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Coline Aumard - All pictures courtesy of Hamish Irvine / PSA

Open International de Nantes - Day Three: As It Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the second day of quarter-final action gets under way at the 2017 Open International de Squash de Nantes – the first tournament of 2017/18 to be shown LIVE on SQUASHTV.

'Swiss Rocket' Nicolas Mueller clashes with Qatar's Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi as they bid to join Gregoire Marche and Mazen Hesham in the last four, while Mathieu Castagnet and Ben Coleman face off in the day's other fixture in the men's draw.

Coline Aumard will be roared on by the home crowd when she takes on Canada's Hollie Naughton in the women's event, with second seed Fiona Moverley and Japan's Misaki Kobayashi also vying for semi-final berths.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Not able to watch? Check out our live scoring page

Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local CEST)
17:00 [3] Coline Aumard (FRA) v [5] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
18:00 [4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [7] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
20:30 [6] Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) v [2] Fiona Moverley (ENG)
21:30 Ben Coleman (ENG) v [2] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)

Naughton Battles Back to Secure Semi-Final Berth

Hollie Naughton

Canada’s Hollie Naughton was forced to draw on her mental strength to hold off a determined Coline Aumard in the quarter-finals as she rescued three match balls in the fifth game to secure a place in the semi-finals.

The World No.38 – who beat England’s Julianne Courtice in round one – started the game impressively as she took the first game 11-3 in just seven minutes. The Canadian continued to pull further away from Aumard in the second, as the home favourite struggled to find her range and settle into the contest against a powerful Naughton.

However, in the third the momentum swung in the favour of the Frenchwoman as she began her fightback with a vocal home support fully behind her. The 28-year-old found her length as errors began to creep into Naughton’s game with Aumard securing the third by an 11-6 scoreline.

Aumard took further control of the match as she forced Naughton around the court and claimed an 11-4 victory in the fourth to take the game to an exciting climax.

The fifth game proved to be a tense decider as Naughton saved three match balls at 10-8 down to take the game to a tie-break, which she then claimed 12-10 to move into the semi-finals.

“Coline is a tough opponent and I know that she never gives up,” said Naughton.

“She always keeps fighting. It was definitely tough to keep the momentum and my focus in the second and third, she came back really hard and I just had to keep digging in and keep my head a little bit.

“I felt I lost my focus a little bit but happy to pull it back when I was 10-8 match ball down.

“It’s amazing here, this is a massive crowd even for the World Series events it’s rare we get a crowd as big as this so it’s really special to play in front of them. Hopefully tomorrow they will be cheering for me but it was great.”

Naughton will face either Fiona Moverley or Misaki Kobayashi in the semi-finals.

[5] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt [3] Coline Aumard (FRA) 11-3, 11-5, 6-11, 4-11, 12-10 (62m)

Mueller Motors Past Al Tamimi to Book Semis Berth

Nicolas Mueller

Swiss World No.30 Nicolas Mueller earned his place in his first PSA World Tour semi-final in 2017 after the 28-year-old saw off the threat of Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in four games.

The pair were meeting on the Tour for the first time and Mueller was in complete control throughout the opening two games as he forced Al Tamimi to scramble into all four corners of the court, with a controlled style of play nullifying Al Tamimi’s shot-making talents.

The match began evenly as a number of quick-fire encounters captivated the spectators at Les Machines de l’île but Mueller soon pulled away from 4-4 to open up a one-game lead, in part thanks to the effectiveness of his forehand volley drops, with four of his last five points being won on that side.

Mueller continued to squeeze errors out of his opponent in the second but errors soon began to come from the racket of the Swiss player in the third as Al Tamimi picked up the pace and utilised his impressive retrieval skills to claw a game back.

A scrappy start to the fourth game saw both players hit the tin a number of times before Mueller rediscovered the form he showed in the first two games as he built up the momentum to complete an 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4 victory which puts him within one win of a first final in over three years.

“Last year, I couldn’t play, I was injured but I was in front of SQUASHTV and looking at the atmosphere and the MC jumping around made it extremely enjoyable and I couldn’t wait to come this time round,” said Mueller.

“I’m pleased to come through against such a dangerous opponent and I know I had to not let him in the game because he is a confidence player, I remember how well he played against [World No.4] Nick Matthew in front of his home crowd in Qatar [in November].

