sandoval Rodriguez (GUA) v [9/16] Rodolfo Vega (MEX)
[9/16] Andres Villamizar (COL) v [WC] Mauricio Sedano (GUA)
[8] Cory McCartney (CAN) – [Bye]
[5] Allan Nunez (MEX) – [Bye]
Francesco Marcantonio (PAR) v [9/16] Salah Eltorgman (CAN)
[9/16] Armando Olguin (MEX) v [WC] Jose Mendez (GUA)
[2] Alfredo Avila (MEX) – [Bye]

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