World No.22 Chris Simpson ended his season on a high after
overcoming compatriot Declan James with a masterful performance in
the final of the IG Open de Paris, PSA M25 tournament to claim his
second PSA World Tour title of the season.
Simpson was in excellent form in the buildup to the final and, after
narrowly avoiding a first round exit at the hands of Joe Lee,
powered past both of last year’s finalists, Lucas Serme and Paul
Coll, to seal his place in the showpiece final.
Meanwhile, James, the World No.39, was contesting his second
successive PSA World Tour final after reaching the same stage at the
GillenMarkets Irish Squash Open just a few weeks previously and
achieved his final berth after an impressive 3-2 win over second
seed Nicolas Mueller.
Simpson was highly accurate and consistent throughout the 50-minute
final against an opponent making his first ever appearance in a PSA
M25 final after a breakthrough season which has seen him win four
PSA World Tour titles.
However, James could do little to prevent Simpson from overpowering
him and the man from Guernsey duly took the win in straight games,
with an 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 victory yielding the 10th PSA World Tour
crown of Simpson’s career.
"Every match has been different this week," said Simpson.
"After a few rallies, I saw that Declan was a bit tired and not
moving as well as usual, but that’s when he can be the most
dangerous. My focus was to stay disciplined and to extend the
rallies, even when I had opportunities, and it paid off. Winning two
25k tournaments was actually one of my main goals this season.
"I am very happy to win here in this unique club and also because
the depth of the draw was quite phenomenal. I can’t wait to come
back and take a picture next to the wall with my name on it.”
James was magnanimous in defeat, saying: "I lost to a better player.
Chris doesn’t give you anything and I couldn’t hurt him. But I am
still very happy with my week, it's been a mini-breakthrough for me.
Defending champion Paul Coll overturned a two-game deficit and saved
two match balls to record a stunning victory over Scotland’s Alan
Clyne in the quarter-final of the IG Open de Paris – setting up a
semi-final clash with top seed Chris Simpson in the process.
New Zealander Coll, who conquered Frenchman Lucas Serme in last
year’s final, came through a dramatic five-game thriller against
England’s Charles Sharpes in the previous round and was forced into
another gargantuan encounter by World No.35 Clyne.
Both players faced off in an enthralling battle, with a mix of
attritional and high-octane rallies lighting up the court in front
of a captivated crowd. After going 2-1 up, Clyne found himself with
two match balls, but was unable to convert as a determined Coll
charged round court to make a number of stunning retrievals. The
24-year-old duly levelled things up before surging to victory in
game five to bring an end to a gruelling 110-minute spectacle.
He is set to face England’s Chris Simpson – the man who he lost to
in last month’s El Gouna International – in the next round after the
man from Guernsey saw off Serme in straight games.
“I’m happy I managed to play better than yesterday, I backed up
well,” said Coll
“It was a physical match with some very long rallies. I was more
aggressive at the beginning of the fifth because I knew the player
who would take the initiative was likely to get on top. It’s not my
usual game so maybe I took him by surprise.
“Now it’s time to recover before tomorrow’s match. It’d be nice to
have a shot at getting my revenge against Chris.”
England’s Declan James recorded a superb win over third seeded
compatriot Adrian Waller and the World No.39 will go head-to-head
with Nicolas Mueller, the swiss number two seed who beat Greg Lobban,
in the last four.
All eight seeded players fought through to the quarter-final stage
of the IG Open de Paris, PSA M25 tournament – with six of the eight
matches going all the way to five games on a stunning opening day of
World No.38 Lucas Serme is the only Frenchman to reach the last
eight after he saw off compatriot and wildcard Baptiste Masotti. The
number seven seed dropped the opening game but recovered to take the
next two without reply. After Serme surged into a 5-0 lead in the
third, Masotti was forced off court with an injury and was unable to
recover, ensuring that Serme will move on to the next round.
His opponent will be title favourite Chris Simpson who overcame
fellow Englishman Joe Lee in a nail-biting spectacle. The man from
Guernsey fell to a 2-1 deficit but turned things around to prevail
after 87 minutes of high-quality squash and set up a fixture with a
player he beat just last week in the European Team Championship
“Joe has had a bad season so far, but I knew he could play well and
I was prepared for that, but maybe not to the standard he was at
today, he played brilliantly,” said Simpson.
“He was beating me in all departments, including accuracy, which is
usually one of my strengths. I had a five setter against [Borja]
Golan last night in the PSL [Premier Squash League] and I only
arrived this afternoon in Paris so I was obviously a bit tired, but
somehow I managed to win this one. So I’m up against Lucas again
tomorrow, but I expect the match to be very different to Saturday’s
in the ETC [European Team Championship] finals.
“Playing a team event is another kind of pressure, and the court is
very different as well.”
Second seed Nicolas Mueller was also pushed to the limit against
Geoffrey Demont and went 2-0 down after a fast start from the
Frenchman caught Mueller off guard. He steadied the ship with
victory in the third game, and that win gave him the impetus to move
on and complete the comeback, ensuring he will face Scotland’s Greg
Lobban for a place in the last four.
Elsewhere, England’s Adrian Waller overturned a one-game deficit
against compatriot Tom Ford and he will do battle with Declan James
in the next round after he achieved a come-from-behind victory over
India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar.
New Zealand’s Paul Coll and Scotland’s Alan Clyne have set up a
mouth-watering clash in the other quarter-final, after respective
wins over Charles Sharpes and Todd Harrity saw them progress to the
French World No.85 Geoffrey Demont sealed his place in the main draw
of the IG Open de Paris, PSA M25 tournament for the first time since
2014 after he dug deep to defeat England’s Jaymie Haycocks 3-1 in
the final round of qualifying.
25-year-old Demont, who bowed out in the first stage of qualifying
last year, started the better of the two and, a second game defeat
on the tie-break aside, held firm to record an 11-7, 12-14, 11-8,
11-7 victory which sees him complete an English double after also
beating Ben Coates in the previous round.
Demont will take on Swiss number two seed Nicolas Mueller in the
opening round of the main draw in what looks set to be a difficult
encounter given the 54-place World Rankings gap between the pair.
Elsewhere, India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar came out on top against
Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Muzayen in a brutal 79-minute affair. The clash
of styles made for an intriguing spectacle, with the power and
attrition of Mangaonkar going up against the shot-making skills of
Al Muzayen. After going to a nail-biting fifth game, Mangaonkar
eventually took it courtesy of a 12-10 triumph and the World No.58
will line up against talented Englishman Declan James for a place in
The crowd did witness two home hopes fall though as Christophe Andre
and Victor Crouin both exited the competition. Andre, on a run of
four title wins in his last five PSA World Tour events, came up
against third qualifying seed Richie Fallows in his match, but
relinquished a 2-1 lead after the frantic pace finally caught up
with him, allowing Fallows to advance to the main draw where he will
meet Scotland’s Greg Lobban.
Crouin, meanwhile, had earned his place in the final qualifying
round thanks to a superb scalp of 2013 World Junior Champion Karim
El Hammamy but the 16-year-old’s campaign was brought to an end by
World No.64 Tom Ford who took the win in four. Ford will now face
fellow Englishman Adrian Waller in round one of the main draw.