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Aly Abou Eleinen

Tournament of Champions Challenger: Eleinen Aiming To Start 2022 On High Note

The last event starting on the Challenger Tour this week will be the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Challenger, which begins on Wednesday, April 27 across several venues in New York.

There will be five different venues in action for the Challenger 10 competition, with the Harvard Club of New York, New York Athletic Club, Nicol Squash Club and the River Club of New York all hosting the early rounds, before the final takes place on the glass at Grand Central Terminal. The winners of the tournament will receive wildcard places in the Gold level J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, which begins a day after the final of the Challenger event on Sunday, May 1.

World No.50 Sana Ibrahim will be the top seed for the women’s event, with the Egyptian facing competition from a trio of Hongkongers. Chan Sin Yuk will be the No.4 seed for the tournament, but she will actually be the highest-ranked player in action, after moving to World No.49 in the April changes. She will be joined by Tsz-Wing Tong and Ka Yi Lee among the top four seeds.

The American siblings of Marina and Lucie Stefanoni will also be among the top eight seeds, joined by Kenzy Ayman and England’s Margot Prow, with Millie Tomlinson and Akari Midorikawa among those also in action. Three more Americans, in Arisha Khan, Katherine Glasner and Jhansi Bhavsar, the latter of which makes her debut on Tour this week, will all feature.

An American will also lead the men’s draw, with World No.53 Faraz Khan as the top seed. However, he will face stiff competition from Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, who is coming off the back of a victory at the Life Time Atlanta Open at the weekend,

Hong Kong’s Henry Leung and Tsz Kwan Lau, the American pairing of Christopher Gordon and Spencer Lovejoy, and the English duo of Sam Todd and Robert Downer will make up the rest of the top eight seeds for the Challenger 10 level competition.

Aly Abou Eleinen will be the only Egyptian in action in the men’s tournament, and we spoke to the Penn student prior to the event, as he returns to the Tour for the first time in 2022.

“I’m so excited to finally return on Tour for the first time in 2022. I had an incredible first year on Tour and have learned so much from my wins, losses, and travel,” he explained.

“I’m looking forward to hopefully starting the year on a high note as I gradually transition from being a college student to being a professional athlete. It is an exciting process that I am enjoying on a daily basis. 

“It’s hard putting into words how much I have learned from my four years at Penn both as a student and as an athlete. I grew so much as a person and as a player as I dealt with the challenges of playing an individual sport in a team environment.

“As a team captain juggling an Ivy League education while trying to keep up with professional tournaments, I feel prepared to take on the next challenges as I start my journey on the PSA World Tour.”

Eleinen reached two finals in 2021, finishing runner-up at both the CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour and the South State Bank Marietta Open. He is ready to take it to the next level, and claim a first Tour title, but he is also not rushing anything, in terms of glory or ranking.

“It would definitely be an exciting moment to win my first title on Tour, but I recognise the importance of taking it one step at a time and not getting ahead of myself in the process. Next week in New York, I will be focusing on enjoying my very first tournament as a professional athlete and not just a college player,” he admitted.

“I am not too desperate to climb up the rankings. Instead, I am focusing on the day to day process and trusting that my hard work will eventually pay off and reflect on the world rankings.

“My overall goal is to top the world rankings and I am determined to focus on the process that produces results and development as opposed to getting caught up in the rankings.”

The event takes place from Wednesday, April 27 to Saturday, April 30 at the several venues around New York. Follow the PSA Challenger Tour on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates from the event.

The final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Challenger will take place on the glass court at Grand Central Terminal in New York, and will be streamed live on SQUASHTV, where the following J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, a Gold level event, will also be shown.

Men’s First Round Draw: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Challenger
[2] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v Babatunde Ajagbe (NGR)
Tom Walsh (ENG) v [8] Robert Downer (ENG)
[7] Sam Todd (ENG) v Juan Camilo Vargas (COL)
Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) v [3] Henry Leung (HKG)
[4] Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) v Ronald Palomino (COL)
Timothy Brownell (USA) v [5] Christopher Gordon (USA)
[6] Spencer Lovejoy (USA) v [WC] Harrison Gill (USA)
Joseph White (AUS) v [1] Faraz Khan (USA)

Women’s First Round Draw: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Challenger
[1] Sana Ibrahim (EGY) v [WC] Katherine Glasner (USA)
Julia Le Coq (FRA) v [7] Lucie Stefanoni (USA)
[8] Margot Prow (ENG) v Sohaila Ismail (EGY)
Noureen Khalifa (EGY) v [4] Chan Sin Yuk (HKG)
[3] Ka Yi Lee (HKG) v Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
Arisha Khan (USA) v [5] Marina Stefanoni (USA)
[6] Kenny Ayman (EGY) v Jhansi Bhavsar (USA)
Akari Midorikawa (JPN) v [2] Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG)

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