The main draw of the Open International de Squash de Nantes begins today (Wednesday September 7) as the SQUASHTV cameras head to France for the first time in history, with a number of the world’s top 50 players battling it out for honours in the Men’s PSA M25 tournament.
World No.19 Daryl Selby tops the draw as he bids to win a first PSA World Tour crown since the Grasshopper Cup in April 2012.
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The Englishman has 11 PSA World Tour titles to his name, but is currently in the midst of the longest title-drought of his 12-year career. However, at 33 years of age, Selby is one of the most experienced in the draw and is in with a real chance of winning silverware if he can rediscover the form that took him into the world’s top 10 as recently as 2014.
Selby gets his tournament up and running against a Jaymie Haycocks in round one and could face United States No.1 Todd Harrity in the quarter-final if both players win their opening round fixtures.
World No.23 Chris Simpson is seeded to meet fellow Englishman Selby in the final, with the 29-year-old tasting success in France back in May with victory at the IG Open de Paris.
Simpson’s other PSA World Tour title during last season came at the CLIC Sargent St George’s Hill Open 10 months ago, where he defeated Selby in the showpiece finale to take the plaudits there. Guernsey-based Simpson begins his tournament against wildcard Geoffrey Demont and is likely to face compatriot Declan James – his final opponent in Paris – in the last eight.
Tom Richards and defending champion Gregoire Marche, the World No.26 and No.29, respectively, are also amongst the title favourites. Like Selby, Richards is looking for his first PSA World Tour title in four years, and the former World No.12 will be hoping to play to his full potential in Nantes.
Marche, meanwhile, will be performing on home soil and the full support of a vociferous home crowd could be enough to spur the Frenchman on to back-to-back titles at this tournament, with the 2015 iteration seeing him defeat Finland’s Henrik Mustonen in the final.
26-year-old Marche opens up against Richie Fallows, while Richards is set to go head-to-head with India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar for a quarter-final berth.
A PSA W5 Women’s tournament has also been included for the first time ever and the main draw begins a day later with World No.58 Chloe Mesic headlining the field in her native country.
Mesic, 25, is currently at a career-high ranking after a strong 2015/16 season that saw her reach the finals of both the Open International des Volcans and Sekisui Open.
The Frenchwoman, who plays Nia Davies in the first round, will face stiff competition for the title from the likes of South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller and Egypt’s Hana Ramadan, the latter of whom won her maiden PSA World Tour title in July’s Bendigo International.
Elise Romba lies in wait for Fuller in round one, while 18-year-old Ramadan will be aiming to get her tournament off to a perfect start against wildcard Sarah Mekhalfi.
Draw – First Round: Men’s Open International de Squash de Nantes 2016
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)
[Q] Joel Makin (ENG) v  Todd Harrity (USA)
 Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Jens Schoor (GER)
[Q] Richie Fallows (ENG) v  Gregoire Marche (FRA)
 Tom Richards (ENG) v Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND)
Ben Coleman (ENG) v  Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
 Declan James (ENG) v [Q] Christophe Andre (FRA)
[WC] Geoffrey Demont (FRA) v  Chris Simpson (ENG)
Draw – First Round: Women’s Open International de Squash de Nantes 2016
 Chloe Mesic (FRA) v Nia Davies (WAL)
[Qualifier] v  Laura Pomportes (FRA)
 Tessa ter Sluis (NED) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Sarah Mekhalfi (FRA) v  Hana Ramadan (EGY)
 Enora Villard (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Marta Latorre Ramirez (ESP) v  Nadia Pfister (SUI)
 Rachael Chadwick (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Elise Romba (FRA) v  Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
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