Thursday, November 30, 2023

ESF: Tuominen and Serme take Euro titles


A big crowd at the Finnish venue


RESULTS: European Individual Squash Championships, Helsinki, Finland

Men’s Final:
[3/4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [2] Borja Golan (ESP) 11-8, 11-9, 11-3
Third place play-off:
[1] Simon Rosner (GER) bt [5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 6-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-7

Women’s Final:
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [1] Natalie Grinham (NED) 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9
Third place play-off:
[3/4] Lucie Fialova (CZE) bt [3/4] Gaby Huber (SUI) 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7

Tuominen & Serme Take European Titles

Upsets in both finals of the European Individual Squash Championships in Finland led to Olli Tuominen and Camille Serme winning the titles for the first time – local hero Tuominen delighting the crowd at the Talihalli in Helsinki by becoming the first Finn to put his name on the men’s trophy and Serme by stopping Dutch favourite Natalie Grinham from claiming the women’s crown for the third time in four years.

Tuominen, the 33-year old world number 23 from Helsinki, drove the home crowd wild by beating number two seed Borja Golan of Spain 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 in the men’s final of the European Squash Federation event.

“Tuominen showed his supporters his best play,” said tournament spokesman Pete Saarnivaara. “In the first game the ball did not reach the back wall too many times, as both Tuominen and Golan were hitting hard and low and volleying as much as possible.

“In the third game Tuominen continued his one-inch-above-the-tin drop shots and Golan lost faith. Tuominen took the game 11-3 and secured the gold medal.”

An ecstatic Tuominen, who compared the feeling to winning the European Junior Championship in front of a home crowd in 1997, said: “To tell you the truth, I would never have believed that I would win the title. This was a great ending to a season that has been better and better towards the end. Now a good summer training and I’ll come back stronger next season.”

The women’s final was a replay of the 2011 climax – but this time 23-year old Camille Serme of France reversed the result against the experienced Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands.

Both players had some difficulties keeping the length in their shots and avoiding mistakes. It was Grinham who took the early lead after winning the first game.

Serme took the next two and the Australian-born world number 9 fought bravely in the fourth game but finally had to give in to an increasingly confident Serme. The world number 10 from Paris took the fourth game 11-9 and raised her hands in the air to celebrate her first title in front of the French team.

“I think I’ll buy champagne for the whole team tonight.” the young champion smiled. “I don’t know if I could have handled a fifth game. It’s been a long season and this tournament took a lot of energy.”

Runner-up Grinham took comfort in the fact that she had good time to make it to her flight back home to celebrate her son Kieran’s second birthday on Sunday. “Neither of us played our best game. I wasn’t very comfortable with the court and the lighting outside it. But Camille would have been a tough opponent anyway,” said Grinham.

RESULTS: European Individual Squash Championships, Helsinki, Finland

Men’s semi-finals:
[2] Borja Golan (ESP) bt [5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-8, 11-9, 11-4
[3/4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [1] Simon Rosner (GER) 11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 11-4

Women’s semi-finals:
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [3/4] Gaby Huber (SUI) 11-4, 11-7, 11-6
[1] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [3/4] Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11-7, 11-4, 11-6

Local Hero Tuominen Topples Top Seed To Make European Final

The finals of the European Individual Squash Championships in Finland will feature unexpected local interest after Helsinki hero Olli Tuominen upset top-seeded German Simon Rosner in the men’s semi-finals of the European Squash Federation event at Talihalli in Helsinki.

Tuominen, the world No23 from Helsinki who finished in third place in his only other appearance in the event in 2010, despatched the higher-ranked Rosner in four games.

“Olli fulfilled the home crowd’s wish and plays in Saturday’s final for a first ever Finnish individual gold medal in the European Individual Closed Championships,” said a delighted event organiser Poku Salo.

The match started evenly with both players trying to keep the ball close to the walls, mainly the backhand wall. The Flying Finn took the first game, but that woke the German up and Rosner took control of the second. In the third game the German lost the control and a decision against him also made him lose his concentration.

Tuominen took full advantage and cruised to an 11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 11-4 victory.

