PHOTOS – BEST DU BO
L’ARTICLE FEDERAL SUR LES BLEUS
par Jérôme Elhaïk
PHOTOS DES BLEU(E)S
L’aventure s’arrête en 1/8èpme de finale pour Grégoire au British Open : le Français n’est jamais parvenu à enrayer la domination de Diego Elias (n°8 mondial), de retour à son meilleur niveau après une blessure. Le Péruvien s’est fait une petite frayeur dans la première manche, laissant filer cinq balles de jeu avant de conclure, et a pris le dessus par la suite.
 Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 [9/16] Gregoire Marche 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (39m)
 Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 Melissa Alves 11-6, 11-4, 14-12 (39m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-1 Baptiste Masotti 1-7, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7 (55m)
Diego a dit:
“It’s never easy playing Greg, he’s a very fit player. I had to be at 100 percent the whole time. I’m feeling good after winning the Manchester Open last week. My body’s feeling good and I just want to enjoy every single match and give my 100 percent.”
Trois Bleus en huitième, Melissa en Star du Jour! MERCI SQUASHNEWS!
Les choses avaient mal commencé pour le clan Français, au deuxième tour du British Open ce mardi : tout d’abord avec le forfait de dernière minute de Camille Serme, blessée au tendon d’Achille, puis avec les défaites de Victor Crouin, Coline Aumard et Mathieu Castagnet, à chaque fois en quatre jeux face à des adversaires mieux classés qu’eux – Raphael Kandra, Sarah-Jane Perry et Diego Elias.
Heureusement, la deuxième partie de la journée à souri aux Bleus. Grâce dans un premier temps à un Grégoire Marche solide face à Borja Golan, et qui défiera Elias en 1/8ème de finale.
La perf du jour est revenue à Mélissa Alves : à la recherche d’une victoire référence cette saison, la Guyanaise a fait chuter la Belge Nele Gilis au bout du suspense. Elle affrontera Hania El Hammamy au tour suivant.
Enfin, dans le match franco-français du jour, Baptiste Masotti a été rejoint deux fois au score par Lucas Serme avant de prendre le dessus en fin de match. Il se mesurera au numéro 1 mondial Mohamed El Shorbagy, pour la troisième fois en 2021. Les trois Tricolores encore en course jouent tous après-demain (jeudi) :
Danielle Letourneau (Can) w/o  Camille Serme (Fra) Camille blessée
Raphael Kandra (Ger) 3-1 Victor Crouin 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 (51m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-1 Coline Aumard 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (40m)
 Diego Elias (Per) 3-1 Mathieu Castagnet 11-7, 2-11, 11-6, 11-3 (51m)
Gregoire Marche 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp) 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (51m)
Melissa Alves 3-2 Nele Gilis 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 (71m)
Baptiste Masotti 3-2 Lucas Serme 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-4 (67m)
Alves wins 71-minute slog against Gilis
Melissa Alves 3-2 Nele Gilis (BEL) 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8 (71m)
France’s Melissa Alves emerged victorious in a constantly-shifting 71-minute match with Belgium’s Nele Gilis.
Ahead of today’s match, Gilis had the stronger record, having beaten Alves in their two PSA meetings, the most recent a 3-1 victory this June.
It was Gilis who made the first move in this match, with the 25-year-old looking strong in her 11-6 first-game victory. 27-year-old Alves, however, hit back well, matching Gilis’ first-game score in the second.
Alves carried the momentum from the second through to the third, which she took 11-8 after a battling rally. Next, however, it was Gilis’ turn to flip the match. The World No.14 dominated the fourth, with eight unanswered points handing her the game 11-4.
With the tie delicately balanced, it was Alves who was finally able to take the decisive fifth, which she won 11-8.
After the match, Alves said:
“Against Nele it’s always a tough one. It was such a great match, so fair and two players who wanted to play and I’m just so happy I won. 11-8 in the fifth, that could have gone either way but I fell like I played great and it’s one of those wins that gives you confidence for the rest of the season and the rest of the tournament.
