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Open de France 2019
Men's Draw
 09 - 14 Sep
Nantes, France, $73.5k

ROUND TWO
11 SEP
QUARTERS
11-12 SEP
SEMIS
13 SEP
FINAL
14 SEP

[1] Simon Rösner (GER)
11-2, 16-18, 13-11 (70m)
[9/16] Borja Golan (ESP)

Simon Rösner
11-5, 9-11, 11-3 (46m)
Gregoire Marche
Gregoire Marche
8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (95m)
Joel Makin
Joel Makin
12-10, 11-3, 11-9 (72m)
Paul Coll
[6] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
11-4, 11-4 (24m)
Nathan Lake (ENG)
[5] Fares Dessouky (EGY)
11-2, 11-8 (26m)
[WC] Benjamin Aubert (FRA)
Fares Dessouky
10-12, 11-5, 11-8 (55m)
Joel Makin
[3] Joel Makin (WAL)
11-8, 11-9 (31m)
[9/16] Alan Clyne (SCO)
[4] Zahed Salem (EGY)
9-11, 11-9, 11-5 (41m)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
 Zahed Salem
11-8, 11-7 (29m)
James Willstrop
 Zahed Salem
11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (39m)
Paul Coll
[8] James Willstrop (ENG)
11-6, 11-6 (28m)
[9/16] Chris Simpson (ENG)
[9/16] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11-7, 9-11, 11-3 (47m)
[7] Declan James (ENG)
Mathieu Castagnet
13-15, 11-3, 11-9 (63m)
Paul Coll
[9/16] George Parker (ENG)
11-6, 11-6 (34m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL)

ROUND ONE

[1] Simon Rösner (GER) bye
[9/16] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Richie Fallows (ENG) 11-13, 11-9, 11-4 (47m)
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt [9/16] Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-2, 11-6 (22m)
[6] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bye
[5] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bye
[WC] Benjamin Aubert (FRA) bt [9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) 10-12, 13-11, 12-10 (59m)
[9/16] Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 11-4, 11-8 (30m)
[3] Joel Makin (WAL) bye
[4] Zahed Salem (EGY) bye
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt [9/16] Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 12-10, 11-9 (30m)
[9/16] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 11-8, 11-5 (32m)
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) bye
[7] Declan James (ENG) bye
[9/16] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 10-12, 11-4, 12-10 (36m)
[9/16] George Parker (ENG) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 11-9, 11-8 (32m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bye

Open de France 2019
Women's Draw
 09 - 14 Sep
Nantes, France, $73.5k

ROUND TWO
11 SEP
QUARTERS
11-12 SEP
SEMIS
13 SEP
FINAL
14 SEP

[1] Camille Serme (FRA)
11-6, 11-4 (22m)
[9/16] Coline Aumard (FRA)

Camille Serme
11-3, 11-6 (19m)
Millie Tomlinson
Camille Serme
11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)
Hania El Hammamy
Camille Serme
9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (58m)
Amanda Sobhy
[8] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
11-8, 11-7 (20m)
[9/16] Milou van der Heijden (NED)
[5] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
11-4, 11-4 (18m)
[9/16] Lisa Aitken (SCO)
Hania El Hammamy
11-3, 11-6 (19m)
Alison Waters
[4] Alison Waters (ENG)
11-6, 11-2 (17m)
[WC] Enora Villard (FRA)
[3] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
11-3, 11-2 (13m)
Haley Mendez (USA)
Amanda Sobhy
11-1, 6-11, 11-1 (25m)
Olivia Blatchford Clyne
Amanda Sobhy
15-13, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6 (46m)
Sarah-Jane Perry
[7] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA)
11-6, 11-7 (21m)11-6, 11-7 (21m)
[9/16] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[9/16] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
11-3, 5-11, 11-8 (37m)
[6] Nele Gilis (BEL)
Emily Whitlock
7-11, 11-8, 11-8 (34m)
Sarah-Jane Perry
Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
11-7, 6-11, 11-7 (30m)
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)

