Marche marches to the title
The top seed and home favourite romped to victory in the final of the 5R Montpellier Metropole Open as French national champion Gregoire March beat second seeded Englishman James Willstrop in straight games.
Malcolm Willstrop reports
Players from 12 countries gathered for the 5R Montpellier Metropole Open at the splendid 5R facility. Not only was the club first class, but the friendliness of all those involved stood out.
In the first round two promising young Frenchmen,Benjamin Aubert and Sebastien Bonmalais survived five set matches on the demanding glass court and then went on in the second round to beat two seeded players, Aubert beating Batiste Masotti impressively and Bonmalais beating Abdullah al Tamimi who had the legendary Geoff Hunt in his corner.
Bonmalais went on to reach the semi finals where the experience of Gregoire Marche proved too much. James Willstrop, seeded 2, came from 2-1 down in the first round against Carlos Cornes, then beat Aubert convincingly 3-0 to face clubmate Chris Simpson in the semi final.
Simpson had beaten Daniel Mekbib 3-1 after an entertaining match and then beat Mahesh Mangeonkhar 3-2. Willstrop found himself 2-1 down again, but attacking skilfully came through 3-2.
Marche had disposed of all of his opponents 3-0 and Willstrop had spent almost twice as long as Marche on court,which seemed likely to be a factor and so it proved. Marche began well, took the first comfortably,but Willstrop improved and played well in the second game before Marche took a 2-0 lead 11-9, which looked likely to prove decisive and so it proved.
Tournaments in France rarely disappoint and Montpellier lived up to their reputation. Add a French champion and much promise from two younger French players and Vive la France!
Top seeds March and Willstrop through to Montpellier final
Top seed Greg Marche eased past unseeded compatriot Sebastien Bonmalais in the first, all-French, semi-final, but second seed James Willstrop had to pull out all the stops in his all-English matchup with Chris Simpson, coming from 1-2 down to book his place in the final.
Quarters : Olli bows out as Anglo-French final is assured
The quarter-finals of the 5R Montpellier Open saw both tops seeds and two Frenchmen win through to the semi-finals, and the end of Olli Tuominen‘s PSA career.
Unseeded Sebastien Bonmalais came from a game down to beat Jan Van Den Herrewegen, setting up an all-French semi-final against top seed Greg Marche, who’s three-nil win over Tuominen spelt the end of the Finnish veteran’s 22-year PSA career.
An Anglo-French final is assured after James Willstrop and Chris Simpson won their quarter-finals, second seed Willstrop despatching Benjamin Aubert in straight games while Simpson edged past India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar 11-9 in the fifth.
Round Two: French trio through to last eight
Round Two of the Montpellier Open saw the eight seeded players join the action, with five of those – and a trio of home players – winning through to the quarter-finals.
Top seed Greg Marche was relatively untroubled as he beat in-form Spaniard Bernat Jaume, setting up a quarter-final against Olli Tuominen which could prove to be the veteran Finn’s last PSA match.
Sebastien Bonmalais took out Qatar’s third seeded Abdulla Al Tamimi in straight games and the young Frenchman meets young Belgian Jan Van Den Herrewegen, who upset eighth seed Asim Khan, for a place in the semis.
Benjamin Aubert won his all-French battle against fifth seeded Baptiste Masotti in four games and he’ll face second seed James Willstrop, who needed five games to get past Spain’s Carlos Cornes.
Fourth and seventh seeds Chris Simpson and Mahesh Mangaonkar complete the quarter-final lineup, with matches starting at 17.00 on Friday.
Seb qui rit, Masotti qui pleure…
Gross perf de Séb Bonmalais qui sort en 3 jeux la tête de série numéro 3 le quatari Al Tamimi tout juste de retour de blessure. Après une saison compliquée, Sébastien a signé hier une des plus belles perfs de sa carrière, et affrontera aujourd’hui le Belge Jan Van Den Herrewegen dans un quart de finale largement à sa portée.
Moins bon pour Masotti, fatigué après une longue saison, il n’a pas réussi à trouver les clés pour contrer son partenaire d’entraînement Benji Aubert. Après un premier tour très compliqué mercredi, Benjamin a su parfaitement jouer sa carte et s’offrir à un quart de finale contre l’ex numero 1 mondial James Willstrop!
Le 3ème représentant français de ces quarts de finale n’est autre que le numéro 1 français et membre de l’écurie 5R Squash L’Acrobate Grégoire Marche. Un peu stressé en début de rencontre devant son public, Grégoire s’est progressivement libéré au fil des points pour battre l’espagnol Jaume en 3 jeux. Il affrontera le finlandais Olli Tuominen, un des vétérans du circuit qui prendra sa retraite à l’issu de la compétition !
Le dernier quart de finale opposera l’anglais Chris Simpsons (TS4) à l’indien Mahesh Mangaonkar (TS7).
No upsets on the opening day in Montpellier as all the 9/16 seeds advanced to Round Two. Two French players progressed, with Sebastien Bonmalais and Benjamin Aubert both needing all five games.
Round Two will seed top seed Gregoire Marche in action against Spain’s Bernat Jaume, while Bonmalais meets third seed Abdulla al Tamimi and Aubert meets fifth seeded Baptiste Masotti in an all-French matchup.
Meanwhile Finnish star Olli Tuominen, who has announced his retirement, begins his final PSA event against Egypt’s Ahmed Hosny.