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Throwback Thursday: The Story of the 2017 Men’s Open International de Squash de Nantes

The Open International de Squash de Nantes kicks off the live squash season next week as the tournament takes place from 4 – 9 September.

A high quality draw will see the likes of former World No.1 James Willstrop and France’s three-time tournament champion Gregoire Marche battle it out for the men’s title. While the women’s draw will see the likes of England’s Emily Whitlock, Fiona Moverley – who won the title last year – Belgium’s Nele Gilis and Egypt’s Nadine Shahin all battle it out for the women’s honours.

To get you in the mood we take a look back at the story of last year’s men’s tournament.

Results
Round One
Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [8] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 14-12 (47m)
[7] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt [WC] Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-1: 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (41m)
[3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [Q] George Parker (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 12-14, 11-7, 11-7 (47m)
Ben Coleman (ENG) bt [6] Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-6 (55m)
[5] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Shehab Essam (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 4-11, 11-8, 11-4 (48m)
[4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Mohammad Alsarraj (JOR) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 (39m)
[1] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [Q] Mazen Gamal (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (45m)
[2] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5 (68m)


Round one of the men’s tournament went according to seeding for the most part with only number six seed England’s Declan James and Egypt’s number eight seed Mohamed Reda falling at the first hurdle.
England’s Ben Coleman and Finland’s Olli Tuominen were the respective victors in those two clashes with the two unseeded players securing their place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Quarter-finals
[3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-1: 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7 (39m)
[1] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [5] Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (46m)
[4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [7] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4 (44m)
Ben Coleman (ENG) bt [2] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-4 retired (53m)

In the quarter-finals, Coleman continued to cause surprises as he took out one of the home favourites – France’s number two seed Mathieu Castagnet by a 3-1 scoreline.

Meanwhile, the other top three seeds all emerged unscathed as France’s Gregoire Marche comfortably defeated England’s Chris Simpson – in his first tournament since a hip injury – by a 3-0 scoreline to move closer to his third title at the tournament.

While, Egypt’s Mazen Hesham and Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller defeated Finland’s Tuominen and Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, respectively.

Semi-finals
[1] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [3] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 7-11, 11-1, 14-12 (58m)
[4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4 (48m)

France’s Marche continued his march towards a hattrick as he saw off Egypt’s Hesham.

Marche went head-to-head with Hesham in a high-octane battle as he saw a two-game lead cut in half by a resurgent Hesham but the Frenchman overturned four game balls in the fourth to seal an 11-6, 7-11, 11-1, 14-12 victory that put him one win away from a third straight title in Nantes.

Swiss Rocket Mueller ensured he would feature in the title decider of the PSA M25 tournament after he defeated Coleman to earn a place in his first Tour final since 2014.

Final
[1] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 (70m)

Marche lifted his third Open International de Squash de Nantes title in a row, as he defeated Mueller in a five-game thriller.

After taking the opening game, Marche fell to a 2-1 deficit after Mueller fought his way into the encounter. But with the crowd on his side, Marche came back into the match and got the better of Mueller in some blistering exchanges to complete an 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 victory in 70 minutes.

“I think at 2-1 down I couldn’t see myself winning the match,” said Marche following his victory last year.

“But I just thought to myself that I needed to do something even if I didn’t win. So I pushed myself and I just wanted to be in front of him and take ‘T’ because he is a big guy and I needed to put him at the back.

“I love playing here and the crowd is just something that you can’t see throughout the year so it’s great.”

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