Gregoire Marche is through to the semi finals of the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital after a spectacular victory over Germany’s Simon Rösner, the top seed at the event, at the glorious Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.
Marche came out of the blocks firing, allowing the German to score just three points in the first game. The pair then produced some enthralling squash in the second game, which the ‘Tree Chopper’ took 11-9 to take the match into a third.
The three-time champion of the Open International de Squash de Nantes then took control of the third game, with some wonderful line drives, as he overpowered the World No.5.
Marche will advance to the semi-finals on Friday evening, where he will face Wales’ Joel Makin, who overcame Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in the first men’s quarter-final clash of the evening.
“There are no words to describe the feeling I have. I said earlier that this is the only place that I have ever had goosebumps on court. That was two years ago when I beat Mazen [Hesham] in the semis and that time, it was a big win for me,” Marche admitted.
“Today, to beat Simon, the No.1 seed, on that court and in these conditions, as well as it being the first time I have beaten Simon on the Tour, it is unreal. I just feel great and I am definitely going to enjoy my rest day tomorrow and then get ready for Friday.
“It was a tough battle mentally, so it is good to have a day off tomorrow. Joel is a really strong player. He had a really good season last year. I lost twice [to him]. He is really strong, he is tough to beat because he is really patient and he has good structure to his game. I will have to find some solutions to make him work differently.
“It is going to be best-of-five so it will be a different feeling, but there are no words for this crowd. For our sport, this is big, and it is the only time you can find it during the season, for us in France, and the audience are just spectacular.”
There was more home glory, as Camille Serme made it through to the semi-finals after a convincing victory over England’s Millie Tomlinson, which took just 19 minutes.
Serme (fore) in action against Tomlinson
The World No.3, and top seed of the tournament, wasted no time in sealing the first game, as she restricted Tomlinson to just three points. The second game was tighter, with the Englishwoman holding an early lead. However, Serme came fighting back to take the game, and the match, to the delight of the partisan crowd.
The Frenchwoman will play Hania El Hammamy in the semi finals at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne on Friday evening, after the Egyptian overcame England’s Alison Waters in the first match of the night.
“I am happy and relieved because when you are the No.1 seeded, you want to go all the way through to the final but obviously, you have tough opponents before that,” Serme said.
“I am just happy that this is another step closer. We have had some good matches together and she has had some good matches against Raneem [El Welily] and Laura [Massaro] before so I always take her seriously because she is very talented.
“I use the pressure as more of a boost. I am more nervous about being No.1 seed rather than playing at home. That is an advantage for me because they are very supportive, so it is very positive for me.”
Results – Men’s Quarter Finals (Top Half): Open de France – Nantes
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 2-1: 10-12, 11-5, 11-8 (57m)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 2-1: 11-5, 9-11, 11-3 (47m)
Results – Women’s Quarter Finals (Top Half): Open de France – Nantes
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 2-0: 11-3, 11-6 (19m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 2-0: 11-3, 11-6 (19m)
Draw – Men’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half): Open de France – Nantes (To be played Thursday 12th September)
 Zahed Salem (EGY) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Draw – Women’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half): Open de France – Nantes (To be played Thursday 12th September)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA)
Emily Whitlock (ENG) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Draw – Men’s Semi Finals: Open de France – Nantes (To be played Friday 13th September)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Joel Makin (WAL)
Draw – Women’s Semi Finals: Open de France – Nantes (To be played Friday 13th September)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Hania el Hammamy (EGY)