ROUND ONE

[1] Camille Serme (FRA) bye
[9/16] Coline Aumard (FRA) bt Melissa Alves (FRA) 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 (37m)
[9/16] Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 (28m)
[8] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bye
[5] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bye
[9/16] Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt Farida Mohamed (EGY) 11-5, 11-8 (20m)
[WC] Enora Villard (FRA) bt [9/16] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 11-9, 11-7 (24m)
[4] Alison Waters (ENG) bye
[3] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bye
Haley Mendez (USA) bt [9/16] Mayar Hany (EGY) 11-7, 5-11, 11-7 (27m)
[9/16] Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 11-4, 7-11, 11-7 (29m)
[7] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) bye
[6] Nele Gilis (BEL) bye
[9/16] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Menna Nasser (EGY) 11-9, 11-7 (20m)
Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt [9/16] Julianne Courtice (ENG) 11-7, 11-5 (18m)
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bye
 

REPORTS

France’s Serme And New Zealand’s Coll Reign Supreme At Open De France



World No.3, and home favourite, Camille Serme, and New Zealand’s Paul Coll are the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital champions, after they won their respective matches at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne on Saturday evening.

Serme took the title after she defeated US No.1 Amanda Sobhy in an enthralling four-game final. She went a game down though, despite being 8-4 up in the first. From there, the American fought back to win seven of the next eight points to silence the French crowd.

However, they were not quiet for long, as they soon got behind their compatriot, and it gave Serme the boost she needed. The World No.3 dominated the opening part of the second game, and although Sobhy won a few points towards the end, the Frenchwoman took it 11-6 to level the match.

The third game was much tighter, as both players started to show some fatigue in the sweltering conditions on court in Nantes. However, from 6-6, Serme took four straight points to have game ball. Although Sobhy saved two of them, the World No.3 took the game 11-8 to move into a 2-1 lead.

The American started the fourth game just as she needed to by winning the first three points. However, Serme was able to move into a 10-7 lead. Sobhy saved two match balls, but the Frenchwoman converted the third to become the Open de France – Nantes Champion at the first time of asking.

“I am very happy. It has been a while since I won a title and winning here in front of my family, it is a big thing for me,” Serme said emotionally after the win.


Serme (fore) and Sobhy in action in the final

“Even when she won the first, I thought that I made her work physically. We played each other two weeks ago and I came back from 2-0 down and match ball down so I knew that if I made her work physically then I would have a chance.

“I had to keep the rallies as long as possible. The crowd helped, especially in the last few rallies when I was feeling a bit tired. It gives you that extra boost, because you want to win for them as well.

“I think for both of us, I could hear her breathing louder than usually. It was tougher for both of us, but you have to deal with it. It is not easy because you sweat a lot and it makes the racquet slippery, which affects your shots, but it does affect both of you.

“I know it is not a Platinum event, but it is still a big tournament. There were some unbelievable players this week. Playing at home in front of my staff, my family, it is a big thing for me!”

Speaking after the match, Sobhy said: “That is the hardest match I have ever had to play, but I think she just had a bit more juice both physically and mentally in the end.”

In the men’s final, World No.6 Paul Coll got the better of Wales’ Joel Makin in a brutal three-game affair to win the title. The Kiwi ran out the winner in straight games, but it took over 70 minutes in typical ‘Superman’ fashion.

In part, that came down to a mammoth first game, which lasted over 26 minutes. Coll took it on a tie-break to take the momentum into the rest of the match.

The second saw the World No.6 dominate his Welsh counterpart, restricting the ‘Golden Tiger’ to just three points, as he doubled his lead in the match. He then went out into a big lead in the fourth, holding a 9-4 advantage.


Coll in action in the Open de France final

However, the Welsh No.1 was able to fight back, wining five straight points to tie level in the game at 9-9. It would be Coll that went on to win the game, and the match, though, to lift his second title of the calendar year.

“I was very happy with my performance, it was probably my best squash all week which is what you want to do. It was almost like a new event this evening because I only got four or five hours sleep, so mentally I had to be on it today.” Coll explained.

“Joel played really well today but I am happy with my performance and you cannot get better than starting the season with a victory at the first chance.