“The key to winning today was in my will to play,” said 33-year-old Tuominen. “I deliberately tried to hit good lengths especially from the backhand and put pressure because that would give opportunities to hit winners.”

The crowd supported their home hero wildly and they knew that by winning Tuominen would make Finnish squash history. About his preparation, Tuominen said: “Quite a basic set, rest, meal and a knock up in and then we see how it goes.”

Borja Golan from Spain secured his place in the men’s final by beating France’s Mathieu Castagnet in straight games. Second seed Golan was the favourite to win but the Frenchman, seeded in the 5/8 group, fought hard.

It was the 29-year-old Spaniard, ranked 20 in the world, who prevailed however – winning 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 to reach the final for the second time since 2006.

The women’s final will be a replay of last year’s final where Natalie Grinham, the top seed from the Netherlands, will meet No2 seed Camille Serme from France. Both finalists had a fairly easy afternoon with Grinham beating Lucie Fialova from the Czech Republic and Serme overcoming Gaby Huber, from Switzerland, in three straight games.

“I beat Camille in the final last year but lost to her a couple of weeks later so we will see how it goes,” said world No9 Grinham, looking for a third title since 2009. “When the match starts, it’s a 50/50 situation!”

RESULTS: European Individual Squash Championships, Helsinki, Finland

Men’s 1st round:
[9/16] Roman Svec (CZE) bt Tatu Knuutila (FIN) 11-4, 11-2, 11-8
[9/16] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) bt Marcin Karwowski (POL) 11-3, 11-2, 11-7
[5/8] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt Dmitry Ivanov (RUS) 11-3, 11-2, 11-1
[5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Janne Jarvinen (FIN) 11-8, 11-6, 11-9
Daniel Mekbib (CZE) bt [9/16] Piedro Schweertman (NED) 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10
[9/16] Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) bt Denys Podvornyi (UKR) 11-1, 11-7, 11-9
[3/4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Ondrej Uherka (CZE) 11-6, 11-7, 11-4
[9/16] Bart Ravelli (NED) bt Alexey Severinov (RUS) 11-0, 11-4, 11-8
Frank Hartkoren (NED) bt [9/16] Kostiantyn Rybalchenko (UKR) 11-7, 11-7, 11-5
[5/8] Julien Balbo (FRA) bt Sergey Belyaev (RUS) 11-4, 11-1, 11-4
[5/8] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Jaakko Vahamaa (FIN) 11-4, 11-3, 11-3
[9/16] Matias Tuomi (FIN) bt Wojciech Nowisz (POL) 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6
[9/16] Ruslan Sorochynskyi (UKR) bt Martin Svec (CZE) 11-3, 11-3, 5-11, 11-3
2nd round:
[2] Borja Golan (ESP) bt [9/16] Roman Svec (CZE) 11-4, 11-6, 11-8
[5/8] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt [9/16] Aqeel Rehman (AUT) 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-7
[5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Daniel Mekbib (CZE) 11-2, 11-2, 12-10
[3/4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [9/16] Sebastiaan Weenink (NED) 11-7, 11-6, 11-3
[3/4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [9/16] Bart Ravelli (NED) 14-12, 5-11, 11-3, 11-9
[5/8] Julien Balbo (FRA) bt Frank Hartkoren (NED) 5-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4
[5/8] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [9/16] Matias Tuomi (FIN) 11-3, 11-4, 11-9
[1] Simon Rosner (GER) bt [9/16] Ruslan Sorochynskyi (UKR) 11-4, 11-3, 11-9
[2] Borja Golan (ESP) bt [5/8] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-1, 11-5, 11-7
[5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [3/4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 11-3, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4
[3/4] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [5/8] Julien Balbo (FRA) 11-7, 11-9, 11-8
[1] Simon Rosner (GER) bt [5/8] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4

