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Paul Coll (fore) booked his place in the quarter finals of the Open de France - Nantes this afternoon

Open de France: No Shocks In Afternoon Session as All Seeds Make Quarters

The afternoon session on day two went to plan for all the seeded players in action, as they all safely made it through to the quarter finals of the Open de France – Nantes.

Once again, the afternoon’s action took place at La Maison du Squash, with the seeded players entering their respective draws at this stage.

There were no shocks in the twelve matches, while only two of those went the distance. Sarah-Jane Perry needed three games to get past Alexandra Fuller, while Zahed Salem came from 1-0 down to beat compatriot Youssef Ibrahim.

Dessouky Powers Into Open de France Last Eight

Dessouky (left) and Aubert in action (Photo: Philippe Rochais)

Egypt’s Fares Dessouky overcame a spirited performance from French wildcard Benjamin Aubert to book his spot in the quarter finals in Nantes.

The Egyptian, who is still moving back up the rankings after a 14-month layoff through an ACL injury, allowed the World No.90 just two points in the first game.

Aubert fought back in the second game, but Dessouky was able to get over the line, recording a straight-games victory in his first match of the season, moving through to the last eight.

“I had never seen him play, and yesterday, he played early, so I didn’t have a chance to catch him on court. As I knew he beat Kandra, I came on court not knowing what to expect, and gave him all due respect,” Dessouky explained.

“At the start, he surprised me with his aggression, so I just adapted my game, as I knew he was obviously ready for that match, and wanted to take his space. I still got my shots in, and I didn’t want to make any unnecessary stops.

“Today was a test for me, and I’m happy with the result. Best-of-three really changes the tactics, and levels it down. Normally, top players will win on physicality, but with those short matches, anything can happen and anybody can win.” 

Result – Men’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[5] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [WC] Benjamin Aubert (FRA) 2-0: 11-2, 11-8 (26m)

Waters Defeats Wildcard Villard To Reach Quarters

Waters (fore) at La Maison du Squash in her match with Villard

England’s Alison Waters is through to the quarter finals of the Open de France – Nantes after a commanding victory over wildcard Enora Villard.

The Frenchwoman came into this match off the back of a big win over Tinne Gilis on day one, and she started the better of the pair. However, Waters was able to fight back to take the first 11-6.

The second was easier for the World No.11, who allowed the wildcard to win just two points, as she booked her place in the last eight, and a match on the glass court at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.

“I watched her play Tinne [Gilis] yesterday and she obviously had a really good result so coming into the match, I knew I had to be on the ball from the start. However, I went 3-0 down [in the first] and I had to make sure I didn’t panic,” Waters explained.

“Once I found my length and lines I started to feel more confident on there and it is nice to get a first win of the season. I lost in the first round in China so it is nice to come here and relax and go for it, so I am pleased to get the win.

“It looks awesome. I have heard such great things about it, especially with the atmosphere and the crowd, so that was another motivation for me to get through, so I am really looking forward to tomorrow night.”

Result – Women’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[4] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [WC] Enora Villard (FRA) 2-0: 11-6, 11-2 (17m)

Makin Downs Clyne in Battle of Britain

Joel Makin (left) and Alan Clyne doing battle in Nantes

Welshman Joel Makin is into the quarter finals of the Open de France – Nantes after beating Scotland’s Alan Clyne in the second round at La Maison du Squash.

The World No.12 started well, but saw Clyne battle his way back into the first game. The Wales No.1 was able to go on and take the first game 11-8, though.

The second was a closer affair, but Makin was able to take the victory, setting up a clash with Fares Dessouky on the glass court on Tuesday evening

“Alan is always tricky, he is quite unorthodox. He played a couple of nice backhand drops that caught me quickly. You just can’t put him into that front backhand area without pressure against him,” Makin said.

“None of us have played a great deal of best-of-three, so it is obvious that you have to be on it from the start and you haver to be intense. You can go up a level of pace because you know it is not going to be 90 minutes, realistically.

“The venue looks great. It is always great here. Playing Fares, who has been in good form, and he got a couple of wins at the end of the season. I am looking forward to it very much.”

Result – Men’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[3] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 2-0: 11-8, 11-9 (31m)

El Hammamy Into Last Eight After Beating Aitken

El Hammam (left) and Aitken on court in Nantes (Photo: Nicolas Barbeau)

Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy is through to the last eight after dispatching Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in the second round of the Open de France – Nantes.

The 19-year-old was facing the Scot for the first time in her short professional career, and she made her mark I the match from the very beginning.

The Egyptian only conceded eight points in the entirety of the match, and needed just 18 minutes to secure victory, setting up a clash with Alison Waters in the quarter finals.

“It was my first time playing her, but I had seen her at the end of last season, I knew she had had a couple of good wins, and that she was a very tricky player, beautiful hands, and good at lifting the ball as well,” the Egyptian said.