“I felt I was consistent today, I attacked a little more and took my chances at the right time and it paid off today.”
Marche pleased to progress despite misgivings
Grégoire Marche 3-0 Borja Golan (ESP) 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (51m)
France’s Gregoire Marche played out a competitive 3-0 match against Spain’s Borja Golan to proceed to the next round.
The two have played each other plenty of times over the years and Borja went into today’s game with a 4-2 record in PSA matches, though Marche won their last encounter – a meeting in 2019’s British Open – 3-0.
In this match, it was Marche who again prevailed. Despite the 3-0 result, though, this was an intensely competitive match, with Marche’s 11-8,11-9,11-8 victories fought to the last.
Speaking after the match, Marche said: “I have to say I feel relieved. The first match is not easy and I struggled to get into the tournament. Mentally, it was tough at the beginning and the feeling today wasn’t the best. But I’m glad I managed to win in three because you never know what can happen with Borja, he’s a big fighter! We’ve played so many times and we know each other’s game perfectly. I just feel good to win that kind of match 3-0. I used to struggle to win that kind of match, so it’s good and now I can enjoy a day off tomorrow to get ready and I hope I’ll feel better on the glass court.”
Masotti beats Serme in all-French affair
Baptiste Masotti 3-2 Lucas Serme 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-4 (67m)
World No.24 Baptiste Masotti beat his friend and fellow Frenchman Lucas Serme 3-2 to progress to the next round.
Despite this only being his second match of the tournament, Serme went into this evening’s encounter with 100 minutes of game time under his belt, courtesy of his brutal first-round showdown with Dimitri Steinmann.
Masotti, meanwhile had a more serene affair in his first match, beating Joshua Masters 3-1 in 31 minutes.
This game, just as in Serme’s last, was another challenging encounter, with both players going flat-out for 67 minutes.
The first two games were particularly tight and competitive, with Masotti taking the first 11-8 and Serme the second 11-7.
After these two, though, each player dominated and then shrank back. Masotti took the third game by a comfortable-looking 11-4 scoreline, only for Serme to peg him back in the fourth, 11-3.
Masotti, however, was eventually able to finish off the gruelling encounter, taking the final game 11-4.
Speaking after the match, Masotti said: “It’s always difficult to play a friend and a guy from the French team, so I knew that I needed to put a lot of pressure won him during every point, because if you don’t there is no chance you win the match. I was trying to play with pace and at times got frustrated, so I’m glad that in the fifth I went back to my plan and made fewer mistakes. I’m very happy to win and am looking forward to the next round.”
No.5 seed Perry in comeback win
Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1 Coline Aumard 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (40m)
England’s No.5 seed Sarah-Jane Perry reacted well to losing the first game with an impressive win over France’s Coline Aumard.
Perry, playing in her first match since her defeat in the final of last week’s Manchester Open, struggled in the first, with Aumard controlling the court well and taking the game 11-5.
Unsurprisingly, the World No.6 improved considerably in the second. She found her previously-missing accuracy to show the same dominance that World No.25 Aumard had in the first and took the game 11-6.
From here, Perry looked back to her best and she completed the match with confident 11-5 and 11-8 victories.
Speaking after the match, Perry said: “I’m just pleased to get through really. Coline had a great tournament last week [in Manchester] so she had plenty of confidence and she gave it everything today, which she always does. It’s really good to see her back from injury and playing some really good squash. Whenever I left anything loose, she was all over it. She definitely came out of the blocks better than I did. I thought I’d got myself into the first game but she just accelerated away and picked off everything that wasn’t glued to the wall. I had to find a way back in and get a bit more control, which thankfully I did.”
Kandra through after entertaining tussle with Crouin
Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1 Victor Crouin 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 (51m)
2018 semi-finalist Raphael Kandra showed some of his best squash to beat France’s Victor Crouin and progress to the next round.
Both players had impressed in the first round, with Kandra besting Karim El Hammamy 3-1 and Crouin defeating England’s Ben Coleman 3-0.