Women’s 1st round:
[9/16] Anna Jurkun (POL) bt Emilia Korhonen (FIN) 16-14, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7
[9/16] Julia Lecoq (FRA) bt Ekaterina Marusan (RUS) 11-5, 11-2, 11-4
[9/16] Dominika Witkowska (POL) bt Aliis Allas (EST) 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8
[9/16] Xisela Aranda Nunez (ESP) bt Irina Belyaeva (RUS) 11-4, 11-3, 11-2
Melissa Meulenbelt (NED) bt [9/16] Emilia Soini (FIN) 8-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8, 12-10
2nd round:
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [9/16] Anna Jurkun (POL) 11-1, 11-6, 11-1
[9/16] Maud Duplomb (FRA) bt [5/8] Olga Ertlova (CZE) 7-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-5
[5/8] Orla Noom (NED) bt [9/16] Julia Lecoq (FRA) 11-8, 11-3, 11-6
[3/4] Gaby Huber (SUI) bt [9/16] Dominika Witkowska (POL) 11-4, 11-3, 11-3
[3/4] Lucie Fialova (CZE) bt [9/16] Xisela Aranda Nunez (ESP) 11-7, 11-3, 11-6
[9/16] Laura Pomportes (FRA) bt [5/8] Birgit Coufal (AUT) 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9
[5/8] Coline Aumard (FRA) bt [9/16] Saara Valtola (FIN) 11-5, 11-1, 11-7
[1] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt Melissa Meulenbelt (NED) 11-7, 11-3, 11-4
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [9/16] Maud Duplomb (FRA) 11-2, 11-3, 11-1
[3/4] Gaby Huber (SUI) bt [5/8] Orla Noom (NED) 5-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-2
[3/4] Lucie Fialova (CZE) bt [9/16] Laura Pomportes (FRA) 11-4, 11-4, 11-7
[1] Natalie Grinham (NED) bt [5/8] Coline Aumard (FRA) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6

Mathieu Mauls Mueller In European Upset

Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet produced a notable upset on the second day of action in the European Individual Squash Championships in Finland when he beat Switzerland’s 3/4 seed Nicolas Mueller 11-3, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4 to claim an unexpected place in the men’s semi-finals of the European Squash Federation event at Talihalli in Helsinki.

Castagnet controlled the game and Mueller, ranked 24 in the world, never really found his game pace. “I was confident I could win,” said the world No 42 from Aix-en-Provence. “I’ve played Nicolas several times in the Swiss league and I know how to play him,” added the 25-year old after reaching his first semi-final in the individual European Championships.

Castagnet will now meet Borja Golan, the second seed from Spain who despatched Finland’s Henrik Mustonen 11-1, 11-5, 11-7.

But there was local success in the other half of the men’s draw where experienced 3/4 seed Olli Tuominen delighted his hometown crowd with an 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 win over France’s Julien Balbo.

But top seed Simon Rosner had a scare when he dropped the first two games to France’s Gregoire Marche. “I beat him in five games in the El Gouna International Open in April, so I knew I could expect a tough match,” said the 6 foot 2 inch tall German giant after his 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 win.

“Tomorrow’s game will be a tough one as well,” added Rosner, the world No19 from Paderborn. “Olli plays in front of a home crowd, so he will be even tougher than usual!”

Dutch star Natalie Grinham remained on course to win her third title in four years when she comfortably beat Coline Aumard of France 11-6, 11-4, 11-6.

The top seed will now meet Lucie Fialova, a 3/4 seed from the Czech Republic, who beat France’s Laura Pomportes, also in straight games.

On the other side of the draw, second seed Camille Serme of France earned a comfortable 3/0 victory over compatriotMaud Duplomb, a 9/16 seed. “I am glad it was not that closely fought match, so I’ll be in shape tomorrow,” said the smiling Serme after the game.

“Now I am going to sit down with my coach and we’ll develop a plan for tomorrow,” added the world No10 from Paris, hoping to make the final for the second year in a row.

Serme will be challenged by Gaby Huber of Switzerland, who dropped the first game against Orla Noom of Netherlands and fought a close second game before marching to a 5-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-2 victory.

Men’s semi-final line-up:
[2] Borja Golan (ESP) v [5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[1] Simon Rosner (GER) v [3/4] Olli Tuominen (FIN)

Women’s semi-final line-up:
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) v [3/4] Gaby Huber (SUI)
[1] Natalie Grinham (NED) v [3/4] Lucie Fialova (CZE)



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