Daryl Selby sees off gutsy Joel Makin
By SEAN REUTHE
There is guaranteed to be an English finalist in the 2016 Open International de Squash de Nantes, PSA M25 tournament after World No.19 Daryl Selby, World No.23 Chris Simpson and World No.26 Tom Richards all triumphed in their quarter-final fixtures at the Cité Internationale des Congrès.
Selby stepped up his attempts to win a first PSA World Tour title since 2012 after he dispatched Welshman Joel Makin in an entertaining encounter. An early 80-shot rally set the stall out for a high-octane affair, with Selby eventually winning in a deceptively difficult 3-0 victory to reach the semi-final stage.
“I thought my length was good, but I just couldn’t get it to die off, and he picked up so many balls,” said Selby.
“He makes you win the rally three, four or five times, but I’m really happy with the way I played. If I hadn’t have been as sharp as I was and playing as well as I was then that could have potentially been a big upset because he is playing much, much higher than his ranking.
“Last month in the Australian Open, he beat [World No.33] Paul Coll 3-0, so that says it all really. I knew I was in for a tough game and I’m delighted that I came off and won 3-0.”
Simpson is also through to the last four after overcoming World No.39 Declan James in an all-English affair.
The Guernsey-born 29-year-old was appearing in his 350th PSA World Tour match and built up a one-game lead before a mature display from James, six years Simpson’s junior, restored parity.
The duo contested a number of brutal rallies in a high-octane third game, with Simpson coming out on top again after unforced errors began to creep into James’s game, and the higher-ranked Englishman closed the fourth out impressively to secure safe passage through to the semi-final by an 11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 margin.
“Dec and I haven’t played a lot, but we’ve trained a lot and we actually played in the final of a tournament the same size as this in Paris at the end of last season,” Simpson said.
“I knew that he was playing above his ranking, above his seeding here and it was a very tough draw and a very tough match.
“I tried to stop Declan from having the middle of the court because he’s very big and his skills are his strength, so I tried to keep it very tight. I thought I did that very well, apart from the second game when maybe I hit too many errors.”
Simpson will go head-to-head with Richards for a place in the final after Richards dispatched Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi in a punishing five-game battle to progress.
The 30-year-old from Guildford went two games up and on the cusp of victory, before a tenacious display from Fathi brought the match back to all square. But Richards then dominated the court to build up seven match balls, and he converted at the second attempt to wrap up a punishing win in five.
“I switched off a little bit for the two games I lost,” Richards admitted.
“He played better, he played well, and I was really annoyed with myself after the fourth game. I just thought that I had done so much training throughout the summer, so I might as well give it all I can in the fifth and luckily it paid off.”
Defending champion Gregoire Marche is the only non-Englishman left in the draw after he saw off Finland’s Olli Tuominen on home soil to set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with Selby.
Meanwhile, the Women’s event will also have an English finalist after World No.98 Rachael Chadwick and qualifier Julianne Courtice defeated second seed Alexandra Fuller and Nadia Pfister, respectively.
The two Englishwoman will line up against each other in the last four, while French player Laura Pomportes defeated compatriot and number one seed Chloe Mesic to ensure that she will take on Egyptian number three seed Hana Ramadan, who beat Tessa ter Sluis, for a place in the final.
2016 Open International de Squash de Nantes.
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (58m)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt  Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-1: 4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (63m)
 Tom Richards (ENG) bt  Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4 (77m)
 Chris Simpson (ENG) bt  Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 (56m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Gregoire Marche (FRA)
 Tom Richards (ENG) v  Chris Simpson (ENG)
Women’s Quarter-Final Results:
 Laura Pomportes (FRA) bt  Chloe Mesic (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (25m)
 Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt  Tessa ter Sluis (NED) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 (21m)
[Q] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt  Nadia Pfister (SUI) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (18m)
 Rachael Chadwick (ENG) bt  Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 16-14, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 (39m)
 Laura Pomportes (FRA) v  Hana Ramadan (EGY)
[Q] Julianne Courtice (ENG) v  Rachael Chadwick (ENG)
Pictures by Jérôme Folliot courtesy of PSA