Local Hero Steinmann Gatecrashes Grasshopper L16
19 Oct 2022
Wildcard Dimitri Steinmann thrilled the home crowd with a comeback win to lead a trio of home favourites through to the second round of the Grasshopper Cup, the PSA World Tour Gold event in Uster, Switzerland.
The opening round took place at Squash Arena Uster, where Steinmann took on German No.1 Raphael Kandra. The Swiss No.2 looked down and out after the first game, scoring just a single point - but the home crowd roared him on at the start of the second game.
Steinman won the first point, and the cheer from the crowd buoyed the world No.38 on. The 25-year-old went on to take the second game 11-9, and he then carried the momentum through the third game as well to win in front of the home crowd.
"I mean, how do you f*** up a game plan that badly? I found my way into it in the end, my coaches told me to get my head straight and make it tough physically, and that was what I did," said Steinmann, who will now face former World Champion Tarek Momen in the last 16.
"The crowd was amazing! Raph played an almost perfect first game, and then when I won the first point of the second game, the crowd gave me a huge cheer and I knew I was going to be alright!
"I felt at game ball in the second when I really controlled him, I felt he was slowing down. It is the wrong place to get tired! I don't even know what to say! It is going be amazing!"
Steinmann is joined in the men's second round by higher-ranked compatriot Nicolas Mueller after the world No.18 overcame France's Sebastien Bonmalais in straight games, sending the home crowd into raptures.
Mueller had won their only previous meeting, at the Czech Open in 2021, and was in control throughout, winning 11-6, 11-7 in just 21 minutes. The Swiss No.1 will now take on world No.1 Ali Farag for a place in the quarter-finals.
"It doesn't get much better than this! Being Swiss and playing in front of your home crowd, with my family and friends here. It is big for Uster as well! We all enjoy playing in front of this crowd, so we thank you for making it possible!" Mueller said after his win.
"It is a match like any other. I will just go out there and fight, I will do what I can! Obviously he is world No.1 for a reason. He is a good player, and in good form!"
Cindy Merlo assured that there would be Swiss representation in the second round of the women's draw after a commanding performance which saw her defeat Czech No.1 Anna Serme in just 14 minutes. The world No.50 dropped just nine points in an 11-7, 11-2 victory. Her second round opponent will be six-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini.
"The crowd here is fantastic, and to have won and to get through to the second round and to play on the glass court tomorrow, it's amazing," the Swiss No.1 admitted.
"There are rituals for sure, but they are a secret! I will just do the same as always, prepare well and make sure I am ready for tomorrow's match!"
Elsewhere on the opening day, England's Patrick Rooney defeated Colombian Miguel Rodriguez in an exciting three-game battle, while Gregoire Marche overcame Greg Lobban to move through to the second round. In the women's event, Frenchwoman Enora Villard secured an upset, defeating world No.17 Hollie Naughton to move through to the last 16.