EIC Draws predict Anglo-French finals in Nottingham
The draws for the 2017 edition of the AJ Bell European Individual Closed Championship, to be held from 24th to 27th August , predict two France v England finals at the David Ross Sports Village at the University of Nottingham.
France’s Gregory Gaultier and Camille Serme have won the title 14 times between them, with their predicted final opponents both EIC newbies, world #6 James Willstrop making his first EIC appearance since 2004, and Millie Tomlinson making her debut at the club she helped to the Premier Squash League title a few weeks ago.
The 24-player men’s draw sees the top eight seeds – two Frenchmen, three English and one each from Spain, Germany and Switzerland – receive byes into round two where they will face the victors of the eight first round matches.
Nine-time champion Gaultier’s predicted path to the final starts with two Englishmen – top junior Charlie Lee followed by a quarter-final against Josh Masters, then a likely semi-final against Switzerland’s world #32 Nicolas Mueller.
In the bottom half of the draw Willstrop’s first two opponents are predicted to be Frenchmen – Sebastian Bonmalais and world #44 Lucas Serme. Should all go to seeding the semi-final would be against Borja Golan, the world #16 from Spain who sensationally beat Gaultier in last year’s final in Prague.
Should Gaultier and Willstrop reach the final it would be their 40th career meeting, starting with the British Junior Open U16 in 1998 and featuring clashes across the globe in European and World team championships and including several major PSA finals.
Newly-crowned World Games champion Serme has won the last five events, and will face a qualifier in her first match, followed by a quarter-final against Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica and a semi-final against Belgium’s world #35 Nele Gilis – who Serme beat in last year’s final.
Tomlinson, the world #23 who was elevated to second seed after the withdrawal of Emily Whitlock, also faces a qualifier in the first round (there are just two qualifying matches), and then is likely to come up against Camille’s Czech sister-in-law Anna Serme followed by France’s world #30 Coline Aumard.
In contrast to the predicted men’s final, should Serme and Tomlinson make it through it would be their first meeting!
Historical info gleaned from SquashInfo.com