It was the German who looked sharpest in this match, he was hustling and accurate from the beginning and took the first two games 11-9 and 11-6.
Crouin came back into the match in the third, finishing the 11-9 game with an excellent drop.
Ultimately though, it was not enough to derail Kandra, with the World No.25 closing out a tense final game 11-9.
“Crouin’s a very up-and-coming player. Although it was our first match I kind of had an idea of what to expect, he’s really hard to beat because he’s putting you under pressure consistently. But it seemed to me that I was finding my length and width pretty well today, which helped me a lot to stay comfortable and stay confident.
In the end there was a bit of luck as well, I think we both gave it our all and it was a good match,” Kandra said after the match,” Kandra said afterwards.
Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-0 Benjamin Aubert 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (30m)
Victor Crouin 3-0 Ben Coleman (Eng) 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (32m)
Mathieu Castagnet 3-2 Ramit Tandon (Ind) 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (64m)
Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 3-1 Josh Masters (Eng) 11-3, 11-1, 9-11, 11-2 (31m)
Youssef Ibrahim (Egy) 3-1 Sébastien Bonmalais 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 (46m)
Lucas Serme 3-2 Dimitri Steinmann (Sui) 8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 9-11, 11-9 (100m)
Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-0 Auguste Dussourd 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 (37m)
Coline Aumard 3-0 Tessa ter Sluis (Ned) 11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (24m)
Jasmine Hutton (Eng) 3-0 Enora Villard 11-2, 11-8, 11-5 (29m)
Melissa Alves 3-0 Marie Stephan 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (30m)
Masotti Powers to Win Over Masters
Frenchman Baptiste Masotti overcame England’s Joshua Masters with a 3-1 victory in a match that was delayed due to a late PCR test result.
Masters – who only entered the draw yesterday following a spate of withdrawals – was forced to wait for the result of his PCR test, which all players must take before joining the ‘event bubble’ as part of the PSA’s COVID-19 protocols.
That meant a 20-minute delay to proceedings, but Masotti certainly did his best to get the schedule back on track with a ruthless performance in the first two games.
Masters has only played a handful of competitive matches this year and that lack of action showed as Masotti showcased the kind of squash that has taken him to a career-high ranking of World No.24, which is 149 places above today’s opponent.
But after taking just four points across the first two games, Masters settled down in the third and displayed his skills with the racket, taking a 6-1 lead and holding off a late fightback from his opponent to halve the deficit.
It was all Masotti in the fourth though, and the 24-year-old progresses to the second round, where he will play either compatriot Lucas Serme or Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann.
“I’ve been working hard for a lot of years, and it’s starting to pay off,” said Masotti.
“I never fix goals in my head to be in the top 20, I just work hard and see where it goes. I’m 24 now, but you can drop off very quickly and you can be 50 in the world in six months, so you have to work even harder. I feel a bit of pressure to be at this ranking because I love to be the hunter.
“I love to be behind the other players, it’s when I play my best squash. When I played Shorbagy twice this season, I think I played well because I had nothing to lose. Now, people want to hurt me, and it’s a bit different, so I think the performances are important.
“If I win tomorrow I’m playing Mohamed or Joel Makin, so it could be a good place to beat them. But I have a match to win tomorrow first, and then I will try to be on court in three days because there is a day off after tomorrow’s match. I hope to be here in three days, so I can try and show my best squash.”
Alves beats Stephan in all-French affair
World No.29 Melissa Alves beat World No69 Marie Stephan in an entertaining all-French affair.
Alves took a tight first game 11-8, though she may feel she should have won it more comfortably, having taken the first five points.
Although Stephan continued to push hard for the rest of the match, Alves was always able to keep ahead and took the next two games 11-7 and 11-8.
Speaking after the match, Alves said: “I’m feeling good. It’s the first tournament of the season and I’m just happy to go and get that first win, it doesn’t really matter what the score was or how I did it! I think I played great, my goal was to not lose a game and focus for the entire match, which is something I’d been struggling to do recently, so I’m happy with that. I’m feeling good on court.”
