One of three events to get underway on Thursday will be the Czech Pro Series IV, with the Challenger 10 and 5 level tournaments taking place at Sportovni Centrum Fajne in Ostrava.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament is being run with regional restrictions on entrants, allowing only those currently based in Europe to participate in the Czech Republic this week.
Despite this restrictions, 16 nations will still be represented in Ostrava this week, with Czech players at the top of both draws. World No.80 Daniel Mekbib and World No.81 Martin Svec will lead the way in the Challenger 10 level men’s event.
They will face competition from England’s Robert Downer, Colombian Juan Camilo Vargas, compatriot Jakub Solnicky, Hungary’s Balazs Farkas and Austrian No.1 Aqeel Rehman, all members of the world’s top 100.
England’s Lily Taylor, Austria’s Jacqueline Peychär, Scotland’s Katriona Allen and Frenchwoman Ella Galova will all be challenging in the women’s event, along with home hopes Eva Fertekova and Anna Serme, the latter of which will be the top seed.
We spoke to Serme, the World No.49, prior to the event starting, and she believes that she is a better player compared to last year, thanks to experience at Platinum level tournaments.
“I think that my game has improved a lot this last year. I absorbed as much experience as I could from the Platinum events, where I was finally getting in,” she explained.
“Playing with the best players in the world is just an amazing opportunity for my own progress. I also started a course to become a mindset coach and it helped me tremendously with my own personal growth and my approach to competition.”
Serme made it to the second round of a major tournament for the first time earlier this year, achieving that feat at the brand new Arlen Specter US Squash Centre. She admits that she enjoyed her time there, and coming into this event, she would love to claim a maiden Tour title.
“I loved playing at such a beautiful centre. My goal was to stay on court as long as I could and make it hard for my opponent and it paid off. I was so happy to have reached the second round of a Platinum as possibly the first Czech player, or at least a first after a very long time,” Serme admitted.
“I would love to win my first title, I’ve been in a PSA final three times and it would be great to finally finish a PSA tournament with a win! But there are some very strong opponents in the draw so I'll just have to stay focused and give it all,” the Czech No.1 explained.
“It was a big milestone to reach the top 50 in the world, only as a third Czech female player in history. The ranking is very strong right now with many quality players so for me any progress upwards is a victory.”
The event takes place from Thursday 16 to Monday 20 December at the Sportovni Centrum Fajne in Ostrava, where Anna Serme is the top seed for the women’s draw. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.
Action from Ostrava 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 First Round Draw: Czech Pro Series VI
 Daniel Mekbib (CZE) – [Bye]
[WC] Kristian Mracek (CZE) v [9/16] Sean Conroy (IRL)
[9/16] Peter Creed (WAL) v [WC] Lubos Walter Jr. (CZE)
 Aqeel Rehman (AUT) – [Bye]
 Viktor Byrtus (CZE) – [Bye]
Heiko Schwarzer (CZE) v [9/16] Yuri Furneti (ITA)
[9/16] Marek Panacek (CZE) v Bogdan Vasile (ROM)
 Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) – [Bye]
 Robert Downer (ENG) – [Bye]
[WC] Adam Sinkule (CZE) v [9/16] Leandro Romiglio (ARG)
[9/16] David Zeman (CZE) v Alex Kelar (CZE)
 Jakub Solnicky (CZE) – [Bye]
 Balazs Farkas (HUN) – [Bye]
Alasdair Prott (SCO) v [9/16] Miles Jenkins (ENG)
[9/16] Filip Jarota (POL) v Ondrej Vorlicek (CZE)
 Martin Svec (CZE) – [Bye]
Women’s First Round Draw: Czech Pro Series VI
 Anna Serme (CZE) v Klara Kohlerova (SVK)
Au Yeong Wai Yhann (SGP) v  Tayla Mounter (ENG)
 Katriona Allen (SCO) v [WC] Natalie Babjukova (CZE)
Riana Alexova (CZE) v  Eva Fertekova (CZE)
 Jacqueline Peychär (AUT) v Tamara Holzbaeurova (CZE)
Sofie Hausknotzova (CZE) v  Emilia Korhonen (FIN)
 Ella Galova (FRA) v [WC] Karolina Sramkova (CZE)
Tereza Siroka (CZE) v  Lily Taylor (ENG)