“I led most of the first game so if I let that slip it would have been a real momentum killer for me. I probably should have closed it out a bit easier, but he came back very strong. I think it was key for me, especially because I was in front for the majority of it, so it would have been flattening had I lost it.

“He was tired, but I honestly think he played his best squash well. He was aggressive and I was probably a bit passive because I thought I had already won. He played his best from 9-4 down which was a bit annoying. I am very happy to close it out in three because it would have been a very tough push to get going again in a fourth.”

After the final, Makin said: “He played some great squash, he was tight, consistent and error-free. It was a tough 70 minutes for 3-0. He was consistent and solid.”
World No.3 Serme Through To Nantes Final
On Home Soil


France’s Camille Serme is through to the final of the Open de France - Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital after she beat Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy in a convincing three-game performance at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.

The pair were meeting for the fourth time on the PSA World Tour, with Serme aiming to keep up her 100% record over the Egyptian, dating back to 2016. She started off with that mindset, restricting the 19-year-old to just four points in the first game.

Serme continued that form into the early part of the second, taking an 8-2 lead. However, the Egyptian looked to fight back, reeling off four straight points. The World No.3 managed to compose herself though, and was able to double her lead in the match with an eventual 11-7 victory in the second game. A similar pattern happened in the third, with Serme going on to take a big lead.

This time, though, El Hammamy managed to come back from 6-1 to level the game at 7-7. However, a couple of strong shots from the Frenchwoman moved her back in front, allowing to comfortably take the victory in 35 minutes, to the rapturous applause of the partisan crowd.

“Obviously, I am very happy to win in three. When it was 2-0, I was actually thinking how nice it would have been to be over. Obviously, I was ready from the start. Even if it was best-of-three, I wanted to keep the momentum going with a really good start and I think I showed that in the first game,” Serme said.

“The third game, I was feeling really hot on court. It is warmer today on court and I think I felt a little bit of fatigue and she came back to 7-7. Luckily, I managed to play two good shots at the right time so I am really happy.

“It is amazing. Every time I think of it, or I hear them [the crowd], I get goosebumps. It is like in the third game, I used the extra push. From the very first match, it was like this and I thought to myself that I wanted to play as much as I could on that court. I just want to finish on a win tonight.

“I think I will be watching [Sobhy v Perry], maybe while I am having dinner to make sure I recover properly. I have been to a couple of finals, but it has been a while since I won a tournament. No pressure on myself but I would really love to win this one!”

Serme will play United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy in the final of the Open de France - Nantes, after the American overcame England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry in a four-game battle at the Chateau.

In the men’s draw, Welshman Joel Makin made it through to the final of the Open de France - Nantes after beating home favourite Gregoire Marche in front of a partisan crowd.

All was not as easy as it sounds though, as Marche took a 2-0 lead. The Frenchman, who had already knocked out the No.1 seed from the tournament earlier this week, got into a rhythm early, as was able to put the ball in the right places. He took the first 11-8, before then controlling the second even more, winning it 11-6 to double his lead and put himself on the verge of victory.

However, the ‘Golden Tiger’ came roaring back into life, as he was able to get in front of Marche on court, and put the pressure on the Frenchman. As the match time ticked over the hour mark, Making took the third game to bring himself back into the match.

The Welshman then dominated the fourth game, bar a few mistakes, to send the match into a decider. In the end, the Welshman had too much for the home favourite, despite the backing of a partisan crowd.

Makin won the fifth 11-7 to seal victory after 95 minutes of brutal squash on the glass court, sending the handful of Welsh and Birmingham fans into raptures. He moves on to the final on Saturday evening.

“I am relieved to get through that one to be honest. I was passive and I got it wrong early on. I sat back too much, even though I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t quite get it right and credit to him, he was moving unbelievably well,” Makin admitted.

“He was taking the ball in and taking his chances. Once it got to 2-0, I knew I needed to take him in and just work him. I had to try and stretch him out and he started to slow down. It was tough after that and it worked in the end.

“The atmosphere has been brilliant all week so I have enjoyed coming down and watching. Seeing your opponent for the next stage gives you a bit of a feel of how they are playing. We have all seen each other loads before but you get a feel for what they are doing this week.”