After brutal 100-minute-match, Serme emerges victorious
France’s Lucas Serme outlasted Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann to claim victory after an intense, 100-minute long duel.
The two went into today’s match with a keen understanding of each other’s game, with this their third meeting in 2021.
Although Serme had won those two matches, it was Steinmann who took the first game 11-8.
The second was initially even, too, until six unanswered points for Serme swung the balance decidedly in his favour, taking the second 11-6.
With a game apiece, the third was a hotly-contested one, with neither player giving any ground. Eventually though, Serme won the 30-minute-long slog 13-11.
Steinmann, however, was far from finished and came back hard to force Serme into a fifth with an 11-9 win.
Both players continued to push each other to their limits in the final game. However, just as the clock ticked towards 100 minutes, it was Serme who finally made the breakthrough to bring the almighty match to a close, 11-9.
Castagnet stuns Tandon to come back from two down
France’s World No.27 Mathieu Castagnet will face No.7 seed Diego Elias, after the 34-year-old came from two games down to beat India’s Ramit Tandon.
Two games up and leading in the third, World No.55 Tandon may have been forgiven for thinking he had one foot in the next round. The former World No.6 hit back spectacularly though, showing the cool head and determination that has seen through on so many occasions.
Castagnet turned the match on its head in the third, stunning Tandon to take the game 11-7. From here, the confident-looking Castagnet had the beating of the 28-year-old, taking the next two games 11-3 and 11-4.
Mathieu a dit:
“I’m tired after that. Ramit is a great player and you never know what to expect against him. He can hit five or six winning shots in a row and then give up a couple of mistakes.
“[In the third] I felt I was starting to get a bit tired so I’m happy to have won that. I think in the first two games he hit a lot of shots to the front of the court and surprised me a lot with a great drop from the back. So I tried to be more focused on that and more present at the front of the court and play a more straight game because he likes it when you go across.
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Ramit Tandon (IND
Crouin delight at first British Open win
France’s Victor Crouin turned in a strong performance in his first British Open to beat England’s Ben Coleman and set up a second round match with Raphael Kandra.
Crouin, who had lost to Coleman in their only previous PSA meeting, looked in sharp condition throughout the match and was ultimately good value for his 32-minute 3-0 win.
“I’m feeling really good. It’s always great to get through the first round and it’s not easy to play that first match on a new court and in new conditions. It has been around 38 degrees back home but here it’s very much Winter again! It’s hard to get used to those conditions. I was looking forward to playing this very prestigious event and now that I’m through the first round I’m going to give it my all in the second!”
Aumard convincing in ter Sluis win
France’s Coline Aumard progressed to the next round after an excellent performance to see off the Netherlands’ Tessa ter Sluis.
The first game was a tight affair, with Aumard eventually emerging the victor 11-8. From here, though, the World No.25 never looked like letting her lead slip and she took the next two games 11-4 and 11-5 to secure a 24-minute win.
Coline a dit:
“I’m pleased to have won 3-0. I think the court suited her game so I was trying to use my fitness and be patient, without worrying about not finding my target. I’m pleased I played my best with what I have today.”
Clyne satisfied with win, rather than performance
Scotland’s World No.42 Alan Clyne put in an efficient performance to beat France’s World No.57 Auguste Dussourd 3-0.
In an even first game, in which both players made more mistakes than they would be happy with, Clyne eventually made the breakthrough to claim an 11-9 win, thanks in part to Dussourd’s error.
The next two games were simpler for the 35-year-old, as he found his previously missing accuracy to close them out 11-5 and 11-3.
Speaking after the match, Clyne said: “I’m happy to get the win, I’m not sure it was the best match I’ve ever played, but to get the win I’m happy with that. The first game was tight all the way, when I was 10-7 up I gave him two cheap ones to get to back, but then he gave me a cheap one back, which summed up the first game really. In the second I feel like I stepped it up and was more positive in the way I played, the way I set the ball up was with more purpose. I think getting through the first gave me confidence.”