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24 Jul 2024

PSA World Tour Expands Into Romania

4 Oct 2013

The Professional Squash Association is marking a notable double this month with Romania not only hosting its first ever Tour event, but also providing its first members of the players' association.

The COURTWALL Romanian Open, a PSA Challenger 5 event, takes place this week at the new AERO Squash Club in the Romanian capital Bucharest.

Meanwhile, Bucharest players George Alexandru Constantinescu and Horia Naumescu have both joined the PSA and made their Tour debuts in the Romanian Open.

Interest in Squash in Romania has grown rapidly since the first squash courts were built in 2001. The European country which borders the Black Sea now boasts 20 squash clubs with over 40 courts. The latest is the five-court AERO Squash Club, near the international Airport in Bucharest, which is the largest squash centre in the country.

"The AERO Squash club owners are operating a helicopter rental service from the heliport in Bucharest - the squash club is built in a helicopter hangar," explained tournament sponsor Wolfgang Denk, CEO of court manufacturer Courtwall. "The winner of the PSA Courtwall Romanian Open will be taken on a helicopter flight around Bucharest after the price ceremony."

PSA CEO Alex Gough is delighted that Romania has become the latest country to be added to the Tour calendar which boasts more than 100 events in more than 40 nations spread across all five continents.

"It is always a pleasure to welcome a nation to our circuit - and the fact that the new event in Bucharest has attracted players from 12 countries is testament to the appeal of a country like Romania," said the former world No5.

"We also welcome George and Horia to our membership and hope that their success will inspire more Romanians to join the Tour."

Top seeds Chris Ryder, of England, and Jan Koukal from the Czech Republic, are on course to meet in Sunday's Romanian Open final after first round wins. World No72 Ryder defeated France's Johan Bouquet 11-1, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7 while second seed Koukal was taken the full distance before overcoming Spaniard Alejandro Garbi Caro 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8.

Qualifiers will be in action in the quarter-finals after two impressive upsets. Dutch qualifier Sebastiaan Weenink, the world No173 and lowest-ranked player in the main draw, despatched England's Alex Ingham 11-4, 11-7, 11-5, while England's blushes were spared when Portsmouth-based 21-year-old Robert Downer beat experienced Pakistani Karamatullah Khan 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.

1st round results:
[1] Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Johan Bouquet (FRA) 11-1, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7 (58m)
Joan Lezaud (FRA) bt Michael Harris (ENG) 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 15-13 (88m)
[Q] Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) bt Alex Ingham (ENG) 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (48m)
[3] Jens Schoor (GER) bt Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (52m)
[4] Yann Perrin (FRA) bt [Q] Richie Fallows (ENG) 11-5, 11-4, 3-11, 11-9 (51m)
[Q] Robert Downer (ENG) bt Karamatullah Khan (PAK) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (42m)
Reuben Phillips (ENG) bt [Q] Lukas Burkhart (SUI) 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6 (58m)
[2] Jan Koukal (CZE) bt Alejandro Garbi Caro (ESP) 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (56m)

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Chris Ryder (ENG) v Joan Lezaud (FRA)
[3] Jens Schoor (GER) v [Q] Sebastiaan Weenink (NED)
[4] Yann Perrin (FRA) v [Q] Robert Downer (ENG)
[2] Jan Koukal (CZE) v Reuben Phillips (ENG)