“I didn’t want to let the first game go, I wanted to take it as quickly as possible, not to give her any chances. I’m happy I managed to do that.

“She is so skilled with the racquet, I made sure I put the ball as far away from her as possible, to avoid her volleying and finding her great shots. Very happy with the way I adapted my game and how I contained her.”

Result – Women’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[5] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 2-0: 11-4, 11-4 (18m)

Willstrop Overcomes Simpson In All-English Clash

Willstrop (fore) in action against Chris Simpson

James Willstrop is through to the quarter finals of the Open de France – Nantes after he got the better of compatriot Chris Simpson in the round of 16.

The former World No.1 had full control throughout the match, beating Simpson 11-6 in both games, booking his place in the quarter finals.

Willstrop, who reached the final of last year’s Open International de Squash de Nantes, will return to the glass court in the city, this time at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.

“The first event of the season is really a mental test, it’s all down to experience at the start of the new season. I always expect the worst, so when it does happen, I’m ready. I live it a million times, after summer training, you don’t know what to expect, and if you expect some great squash, you are often disappointed,” Willstrop explained.

“So at 4-0 down, I told myself, the rallies are good, I’ll just keep battling on, and it did. At 6-6 in the second, I’m not sure I did anything specific. It’s more about buckling yourself up. In my opinion, it could have gone either way, it’s really fine lines, we’ve played a lot last year, and it could have gone his way at that point.”

Result – Men’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[8] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-6 (28m)

Tomlinson Defeats Van Der Heijden To Reach Last Eight

Tomlinson in action against Milou van der Heijden in Nantes

Millie Tomlinson is through to the quarter finals of the Open de France after getting the better of Dutch No.1 Milou van Der Heijden in straight games.

It was the Englishwoman’s first match of the season, but she got straight into it, and consistently was able to keep the Dutchwoman at bay during the first game.

Tomlinson then took the second as well to wrap up a convincing victory, booking her spot in the quarter finals, and a match on the glass court at Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.

“I was a bit nervous because it was my first match of the season. I know Milou has improved as well, she has shortened her swing and she looks a bit faster and stronger, so she has obviously worked hard over the summer,” Tomlinson said.

“You have to make sure you are properly warmed up and up for it from the first point. I think I tried to play a bit faster because I knew it was maximum three games, so I could put everything into it.

“I have not seen the court yet, but from the photographs they have put up it looks amazing, so it will be a really cool opportunity.”

Result – Women’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[8] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 2-0: 11-8, 11-7 (20m)

Marche Downs Lake In Straight Games

Marche (fore) and Lake duking it out in Nantes

Gregoire Marche is through to the quarter finals of the Open de France – Nantes, after he comfortably beat Nathan Lake in the second round at La Maison du Squash.

The home favourite is a three-time winner of the Open International de Squash de Nantes, doing so 2015, 2016 and 2017, and he is looking to go far again this year.

Marche needed just 24 minutes to defeat the Englishman in his first round match, allowing Lake to score just eight points, as he booked his spot in the quarter finals.

“I have never played Nathan on the PSA, but I watched some of his games, especially his match with Tom Richards at the British Open, and it was really close. Obviously, to beat [Daryl] Selby yesterday as well, I knew it could be tricky today,” Marche admitted.

“I was a bit stressed at the beginning because you never know what to expect in the first match of the season. I just tried to be patient and take the opportunities when I had them, and I played solid for the whole two games.

“I was disappointed to see I would not be playing on the glass for my first match in Nantes, so I knew that I had to play on there!”

Result – Men’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[6] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 2-0: 11-4, 11-4 (24m)

Blatchford Clyne Beats Shahin In Two

Blatchford Clyne (fore) in action against Nadine Shahin

Olivia Blatchford Clyne is through to the quarter finals of the Open de France – Nantes after beating Egypt’s Nadine Shahin at La Maison du Squash on day two.

The US No.2 took the first game 11-6, after showing some great control to force the Egyptian into some mistakes. She then took the second 11-7 to secure victory inside 21 minutes.

Blatchford Clyne will now move onto the glass court at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne for her quarter final match on Thursday evening.

“Nadine just came back from China with an humongous win and some mighty good results. Yesterday Lucy Turmel played extremely well, and Nadine beat her too, but I saw some areas where I could hit into,” Blatchford Clyne explained.

“Still, I decided to let my legs run, and you know what? At the end of the match, my heart was bursting, and I was loving the feeling. I went on there to do battle, and I did. It was a good match, not perfect, but I have stopped expecting perfect for a few years now.”

