Day TWO : Quarter-Finals

Top seeds through to EIC semis in Nottingham

Quarter-finals day of the AJ Bell European Individual Championships at the David Ross Sports Village at the University of Nottingham saw all the top seeds claim their expected places in the semi-finals, but as always it was easier for some.

Five-time defending champion Camille Serme opened proceedings with a comfortable three-nil win over Elise Lazarus in the first of four France v England matches (a series which ended 3-1 to the French).

“It’s the start of the season and there’s a lot of big PSA events coming up, so the Europeans is a good way to get started,” said Serme. “My aims for the season are obviously to become world #1 and world champion, but winning a sixth title here would be a good start!”

In the semi-final Serme will meet Belgium’s Nele Gilis, in a repeat of last year’s final after Nele came from 2-1 down maintain her unbeaten record against younger sister Tinne, a match which was itself a repeat of last year’s semi-final.

“We play so much, and we always have tough matches but she always wins,” said Tinne, “one day I’ll get her!” Nele agreed, “It’s always so hard to play each other, I wouldn’t say that was our toughest match, it’s always tough whether it’s three-nil or three-two!”

Second seed Millie Tomlinson kept English hopes alive as she came from a game down to beat German’s Sina Kandra.

“I knew Sina had had a tough match yesterday, so I tried to keep the rallies long, and she did tire in the end.”

Tomlinson will face French opposition after Nottingham-based Coline Aumard survived a spirited challenge from England’s top junior Lucy Turmel, saving game balls in a fiercly-contested fourth to avoid going into a decider.

“She played really well, and in a good manner,” said Aumard. “I remember when I was 18 and going after the top players, so I’m really happy to have come through that one, and glad it didn’t go to five.”

Nine-time men’s champion Gregory Gaultier continued to look impressive with a comfortable three-nil win over Josh Masters, and he’ll face Nicolas Mueller after the Swiss came from a game down to deny Germany’s Raphael Kandra.

“This is a very important tournament for us,” siad Gaultier. “The more medals we get the more funding the Federation gets, and it’s a good opportunity for us to freshen up before the PSA season starts.”

Mueller acknowledged the task aheed, but was looking forward to the challenge. “That was a tough match against Rafa, as always, glad I managed to come out on the right end and very pleased to make the semis. The timing of this event couldn’t be better, and I know this venue playing PSL for Nottingham, so it’s a great way to start the season off after a summer of training.”

In the other semi-final England’s second see James Willstrop, who won in three tight games agaisnt France’s Lucas Serme, will meet defending champion Borja Golan, the Spaniard turning in a typically determined performance to dent Nottingham’s Declan James, taking nine points in a row to finish the fourth game when a decider looked likely.

“That was a very tough match,” said Golan, “Declan played really well and I had to be stubborn to stop it going to five. I’m the defending champion, but that was an exceptional result last year, and with Greg and James here I’m not the favourite at all, but I’ll certainly be giving my best to try to retain the title.”

Willstrop was satisfied with his win, but wary of the next challenge: “I’m glad the court was a bit slower tonight, it suited me more, Lucas doesn’t need any help to keep getting the ball back. I’m feeling fairly sharp, I have Cleethorpes to thank for that after three tough matches there.

“Tomorrow will be tough against Borja, he’s such a fighter and a really determined character, I hope it’s not like our last match in Bellevue, that was brutal.”



[1] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 Elise Lazarus (Eng)                         11/6, 11/4, 11/6 (24m)
[3/4] Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-2 [5/8] Tinne Gilis (Bel  )     11/5, 9/11, 9/11, 11/6, 11/3 (64m)
[3/4] Coline Aumard (Fra) 3-1 [5/8] Lucy Turmel (Eng)  11/8, 6/11, 11/7, 15/13 (49m)
[2] Millie Tomlinson (Eng) 3-1 Sina Kandra (Ger)             9/11, 11/9, 11/0, 11/6 (32m)

[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 [5/8] Josh Masters (Eng)             11/4, 11/0, 11/5 (27m)
[3/4] Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-1 [5/8] Raphael Kandra (Ger)  7/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/5 (53m)
[3/4] Borja Golan (Esp) 3-1 [5/8] Declan James (Eng)            11/8, 7/11, 11/8, 11/5 (63m)
[2] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [5/8] Lucas Serme (Fra)            11/8, 11/5, 11/8 (35m)





Quarter-Finals Quick Preview

There are familiar and new faces in today’s quarter-final lineup at the University of Nottingham, as Europe’s elite aim to book their places in the semi-finals of the AJ Bell European Individual Championships.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First up is women’s top seed and five-time defending champion Camille Serme, the world #3 taking on English junior Elise Lazarus, who only came into the draw as a last-minute replacement but managed to produce a first round upset yesterday.

Then France’s other squash superstar Gregory Gaultier, the world #1 and nine-time EIC champion , meets another young English player looking to make a mark in Josh Masters.

In a repeat of last year’s semi-final Belgian sisters Nele and Tinne Gilis meet in the second women’s match. Last year it was elder sister Nele who made it through to the final, but Tinne is looking for revenge.

Switzerland’s 3/4 seed Nicolas Mueller should be going into the second men’s match fresh, having spent just 15 minutes on court yesterday, while his German opponent Raphael Kandra, was taken to five games.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Starting the bottom half of the draws, Nottingham-based Frenchwoman Coline Aumard, seeded 3/4 and looking to reach her first EIC final, meets another rising English junior in Lucy Turmel.

Men’s defending champion Borja Golan, the 3/4 seeded Spaniard, will be conceding local knowledge to Nottingham’s own Declan James in the next men’s match. Rankings heavily favour Golan, but James is sure to offer sterling resistance.

Another home favourite finishes off the women’s matches as Millie Tomlinson and looking impressive yesterday, meets seeded two, meets Sina Kandra who, like new husband Raphael, needed all five games to reach this stage.

The last match of the day seeds the sixth English player take to the court as James Willstrop, seeded two, continues his return to EIC actian afer a 13-year absence against France’s fourth quarter-finalist Lucas Serme, younger brother of Camille.

Check Also

Serme aims for Six in Nottingham

Fresh from claiming World Games Gold, five-time EIC champion Camille Serme is aiming for a sixth in Nottingham ...