A quartet of English players are set to appear in the finals of the 2018 Open International de Squash de Nantes after the main draws for the PSA Challenger Tour event were released today (July 11).
Commonwealth Games gold medalist and former World No.1 James Willstrop is on the opposite side of the draw to number two seed and fellow Englishman Declan James, and the duo are seeded to meet in a blockbuster final at the Théâtre Graslin between September 4-9.
Willstrop could face Egypt’s Zahed Mohamed in the semi-finals, while James is seeded to face home hero Gregoire Marche – who has won this tournament on all three occasions it has been held – in the quarter-finals, before following that up with a fixture against French No.2 Mathieu Castagnet in the last four.
There will be five Frenchmen in action in round one, with World No.65 Auguste Dussourd the highest ranked of those taking part and he will play Canada’s David Baillargeon ahead of a potential round two meeting with Marche.
In the women’s event, English duo Emily Whitlock and defending champion Fiona Moverley are predicted to contest the final. Number three seed Nadine Shahin is set to play Whitlock in the semi-finals, while Moverley and Belgium’s Nele Gilis are seeded to meet in the other semi-final, which would be a repeat of last year’s title decider.
Whitlock could play 2016 winner Hana Ramadan – the first ever winner of the women’s Open International de Nantes – in round two if Ramadan can beat Scotland’s Lisa Aitken on day one, while England’s Rachael Chadwick, who lost out to Ramadan in that final, is also involved as she plays Jasmine Hutton.
Under the new tour structure, the Open International de Nantes has moved from a 16-player draw to a 24-player draw in both the men’s and women’s events, with the top eight seeds being given byes into round two.
$46,000 worth of prize money will be split between the men’s and women’s draws – a record for the tournament – while action will be split between the glass court staged at Théâtre Graslin and the traditional courts based at La Maison du Squash.
The Open International de Nantes will be the first PSA Challenger Tour event to be broadcast on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), and matches taking place on the glass court will be shown live.
Tickets start from €9 and can be purchased from the Open International de Squash de Nantes website.
For more information on the tournament, visit the Open International de Squash de Nantes Facebook page.
Main Draw – Men’s 2018 Open International de Squash de Nantes
 James Willstrop (ENG) (bye)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) v [9/16] Ammar Altamimi (KUW)
[9/16] Charlie Lee (ENG) v [WC] Benjamin Aubert (FRA)
 Lucas Serme (FRA) (bye)
 George Parker (ENG) (bye)
Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) v [9/16] Shehab Essam (EGY)
[9/16] Bernat Jaume (ESP) v Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)
 Zahed Mohamed (EGY) (bye)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) (bye)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v [9/16] Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v [WC) Vincent Droesbeke (FRA)
 Campbell Grayson (NZL) (bye)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) (bye)
David Baillargeon (CAN) v [9/16] Auguste Dussourd (FRA)
[9/16] Mazen Gamal (EGY) v Aqeel Rehman (AUT)
 Declan James (ENG) (bye)
Main Draw – Women’s 2018 Open International de Squash de Nantes
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) (bye)
Hana Ramadan (EGY) v [9/16] Lisa Aitken (SCO)
[9/16] Kace Bartley (ENG) v [WC] Julia Le Coq (FRA)
 Julianne Courtice (ENG) v (bye)
 Milou van der Heijden (NED) (bye)
Cindy Merlo (SUI) v [9/16] Lucy Turmel (ENG)
[9/16] Alison Thomson (SCO) v Ali Hemingway (WAL)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) (bye)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) (bye)
Jasmine Hutton (ENG) v [9/16] Rachael Chadwick (ENG)
[9/16] Chloe Mesic (FRA) v Riina Koskinen (FIN)
 Alexandra Fuller (RSA) (bye)
 Tinne Gilis (BEL) (bye)
Cristina Gomez (ESP) v [9/16] Ineta Mickevica (LAT)
[9/16] Milnay Louw (RSA) v [WC] Marie Stephan (FRA)
 Fiona Moverley (ENG) (bye)