Makin will play New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the final after the World No.6 got the better of Egypt’s Zahed Salem in the last match of the night. The Kiwi rounded off the semi-finals action with a convincing victory over the Egyptian.
 
No.2 Seeds Coll and Perry Survive Scares
To Reach Semi Finals


New Zealand’s Paul Coll and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry are through to the semi finals of the Open de France - Nantes after both surviving scares in their last eight clashes at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.

The Kiwi played in the final match of the night at the PSA World Tour Silver event, with play going on past midnight. He overcame Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet, to anguish of the partisan crowd that had gathered around the glass court at the Chateau.

The first game was tight all the way through, with both men having several game balls as it went into a tie-break. Castagnet was the man to take it 15-13 to take a lead in the match. However, the World No.6 battled back to take the second game, restricting the Frenchman to just three points, as he levelled the match at one game apiece.

The third and deciding game had a little bit of everything, as both the Kiwi and the home favourite put everything on the line for a place in the semi finals. Eventually, after an epic 63 minute battle, it would be ‘Superman’ that would take the victory. He won the third game 11-9 to seal the win, booking his place in the semi finals.

“I am very relieved to get through that. I thought it was quite high quality in the first [game]. I had my opportunities to close it out which would have been nice, and the I played well in the second,” Coll admitted.

“He [Castagnet] is such a fighter, and I always think that I have got him but he just keeps digging in. He looks like he is about to fall over but he keeps going. He is a real pain, but I loved the battle. It was amazing to hear the crowd and the atmosphere, as much as I didn’t enjoy it, I also absolutely loved it.

“I pushed my shoulders back and stood up a bit taller [in the third game]. I told myself to fight and take the last bit of the game to him. It was now or never if I was going to save it. I had a few mental words to myself to push myself to the finish line.

“It is best-of-five tomorrow so it is probably going to be even later than tonight. I am just going to have a good day tomorrow, sleep as long as possible after doing my recovery tonight. Just relax tomorrow, it is a long day because it is not until the evening that we play, so I will probably have a hit and then see what happens.”

Coll will now face Zahed Salem in the last four of the Open de France - Nantes on Friday evening, as the tournament changes to the traditional best-of-five format. The Egyptian got the better of former World No.1 James Willstrop to make his way into the last four.

Meanwhile in the women’s draw, England’s World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry had to come from behind to overcome compatriot Emily Whitlock to book her place in the semi finals

Birmingham-born Perry started off slowly, with Whitlock taking full advantage of her opponent’s start. In her 250th match on the PSA World Tour, she took the first game 11-7 to move into the lead. However, as the reigning Oracle Netsuite Open champion got into the match, her squash improved, and she was able to battle back to take the second and send the tie into a deciding game.

The third was a tight affair, with neither player wanting to give their opponent any ground. It would be the No.2 seed that would take victory, winning the third 11-8 to book her place in the last four.

“The crowds have been great all week and weirdly, it is really nice when your opponent plays a good rally and they clap, because you then know not to beat yourself up too much. The crowd were fantastic and every point at the end they were up,” Perry said.

“We played in a club match about six months ago and I am not sure that was actually the same player. She [Whitlock] has improved massively and she just came out firing. I watched her the other day and she did the same. It took me a game to get into it, despite telling myself not to do that.

“I had to really dig in there and in the end, I thought I was moving better than I expected to. I think that just about got me over the line in the end. I am happy to come through that because she is playing some really good squash.”

The Englishwoman will face off against US No.1 Amanda Sobhy (left) in the semi-finals, after the World No.8 defeated fellow American Olivia Blatchford Clyne in three games in the opening match of the evening’s action.
 
Marche Defeats Top Seed Rösner
To Reach Semis


France's Gregoire Marche is through to the semi finals of the Open de France - Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital after a spectacular victory over Germany’s Simon Rösner, the top seed at the event, at the glorious Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.

World No.16 Marche came out of the blocks firing, allowing the German to score just three points in the first game. The pair then produced some enthralling squash in the second game, which the ‘Tree Chopper’ took 11-9 to take the match into a third.

