Unseeded Declan James triumphed in a surprise all-Nottingham final of the MANTIS fantasysquash.com Nottingham Open to win the first Tour title of his career at the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 event at his home club Nottingham Squash Rackets Club in the English city of Nottingham.
The 20-year-old former European Junior Champion made his breakthrough in the opening round where he upset fellow Englishman Joel Hinds, the third seed, in straight games.
James reached his first Tour final after overcoming Englishman Nathan Lake in four games.
His final opponent was qualifier Chris Fuller, a Nottingham-based 22-year-old who ousted Egypt’s No4 seed Zahed Mohamed in the first round, then stunned Farhan Zaman, the No2 seed from Pakistan, in the semi-finals to reach the third Tour final of his career.
“From the off, it was clear that both players had done their research on one another,” explained event spokesperson Vicky Clark. “Fuller’s game plan was to stifle Dec’s creativity enforcing a punishing deep length game. James on the other hand seemed more than prepared for this and was happy to trade at the back of the court before taking his opportunity to attack.”
Eager to make amends for his straight games defeat to Fuller in their previous Tour clash, James marched on to secure his career breakthrough 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 victory and his maiden senior title.
“So happy to get my first win tonight, couldn’t ask for a better start to the season,” tweeted James later. “Thanks so much to my friends and family for the support.
“And a huge thank you to my sponsors
DunlopSport and hitecsports for their continued support. Also big thank you my coach
philipwhitlock and everyone at ESRCoachPerform their support is crucial.”
Declan James (ENG) bt [Q] Chris Fuller (ENG) 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6
Declan James (ENG) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 15-13, 11-9, 6-11, 15-13
[Q] Chris Fuller (ENG) bt  Farhan Zaman (PAK) 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt Thomas Ford (ENG) 12-10, 11-3, 11-8
Declan James (ENG) bt [Q] Robert Downer (ENG) 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4
[Q] Chris Fuller (ENG) bt [Q] Richie Fallows (ENG) 9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-5
2 Farhan Zaman (PAK) bt [WC] Ollie Holland (ENG) 11-8, 11-2, 7-11, 11-6
Thomas Ford (ENG) bt  Jan Koukal (CZE) 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt [Q] Jerome Dadot (FRA) 11-8, 11-8, 11-3
[Q] Robert Downer (ENG) bt Steven London (ENG) 11-4, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6
Declan James (ENG) bt  Joel Hinds (ENG) 11-7, 11-7, 11-6
[Q] Chris Fuller (ENG) bt  Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 12-10, 11-6, 11-0
[Q] Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Reuben Phillips (ENG) 11-5, 3-11, 11-3, 11-8
[WC] Ollie Holland (ENG) bt Ahmed Atef (EGY) 11-6, 5-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-1
2 Farhan Zaman (PAK) bt Karamatullah Khan (PAK) 11-7, 11-7, 11-4
Jerome Dadot (FRA) bt Rory Pennell (ENG) 11-1, 11-7, 11-4
Chris Fuller (ENG) bt Angus Gillams (ENG) 2-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5
Robert Downer (ENG) bt Alex Phillips (ENG) 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5
Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Tom de Mulder (BEL) 11-6, 11-9, 11-7
1st qualifying round:
Rory Pennell (ENG) bt Daniel Soar (ENG) 11-9, 13-15, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4
Jerome Dadot (FRA) bt David Wardle (ENG) 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4
Angus Gillams (ENG) bt David Haley (WAL) 11-8, 11-8, 11-3
Chris Fuller (ENG) bt Lyell Fuller (ENG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-2
Alex Phillips (ENG) bt Nick Hargreaves (ENG) 11-4, 11-7, 11-8
Robert Downer (ENG) bt George Parker (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6
Richie Fallows (ENG) bt Josh Taylor (ENG) 12-10, 11-4, 11-7
Tom de Mulder (BEL) bt Taminder Gata-Aura (ENG) 18-16, 11-7, 14-12