Three of the four French quarter-finalists progressed to the last four of the World Games Squash Championships as the nation sets its sights on a record medal haul at the Hasta la Vista club in the city of Wroclaw in Poland.
The World Games is the quadrennial multi-sport event for non-Olympic programme sports held under the patronage of the IOC and the 10th edition of the event is the the biggest sports event ever to be staged in Poland.
Frenchmen will be on either side of the men's semi-final draw after Mathieu Castagnet and Gregoire Marche – both 5/8 seeds – fought off quarter-final opposition on the all-glass showcourt at the 33-court Hasta la Vista, the world's largest squash club.
Castagnet, ranked at World No.24 on the PSA Men's World Ranking, twice came from behind to beat German left-hander Raphael Kandra 8-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3.
“He's such a talented guy, definitely much better than he was before,” said 30-year-old Castagnet.
“He has so much control and really good drop shots – it's not easy to play him.
“I led 10-6 in the third and was really depressed that he beat me. My coach Renan (Lavigne) gave me some positive thoughts in the break (pictured above) and that worked – I played much better in the next game.
“I really want to bring back a medal. It's so important for us to do well here. We have to do all we can to get our sport into the Olympics.”
Castagnet's compatriot, Marche, caused the event's biggest upset thus far after the World No.23 saw off second seed Max Lee in straight games.
“Having two of us in the semis is good for France.” Marche said.
“There is a great atmosphere amongst us all – we feel we are part of an Olympic team.
“Being here at the World Games with athletes from other sports is so different from, say, the European Team Championships. We feel all the others sports are behind us.
“Sport is really important for the French. It would be good if we can show we can get medals here – and then at the Olympics.”
Marche's semi-final opponent will be 3/4 seed Diego Elias, a 20-year-old from Lima who is the first Peruvian to compete in the World Games.
After a one-sided start, in which he won 13 points without reply, Elias had a tough battle on his hands trying to fend off Hong Kong's Yip Tsz Fung before winning 11-0, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11.
Elias said: “I've not played him before but he has a really good hand and likes going for his shots.
“I was 8-10 down in the fourth but managed to pull it back.
“Being in the semis feels pretty good – I was really nervous before, so it's a big relief to be through. I think I had a pretty tough draw – and probably the toughest second round opponent – so I'm happy to be playing tomorrow.”
Simon Rösner (left) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (right)
The day's final match treated the capacity crowd in the showcourt arena to a dazzling display of court coverage from top-seeded German Simon Rösner and the 'Colombian Cannonball' Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
In a finely-contested battle, which ended up by being the longest match of the tournament to date, Rösner clinched a 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 victory after 74 minutes to secure his place in the last four, where he will meet Castagnet.
“It's always tough against Miguel,” said World No.11 Rösner.
“I found myself losing the first game – then in the second tried to get more aggressive and play my game. Then I lost my way in the fourth.
“It's the same for all of us, but it's really the first tournament after the summer break and we trying to find some rhythm.
“I had to remind myself that this tournament only happens once every four years so I had to push myself through the pain.
“I'm really happy – but I need to recover now for tomorrow. This event feels like the Olympic Games to us, with other athletes and officials coming to support us. You don't get that too often.”
In the Women’s event, French top seed Camille Serme needed just 19 minutes to see off 20-year-old Egyptian Nadine Shahin 11-3, 11-4, 11-1.
“I was surprised, as I thought it was going to be tougher than that,” Serme said.
“I played her before and beat her 3-0 – but that was tough!
“For us, it’s the middle of summer, so we don’t really know what to expect – but I’m feeling better and better each day.”
Fiona Moverley (left) v Millie Tomlinson (right)
For a place in the final, Serme will face Great Britain's Fiona Moverley, a 5/8 seed who pulled off the only upset in the women's event when she beat Millie Tomlinson, who is ranked five places abover her at World No.23, to claim her first win over her compatriot.
“It's great to be in the semis of the World Games – I'm now guaranteed a medal match. Hopefully I can get on the podium,” said Moverley.
The other women's semi-final will see defending champion and eight-time PSA Women's World Champion Nicol David take on Asian rival Joey Chan.
Hong Kong No.2 Chan, a 3/4 seed, recovered from two games down to beat 5/8 seed Coline Aumard, denying the French camp 100% representation in the semi-finals.
David, meanwhile, overcame training partner Nele Gilis, the 21-year-old from Belgium making her country's debut in the event.
“Nele and I train together in Amsterdam so I knew she would put me under pressure,” said former World No.1 David.
“There were some long rallies and I had to make the big points count.
“I really enjoyed the match – we both wanted to play the ball. It sets me up nicely for tomorrow's semi-finals.”
Results – Quarter-Finals: 2017 World Games Men's Squash Championship
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt [5/8] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 (74m)
[5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) 8-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3 (67m)
¾ Diego Elias (PER) bt [5/8] Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) 11-0, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11 (37m)
[5/8] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt  Max Lee (HKG) 11-8, 11-9, 11-2 (42m)
Draw – Semi-Final
 Simon Rösner (GER) v [5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[5/8] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v ¾ Diego Elias (PER)
Results – Quarter-Finals: 2017 World Games Women's Squash Championship
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [5/8] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 11-3, 11-4, 11-1 (19m)
[5/8] Fiona Moverley (GBR) bt ¾ Millie Tomlinson (GBR) 7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9 (39m)
¾ Joey Chan (HKG) bt [5/8] Coline Aumard (FRA) 7-11, 5-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-8 (50m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [5/8] Nele Gilis (BEL) 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (45m)
Draw – Semi-Final
 Camille Serme (FRA) v [5/8] Fiona Moverley (GBR)
 Nicol David (MAS) v ¾ Joey Chan (HKG)