The three-time champion of the Open International de Squash de Nantes then took control of the third game, with some wonderful line drives, as he overpowered the World No.5.

Marche will advance to the semi-finals on Friday evening, where he will face Wales’ Joel Makin (left), who overcame Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in the first men’s quarter-final clash of the evening.

“There are no words to describe the feeling I have. I said earlier that this is the only place that I have ever had goosebumps on court. That was two years ago when I beat Mazen [Hesham] in the semis and that time, it was a big win for me,” Marche admitted.

“Today, to beat Simon, the No.1 seed, on that court and in these conditions, as well as it being the first time I have beaten Simon on the Tour, it is unreal. I just feel great and I am definitely going to enjoy my rest day tomorrow and then get ready for Friday.

“It was a tough battle mentally, so it is good to have a day off tomorrow. Joel is a really strong player. He had a really good season last year. I lost twice [to him]. He is really strong, he is tough to beat because he is really patient and he has good structure to his game. I will have to find some solutions to make him work differently.

“It is going to be best-of-five so it will be a different feeling, but there are no words for this crowd. For our sport, this is big, and it is the only time you can find it during the season, for us in France, and the audience are just spectacular.”

There was more home glory, as Camille Serme made it through to the semi-finals after a convincing victory over England’s Millie Tomlinson, which took just 19 minutes.

The World No.3, and top seed of the tournament, wasted no time in sealing the first game, as she restricted Tomlinson to just three points. The second game was tighter, with the Englishwoman holding an early lead. However, Serme came fighting back to take the game, and the match, to the delight of the partisan crowd.

The Frenchwoman will play Hania El Hammamy in the semi finals at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne on Friday evening, after the Egyptian overcame England’s Alison Waters in the first match of the night.

“I am happy and relieved because when you are the No.1 seeded, you want to go all the way through to the final but obviously, you have tough opponents before that,” Serme said.

“I am just happy that this is another step closer. We have had some good matches together and she has had some good matches against Raneem [El Welily] and Laura [Massaro] before so I always take her seriously because she is very talented.

“I use the pressure as more of a boost. I am more nervous about being No.1 seed rather than playing at home. That is an advantage for me because they are very supportive, so it is very positive for me.”

 
Reigning Champions Nele Gilis And Declan James Both Eliminated From Open De France - Nantes

Both Nele Gilis and Declan James, the winners of the last year’s titles, are out of this year’s Open de France – Nantes, after being beaten by England’s Emily Whitlock and France’s Mathieu Castagnet at the spectacular Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.



England’s Emily Whitlock (above) is through to the quarter finals of this year’s Open de France – Nantes after beating defending champion Nele Gilis in a repeat of last year’s final.

The pair met in the final of the 2018 Open International de Squash de Nantes with the Belgian winning a five-game thriller in 72 minutes, but it was the Englishwoman that took victory here.

Once again it went all the way, the only difference being that this clash came under the best-of-three format. Whitlock won the first game quite comfortably, allowing the reigning champion to take just three points.

However, the World No.18 came fighting back, taking the second game 11-5. She then took a six point lead in the third, but a spirited fight back from Whitlock saw her come back to win the third 11-8, booking her place in the last eight of the tournament.

“I stopped thinking after the first game, so I had to switch on and think again and I thought it was too late when I got to 7-7 [in the third]. I am just so happy and the fighting spirit is back!” Whitlock exclaimed.

“Last year I was a different player to what I am now. Physically I fell better, mentally I feel better and even if I had lost today, I was still to move freely and run after every ball. She is so athletic and fit so win or lose, I just wanted to enjoy my time and give it everything.

“I was really relaxed today, almost to relaxed, to the point where in the third I was 7-1 down. I was thinking that I was too flat but I like it here. Even though I came 2nd last year, I like the tournament and it is a nice city and I just want to stay a little bit longer.”

Meanwhile, Mathieu Castagnet made it a pair of losses for the defending champions, as he defeated 2018 Open International de Squash de Nantes winner Declan James in three games.


Mathieu Castagnet in action in his second round clash with Declan James

James shot out to an early lead in this second round clash, but Castagnet reeled off six straight points to fight his way back into the first game. The Frenchman went on to take it 11-7.

