England’s World No.65 Lucy Turmel upset the seedings as she downed number three seed Egypt’s Nadine Shahin under the lights of the 18th century théâtre Graslin to reach the semi-finals of the Open International de Squash de Nantes.
The 18-year-old – who is the youngest player at the tournament – showcased a performance beyond her years as she continued her incredible run in Nantes after defeating number five seed Milou van der Heijden in the previous round.
Turmel is the only unseeded player left in the women’s draw, after she played with confidence on the big stage to condemn World No.30 Shahin to an 11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9 defeat on the first day of quarter-final action.
“I’m really pleased with the result today,” said Turmel following her huge upset.
“It was a tough match, so I’m really excited to be through to the semis. I think playing a higher seeded player sometimes helps me because I don’t really have the pressure on me. I was nervous today, but it was great to play in this venue and I really enjoyed it.”
Turmel will now face top seed and World No.22 Emily Whitlock in an all-England semi-final clash after she came from a game down to defeat compatriot World No.48 Julianne Courtice in the quarter-finals.
“I’m just really happy that I managed to battle through that match,” said 24-year-old Whitlock. “It’s a long summer break and you kind of forget if you have that match battle toughness in you and I feel like I have now.
“Lucy [Turmel] has been playing really well, but I’m going into the match confident and I know if things aren’t going my way then I can battle through like I did today.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s draw, England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop continued the strong English contingent advancing to the semi-finals after he put on a masterclass performance to dispatch France’s World No.35 Lucas Serme in straight-games in front of his home crowd.
Willstrop put aside the tiredness that had affected his performance in the previous round as the 35-year-old hit his targets with pinpoint accuracy to leave Serme without reply and move a step closer to the final.
“I think my match last night did me a lot of good, I came out and I was pretty sharp. I played on the court, which Lucas hadn’t done, and that’s an advantage for me, it just worked well for me today.
“The atmosphere is amazing. The reason I played this event was because I had heard how good it was from all the players and the standard of the event is so high. It’s great to experience a new city and a new venue with people really pushing the sport out and progressing the game.”
Willstrop will now face Egypt’s Zahed Salem for a place in the final after the World No.31 came from 2-0 down to defeat England’s George Parker.
22-year-old Parker took the lengthy first game, which lasted 27 minutes before doubling his advantage in the second after Salem was forced to take an injury break.
However, the Egyptian World No.31 battled back to disrupt Parker’s focus and take what proved to be a pivotal third game as he won 13-15, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 in 95-minutes.
“I can’t describe how happy I am to win after being 2-0 down,” said the 26-year-old Egyptian following his match.
“I haven’t played George before, but I knew he was going to be dangerous and that it would be a tough match. I expected that it would go to five, there were a few decisions and then the injury caused me to lose a bit of concentration, but I knew I had to give it my best and make myself proud and in the end, I did that.”
Results – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top-Half)
 Zahed Salem (EGY) bt  George Parker (ENG) 3-2: 13-15, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (95m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)
Results – Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top-Half)
Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt  Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9 (49m)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt  Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-1: 11-13, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 (57m)
Draw – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom-half) – To be played September 7
 Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Declan James (ENG)
Draw – Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom-half) – To be played September 7
 Nele Gilis (BEL) v  Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
 Tinne Gilis (BEL) v  Fiona Moverley (ENG)