Result – Women’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[6] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 2-0: 11-6, 11-7 (21m)

Salem Wins All-Egypt Clash With Ibrahim

Salem (left) in action with Ibrahim on court in Nantes

Zahed Salem overcame compatriot Youssef Ibrahim in an all-Egyptian second round clash at La Maison du Squash in the Open de France – Nantes.

The tournament’s No.4 seed dropped the first game to Ibrahim, who had secured a good win over Iker Pajares Bernabeu in the first round on Monday.

However, Salem was able to battle back to take the victory in three games, the first match to go the distance on the second day. He goes through to face James Willstrop on the glass court at Chateau des ducs de Bretagne on Thursday evening.

“It’s always hard for us to play young Egyptians, because we train together, and we know each other’s game. First tournament of the new season, first best-of-three! It’s so different, and after losing the first game, you are in great danger of losing the match!” Salem admitted.

“He played very well in the first game, with a fast pace, but I managed to slow the pace down from the second onwards, and made sure I kept him away from the middle, by straightening all my shots. I mixed them up a bit of course, but still, tried to keep it as straight as possible.

“I’m so proud today to win, because I had so much trouble to come here. I’m so happy, only arrived last night, so very happy to have a day off tomorrow before playing James [Willstrop].”

Result – Men’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[4] Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 2-1: 9-11, 11-9, 11-5 (41m)

Sobhy Cruises Into Quarter Finals

Sobhy (right) in action against Haley Mendez (Photo: Nathalie Goossens)

World No.8 Amanda Sobhy is through to the last eight in Nantes, after she dispatched compatriot Haley Mendez in just 13 minutes at La Maison du Squash.

The US No.1 was playing in her first match of the new season, coming off the back of completing the triple-double at the Pan-American Games in Peru over the summer.

She brought that momentum to France, allowing her opponent just five points, defeating Mendez 11-3, 11-2 to book her place in the last eight, and a clash with another American in Olivia Blatchford Clyne.

“The first match of the season is always seeing where you stand and what it is like to play a match again. Fortunately I got to play a bunch of matches in July at the Pan-American Games so I feel like my season started a long time ago,” Sobhy explained.

“It teaches you to play under pressure, because going in there [to Peru], the expectation was to win three Gold medals again and it would be a major shock if I didn’t.

“It was a good confidence booster, and we could not have done any better as a team, but it was brutal! I am excited to play in a different venue. I have heard great things about this tournament so to be able to play in it this year is huge. And this just adds to the list of iconic venues we play in, now we are playing inside a chateau!”

Result – Women’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[3] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 2-0: 11-3, 11-2 (13m)

Coll Downs Parker To Reach Last Eight

Coll (fore) in action against George Parker

Paul Coll is into the quarter finals of the Open de France – Nantes 2019 after a convincing victory over England’s George Parker at La Maison du Squash.

The Kiwi, seeded No.2 for this week’s event, controlled the match well, forcing the Englishman into several mistakes. Coll won the first 11-6, before then taking the second by the same scoreline.

The Kiwi’s 35 minutes victory will set up a clash with either home favourite Mathieu Castagnet or reigning champion Declan James on Thursday evening

“I was happy with that. I think it was very high quality squash. It was 5-5 so I had to keep telling myself that I was playing well and that it was just a high quality game. At the end of that, I kept going and he just fell away at the end of the first,” Coll admitted.

“There was not a lot in the whole match, maybe I got him a little bit physically. Overall, it was a good match and I am happy to come away with the win.

“The French boys always play well here, so it will be a test for Declan [James] and I think it is going to be a really good match. I might watch that one, and then I have a rest day tomorrow, where I will probably train all day.”

Result – Men’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt George Parker (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-6 (35m)

Perry Downs Fuller In Three To Reach Quarters

Sarah-Jane Perry (fore) doing battle with Alexandra Fuller

England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry is into the last eight of the Open de France – Nantes after defeating South African Alexandra Fuller in their second round clash.

The World No.7 took control in the first game, but the South African battled back in the second to send the match into a deciding leg at La Maison du Squash.

However, it would be Perry that booked her place in the quarter finals, as she won the third game 11-7 to set up a clash with either compatriot Emily Whitlock or reigning champion Nele Gilis on Thursday evening.

“In the first game, it was a bit frantic, but I thought I settled there, but in the second, the ball died a bit, and she stepped up quite nicely, and I played into her hands there,” Perry admitted.

“In the third, I found my length again, it was still a bit patchy and she was still playing very well, but my length was just good enough to pin her to the back, which I should have done more really, because anything loose, she is very good.”

“Every year, I go to China to try and get to the glass court, but I seem to lose every year in the quarters, no matter who I’m playing, so this year, I thought I would go for a one hour flight instead of a 12 hour flight, as everybody told me Nantes was great, and here I am, playing on the glass court.”

Result – Women’s Round Two: Open de France – Nantes
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 2-1: 11-7, 6-11, 11-7 (30m)

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