The second game was much tighter throughout but the Englishman was able to pull ahead in the latter stages, going on to win it 11-9 to send the match into a decider. However, it would be the Frenchman that took the victory, sending the crowd into raptures, despite the match finishing well after midnight in Nantes.

Castagnet will now face the tournament’s No.2 seed, Paul Coll, in the quarter finals of the event, with the pair playing on the glass court on Thursday evening.

“Declan [James] is a really good player, and he is great when he is in front of you, especially when volleying. I was being really careful on his forehand volley and I tried to play a really tight game against him,” Castagnet said.

“I don’t think it was a really bad two years with all the injuries because I learned a lot of things. I learned how to train differently and how to have a better strategy. You can always find a solution to come back better. It was really special for me to train nine weeks in a row during summer so I was ready for this tournament.”

In the other two matches on the glass court, the tournament’s No.1 seeds, Camille Serme and Simon Rösner, both made it through to the quarter finals, although the latter needed a third game tie-break to advance.


Serme in action in the first match of the glass court session

In the women’s draw along with Emily Whitlock, fellow Englishwoman Millie Tomlinson, Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters are among those to advance to the last eight.
 
French Wildcards Villard and Aubert Advance To Second Round of Open de France

France’s Benjamin Aubert and Enora Villard have made the most of their wildcard spots, as they both won their first round matches at the Open de France - Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital at La Maison du Squash.

World No.56 Enora Villard kicked the PSA Silver event off with a surprise victory over Belgian World No.27 Tinne Gilis in straight games, in the best-of-three format being trialled in Nantes.

The Frenchwoman, ranked 29 places below her first round opponent in Nantes, took an early lead in the first game, one that she would not relinquish.

She did the same in the second, moving out to a 6-2 lead at one point. Although Gilis looked like fighting back at times, Villard battled through to take her place in the second round, beating the Belgian for the first time in her fledgling career.

“The physical side of things played an enormous role today. I was always a fighter, but I was lacking a bit on the speed and the explosivity sides of things. And although I would pick up a lot of shots, I would be a bit late on the ball and not be able to act on them,” Villard said.

“But now, I managed to get early on the ball, and it gives me more choices, and the feeling that I can pick up much more. Those three months of preparation with my coaches, who invested a lot of time and effort in me, really paid off. I felt a bit more pressure today but Philippe reminded me that she is still the favourite, and that I shouldn't feel I had to win. That helped to keep me relaxed.”

Meanwhile, World No.90 Benjamin Aubert produced the victory of the afternoon as he downed Germany’s World No.27 Raphael Kandra in a mammoth three-game battle.

The pair duked it out for 59 minutes at La Maison du Squash, with all three games reaching a conclusion in tie-breaks, as the Frenchman came back from a game down to win.

Kandra took the first 12-10, but Aubert fought back, winning the second 13-11 to force a decider. Both men had match balls, but it was the Frenchman that came out on top.

“At the start I was just petrified with pressure. I couldn't see the ball leaving his racquet, and was finding it difficult to read his left hander shots,” Aubert admitted.

“But I managed to come back, and lost only a close game, that put me back in the game I have to say. The next two will be a bit lucky at times I feel, it was maybe down to the one that wanted it more.

“I was aware he was coming back from Bucharest and the individuals. And also, I was so honoured to have been awarded that wild card, I wanted to make them proud, and I hope I managed to do just that.”

Mathieu Castagnet and Coline Aumard also made it through to the second round of the Open de France - Nantes presented by Tailor Capital, with the pair both having to survive scares in their first round clashes.

Aumard faced off against compatriot Melissa Alves for a place in the last 16, and it was all going well after she won the first game. However, Alves came back into the match, reeling off a string of points to win the second. The World No.33 went on to secure victory after battling back in the third game, booking her place in the second round, and setting up a clash with the tournament’s No.1 seed, Camille Serme.

Meanwhile, compatriot Mathieu Castagnet lost the first game of his clash against India’s Ramit Tandon on a tie-break, only for the Frenchman to fight back, eventually taking the honours after 47 minutes. He goes on to face reigning champion Declan James on the wonderful glass court at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne on Tuesday evening.
 