“The court conditions were very cold, which suited both of our games. But today I felt my length was better than his and he was behind me most of the time, except in the third, where I let him back in, which was stupid and dangerous.

“I hate playing players that are more talented than me and there are more and more of those unfortunately. His racket skills are second to none and it feels good to win against such a player.”

[4] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [7] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4 (44m)

Moverley Through in Four to Semi-Finals

Misaki Kobayashi (left) Fiona Moverley (right)

England’s World No.24 Fiona Moverley secured a berth in the semi-finals with a dominant performance over Japan’s World No.39 Misaki Kobayashi to come through in four games.

Moverley – who overcame South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller in round one – looked in complete control in the opening two games as she settled into the game quickly whilst Kobayashi struggled to find her length as the Englishwoman won the opening two games by an 11-2 and 11-7 scoreline.

Kobayashi begun to find her length and range a lot better in the third game as she put pressure on and came back at Moverley, with the former sealing the third game 13-11.

It looked all set to go to a fifth and final game in the fourth as Kobayashi hit some impressive shots and some errors made their way into Moverley’s game. However, the 30-year-old Englishwoman managed to see out the win with a 13-11 victory in the fourth and will now face Canada’s Hollie Naughton in the semi-finals.

“I prepare for every match the same,” said Moverley.

“Obviously the conditions have been tough tonight. It’s been raining and the weather has been pretty terrible and it’s different playing outside in the cold. You can see the steam coming off you when you play so it’s pretty tough but my preparation is always the same no matter which match I play.

“I really like playing on the glass, the court is really nice. It’s actually quite warm on there so that’s not really the issue, it’s just the beforehand, trying to get ready and stay warm but the court’s great, the atmosphere’s great and the crowd are really good so it’s been really good.”

“It took me too long to get used to the court,” said Kobayashi following the game.

“I don’t get to play on the glass much, only when I qualify for a World Series, and I don’t have a glass court available to me.

“Today, the court was very dead as the weather is very chilly and she is so good in putting the ball to the front, but then again, I was asking for it, as my length was poor.

“I tried and enjoyed it, but to be honest, I didn’t for the first two games, I got a bit more into it in the next two, but I think I needed one of the first two games, that could have made a difference.”

[2] Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt [6] Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 3-1: 11-2, 11-7, 11-13, 13-11 (40m)

Coleman Through to Semi-Finals as Castagnet Forced to Retire

Ben Coleman

England’s Ben Coleman was the last player to secure his place in the semi-finals in Nantes as home favourite Mathieu Castagnet was forced to retire in the fourth game.

The opening game got off to a fast and fierce start as both players showed off their full repertoire of shots, with France’s Castagnet taking the first game by an 11-5 scoreline.

However, Coleman soon struck back as an epic two-minute rally between the pair brought the crowd to their feet at Les Machines de l’île with Coleman claiming the point and going on to win the second game 11-8.

The rallies between the duo looked to have affected Castagnet more than his opponent as at the start of the third he began to struggle with his movement.

The Frenchman had previously spent large parts of 2017 out with an adductor injury and it looked to have struck again as he struggled with his agility around the court as Coleman took the third 11-9.

Coleman – who beat compatriot Declan James in the first round – then claimed his place in his biggest ever PSA World Tour semi-final as Castagnet was forced to retire in the fourth after 53 minutes.

Coleman will now face Swiss World No.30 Nicolas Mueller in the semi-finals.

“I hope Mathieu’s ok,” said Coleman following the match.

“He’s someone over the last four or five years that I’ve looked up to in the game, I love the way he plays the game. He’s been right to the very top, an incredible athlete who deserves everything that he’s done and I hope that he can get fit and get back to the top. It was sad to end like that and I genuinely wish him all the best.

“As much as I’ve had a fantastic summers training and I’m over the moon that I’m playing well and had a great first round win, I’d be lying if I said I expected to be here.

“I’m loving my week here, the support has been amazing. I appreciate the crowd were probably more on Mathieu’s side but they have been incredible and I’m looking forward to getting back on court tomorrow.”

Ben Coleman (ENG) bt [2] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-4 retired (53m)

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