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Toufik MEKHALFI books his ticket to Paris

The Men's Wildcard Playoff came to an end on Saturday afternoon at the M Squash – in Bouc-Bel-Air, near Aix-en-Provence. Toufik Mekhalfi caused a small upset beating top seed Edwin Clain in straight games surprise, and grabbed a spot into the main draw of the Paris Squash 2023. He's also ensured to break into the world top 100 after the event!

In the previous days, both players had lived up to their seeding, winning their pool matches. Given their respective world rankings – 85 and 107 – and their head-to-head, the odds were in Edwin Clain's favour. However, Toufik Mekhalfi drastically upset them. From start to finish, he was both very determined and displayed great shot selection. Besides, he did not lose focus after he was cut just above the eye in the middle of the second game. On the contrary, he picked up where he left off when the match resumed and closed it in 3 games. Thanks to his win, Mekhalfi gets a spot in the main draw of the Paris Squash 2023, first major tournament of the 2023/24 season which kicks off on August, 27. It'll be his first participation in a Platinum event and he'll also break into the world top 100 after the tournament! We caught up with the 21-year old after the match.

🎤 Toufik Mekhalfi: “I am really happy with my match, especially as far as tactics go. We know that Edwin is very strong at the back of the court, but today I managed to compete with him in this area, and even to dominate I think. It's true that I was very accurate, it gave me opportunities to attack and I took them rather well. I don't know if it's my best match ever, personally I don't really think like that. For me, it's all about being relaxed on court, today I felt good and was able to perform. It's very gratifying to be able to play at this level while the stakes were so high, especially since a few people came to support me. My parents weren't here because they're on holiday, but they might come to Paris next Sunday! My first round opponent in the first round, Aly Abou Eleinen, is a very solid and complete player. On one hand, it would have been amazing to play on the glass court, but on the other hand he has more experience than me so it's probably best to face him on a traditional court. It's going to be a totally new experience for me to be around the best players in the world, I'm going to watch them and try to learn as much as I can. Whatever the outcome of my first round, I'm going to break into the world top 100, it's an important step. That was actually my goal last season and I didn't manage to fulfill, so it feels nice to get there very early in the season."

Come and join the party in Paris from August, 27th to September, 2nd, for a tournament that promises to be amazing! If you wish to come and support all the featuring French player – there will be 13 of them in total – there are still some tickets available for the first rounds.

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