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Yannick Wilhelmi

Guatemala Open Squash Preview: Wilhelmi Confident After Second Win

The first event of the week on the Challenger Tour will be the 1st Guatemala Open Squash PSA Tournament, which will take place from Tuesday, February 22 to Saturday, February 26 at the Asociación Deportiva Nacional de Squash.

The venue hosted three Challenger Tour events in late 2021, and returns to the calendar just two months later with the first event of 2022, which will be followed by a second, including a first women’s draw, next week.

It will be a multi-national draw, with 11 nationalities represented across the 24-strong draw for the event, with Mexico’s Alfredo Avila as the top seed for the tournament.

The World No.87 will be challenged for the crown by Colombia’s Ronald Palomino, who sits just a place lower in the World Rankings, and Switzerland’s Yannick Wilhelmi, who will be the leading European in the draw.

We spoke to the Swiss player ahead of this event, which he comes in to off the back of claiming his second win on Tour at the PSA Challenger Le Reve last month. The World No.98 was not expecting to win in France, but the victory has given him more confidence ahead of this week’s event.

“I couldn’t prepare for the tournament the way I wanted to, so I was a little unsure how I would play and also if my body was fit enough,” Wilhelmi said.

“I found a good rhythm and was able to bring a great performance. Really happy to have won a second title and it also gave me some confidence for the upcoming tournaments in Guatemala.”

Wilhelmi will feature in both events in Guatemala across the next two weeks, in what will be his first two tournaments outside of Europe on the PSA Tour. He has had experience outside of Europe before, having played in the World Juniors in India previously, but he is looking forward to this new experience.

“I have already heard a lot of good things about Guatemala and I’m really looking forward to compete there. Hopefully I can explore the city a little bit in between tournaments,” he added.
 
“These are two strong tournaments where a lot can happen but I think I prepared myself well over the last few weeks and will give everything to get as far as possible in the two events.”
 
The 21-year-old first broke into the world’s top 100 in November of last year, a moment he was proud of. After dropping back outside that mark in the New Year, his win in Le Reve pushed him back inside the top 100, to where he currently sits at World No.98.

Although he knows that there will be some points coming off his record soon, he knows that he needs to make those up, en route to his next goal come the end of 2022.

“When I first saw that I made it into the top 100 I was really happy and relieved. It motivated me to keep working hard because it showed that all the hours of training are paying off,” Wilhelmi explained.
 
“At the moment I’m trying to maintain my ranking and make up for the points I’ll lose in March. After that it is clear that I want to move forward. The goal would be to reach top 70 in the world by the end of the year.”

The rest of the draw features the two finalists from the Kinetic 3k Challenger Presented by Sundip Murthy, in winner Tom Walsh, and Argentina’s Jeremias Azana, who will be one of three wildcards for the event.

The event takes place from Tuesday, February 22 to Saturday, February 26 at the Asociación Deportiva Nacional de Squash. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

First Round Draw: 1st Guatemala Open Squash PSA Tournament
[1] Alfredo Avila (MEX) – [Bye]
[WC] Nicolas Serna (COL) v [9/16] Charlie Lee (ENG)
[9/16] Alejandro Reyes (MEX) v Laouenan Loaec (FRA)
[8] Diego Gobbi (BRA) – [Bye]
[5] Guilherme Melo (BRA) – [Bye]
Francesco Marcantonio (PAR) v [9/16] Toufik Mekhalfi (FRA)
[9/16] Andres Herrera (COL) v [WC] Jeremias Azana (ARG)
[4] Tom Walsh (ENG) – [Bye]
[3] Yannick Wilhelmi (SUI) – [Bye]
Ricardo Toscano (GUA) v [9/16] Miled Zarazua (MEX)
[9/16] Allan Nunez (MEX) v Alejandro Enriquez (GUA)
[7] Edgar Ramirez Bautista (COL) – [Bye]
[6] Joseph White (AUS) – [Bye]
Sebastian Fonseca (GUA) v [9/16] Josue Enriquez (GUA)
[9/16] Ahsan Ayaz (PAK) v [WC] Luis Quisquinay (GUA)
[2] Ronald Palomino (COL) – [Bye]

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