James Willstrop beats Lucas Serme to reach Open International de Squash de Nantes semi-finals

Top seed James Willstrop advanced to the semi-finals following a 42 minute masterclass performance to dispatch France’s World No.35 Lucas Serme 11-6 11-7 11-5 in front of his home crowd under the lights of the 18th century théâtre Graslin to reach the semi-finals of the Open International de Squash de Nantes.

Willstrop, the former World No.1, put aside the tiredness that had affected his performance in the previous round against Patrick Rooney as the 35-year-old hit his targets with pinpoint accuracy to leave Serme without reply and move a step closer to the final.

“I think my match against Patrick did me a lot of good, I came out and I was pretty sharp. I played on the court, which Lucas hadn’t done, and that’s an advantage for me, it just worked well for me.

“The atmosphere is amazing. The reason I played this event was because I had heard how good it was from all the players and the standard of the event is so high. It’s great to experience a new city and a new venue with people really pushing the sport out and progressing the game.”

Willstrop will now face Egypt’s Zahed Salem for a place in the final after the Egyptian came from 2-0 down to beat UNSQUASHABLE player George Parker.

22-year-old Parker took the lengthy first game, which lasted 27 minutes before doubling his advantage in the second after Salem was forced to take an injury break. However, the Egyptian World No.31 battled back to disrupt Parker’s focus and take what proved to be a pivotal third game as he won 13-15 8-11 11-4 11-6 11-8 in 95-minutes.

Results – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top-Half)
[3] Zahed Salem (EGY) bt [7] George Parker (ENG) 3-2: 13-15, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (95m)
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [5] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)

Draw – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom-half) – To be played September 7
[8] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
[4] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [2] Declan James (ENG)

UNSQUASHABLE is committed to developing equipment to be used by the world’s leading players because we believe that engineering equipment for professional competition makes for a better product for the everyday player.

James Willstrop uses the UNSQUASHABLE JAMES WILLSTROP AUTOGRAPH racket which is available exclusively from www.unsquashable.com & www.pdhsports.com

George Parker use the UNSQUASHABLE TOUR-TEC PRO racket which is available exclusively from www.unsquashable.com

UNSQUASHABLE sponsored players and brand ambassadors competing on the PSA World Tour are sponsored by AJ Bell, one of the UK’s largest providers of online investment platforms and stockbroker services.

For more information, visit: www.psaworldtour.com, www.squashsite.com & www.unsquashable.com

Photographer: Mikael Ropars