Previews

French No.1 Serme to Headline
Open de France Draw


French No.1 Camille Serme will headline the Open de France - Nantes 2019 Presented by Tailor Capital when the PSA World Tour Silver tournament takes place between September 9-14 at the picturesque Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.

The Open de France - formally known as the Open International de Squash de Nantes - has this year upgraded to a PSA World Tour event after featuring on the PSA Challenger Tour in 2018 and will use a best-of-three games format up to and including the quarter-finals, before reverting to the traditional best of five format for the semi-finals and beyond.

The increase in prize money and prestige means Nantes will play host to a top-class draw featuring five of the world’s top 10 players across the men’s and women’s events.

Serme, the highest ranked female French player of all time, will be the star attraction as she competes for the lion’s share of the $73,500 prize purse, and the 30-year-old from Créteil will feature alongside high-profile players such as World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry, World No.8 Amanda Sobhy and World No.11 Alison Waters.

Defending champion Nele Gilis and last year’s runner-up Emily Whitlock also return, while French trio Coline Aumard, Melissa Alves and Enora Villard join Serme in the draw.

The men’s draw is headed up by Germany’s World No.5 Simon Rösner, New Zealand’s World No.6 Paul Coll and Welsh World No.13 Joel Makin.

Gregoire Marche - the Aix en Provence-based World No.16 who has won this tournament in three of the past four years - is the highest ranked French player in the men’s draw, while former World No.6 Mathieu Castagnet, Baptiste Masotti and Benjamin Aubert will also carry home hopes on their shoulders.

2018 men’s champion Declan James is seeded seventh for the tournament, ahead of fellow Englishman and former World No.1 James Willstrop, who he beat at the Théâtre Graslin last September to lift his biggest PSA title to date.

The Open de France features an equal prize fund of $147,000 split equally between the men’s and women’s events. Round one matches will be played at La Maison du Squash, while round two matches will be split between that venue and the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne. The Chateau des ducs de Bretagne will host all matches from the quarter-finals onwards.

All of the action from the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour.

Open de France - Nantes 2019 Presented by Tailor Capital: Men’s Entry List
1) Simon Rösner (GER)
2) Paul Coll (NZL)
3) Joel Makin (WAL)
4) Zahed Salem (EGY)
5) Fares Dessouky (EGY)
6) Gregoire Marche (FRA)
7) Declan James (ENG)
8) James Willstrop (ENG)
9) Daryl Selby (ENG)
10) Raphael Kandra (GER)
11) Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
12) Borja Golan (ESP)
13) George Parker (ENG)
14) Chris Simpson (ENG)
15) Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
16) Alan Clyne (SCO)
17) Ramit Tandon (IND)
18) Richie Fallows (ENG)
19) Ben Coleman (ENG)
20) Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND)
21) Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
22) Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
23) Nathan Lake (ENG)
Wildcard) Benjamin Aubert (FRA)

Open de France - Nantes 2019 Presented by Tailor Capital: Women’s Entry List
1) Camille Serme (FRA)
2) Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
3) Amanda Sobhy (USA)
4) Alison Waters (ENG)
5) Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
6) Nele Gilis (BEL)
7) Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA)
8) Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
9) Emily Whitlock (ENG)
10) Nadine Shahin (EGY)
11) Mayar Hany (EGY)
12) Tinne Gilis (BEL)
13) Milou van der Heijden (NED)
14) Julianne Courtice (ENG)
15) Coline Aumard (FRA)
16) Lisa Aitken (SCO)
17) Olivia Fiechter (USA)
18) Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
19) Haley Mendez (USA)
20) Melissa Alves (FRA)
21) Lucy Turmel (ENG)
22) Farida Mohamed (EGY)
23) Menna Nasser (EGY)
Wildcard) Enora Villard (FRA)

 

 History

2018

2017 2016 2015

 

 Schedule

FIRST ROUND
09-10 Sep
SECOND ROUND
11 SEP
QUARTERS
12 SEP
SEMIS
13 SEP
FINAL
14 SEP
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