English quartet in men’s quarter-finals
By SEAN REUTHE
A trio of Englishmen, headed by World No.23 Chris Simpson, were victorious on the second day of first round action at the Open International de Squash de Nantes, PSA M25 tournament held at the Cité Internationale des Congrès.
Second seed Simpson came up against tournament wild card Geoffrey Demont in his opening round fixture and recovered from a slow start to rise to an 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 victory.
“I think I just tried to work on the process and playing good squash,” said Simpson. “He played some unbelievable shots and I had hit the ball into the middle of the court. I just tried to work on my end and I knew that if he could carry on hitting those unbelievable shots then I was going to be quite surprised.
“No one can carry on at that rate, so I knew that level was going to drop at some point.”
Simpson will line up against compatriot Declan James in the next round after James put in an imposing performance to overcome French qualifier Christopher Andre.
Andre, the World No.107, came through qualifying to progress to the main draw, beating the experienced Piedro Schweertman in the process, and fared well in the early stages.
However, the high intensity and immaculate width of James’s shots soon came to the fore the longer the match went on, enabling the World No.39 to complete the win by an 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 margin in 37 minutes.
“I’m very happy to win in three games,” said James. “I haven’t seen Christophe play much, but I’ve heard many good things about him. I know he’s not been on the Tour that long and I heard he is very good with the racket.
“It was the first match of the season, there are going to be a few nerves and I felt like I couldn’t let my head drop for one minute or otherwise he could come back.”
Tom Richards was the other Englishman to prevail on day two after he overcame Indian opposition in Mahesh Mangaonkar.
The match began on an even keel, with a series of punishing, attritional rallies playing out in front of a packed crowd, but Richards’ experience and patience eventually paid off and the 30-year-old wrapped up the win in straight games.
“I was trying to get a feel for the court, I felt pretty good, so I was trying to make it tough for him and put some miles into his legs,” Richards said.
“As the match progressed, I felt more and more comfortable on the court and I dominated the middle a little bit more than Mahesh. He likes to volley, as I do, and I think I slightly won that battle and that meant that I won the match.”
World No.50 Ben Coleman was the only Englishman to exit the tournament on the second day of action after he succumbed to Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi, who will face Richards next.
In the inaugural PSA W5 Women’s tournament, French duo Chloe Mesic and Laura Pomportes ensured that there would be home interest in the last eight after they defeated Nia Davies and Marina de Juan Gallach, respectively.
Mesic and Pomportes will now face off for a place in the semi-final, while there were also wins for the likes of title contenders Alexandra Fuller and Hana Ramadan.
2016 Open International de Squash de Nantes, France.
Men’s First Round Results (Bottom Half):
 Tom Richards (ENG) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-8 (45m)
 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 13-11, 11-7 (59m)
 Declan James (ENG) bt [Q] Christophe Andre (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 (37m)
 Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [WC] Geoffrey Demont (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (32m)
Men’s Quarter-Final Draw:
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Joel Makin (WAL)
 Olli Tuominen (FIN) v  Gregoire Marche (FRA)
 Tom Richards (ENG) v  Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
 Declan James (ENG) v  Chris Simpson (ENG)
Women’s First Round Results:
 Chloe Mesic (FRA) bt Nia Davies (WAL) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 12-10 (20m)
 Laura Pomportes (FRA) bt [Q] Marina de Juan Gallach (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (25m)
 Tessa ter Sluis (NED) bt [Q] Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 (32m)
 Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt [WC] Sarah Mekhalfi (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-1, 11-5 (15m)
[Q] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt  Enora Villard (FRA) 3-1: 11-3, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 (46m)
 Nadia Pfister (SUI) bt Marta Latorre Ramirez (ESP) 3-2: 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12 (54m)
 Rachael Chadwick (ENG) bt [Q] Charlotte Delsinne (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (20m)
 Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt Elise Romba (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (19m)
Women’s Quarter-Final Draw:
 Chloe Mesic (FRA) v  Laura Pomportes (FRA)
 Tessa ter Sluis (NED) v  Hana Ramadan (EGY)
[Q] Julianne Courtice (ENG) v  Nadia Pfister (SUI)
 Rachael Chadwick (ENG) v  Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
Pictures by Jérôme Folliot courtesy of PSA