France’s Camille Serme is through to the final of the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital after she beat Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy in a convincing three-game performance at the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.
The pair were meeting for the fourth time on the PSA World Tour, with Serme aiming to keep up her 100% record over the Egyptian, dating back to 2016. She started off with that mindset, restricting the 19-year-old to just four points in the first game.
Serme continued that form into the early part of the second, taking an 8-2 lead. However, the Egyptian looked to fight back, reeling off four straight points. The World No.3 managed to compose herself though, and was able to double her lead in the match with an eventual 11-7 victory in the second game. A similar pattern happened in the third, with Serme going on to take a big lead.
This time, though, El Hammamy managed to come back from 6-1 to level the game at 7-7. However, a couple of strong shots from the Frenchwoman moved her back in front, allowing to comfortably take the victory in 35 minutes, to the rapturous applause of the partisan crowd.
“Obviously, I am very happy to win in three. When it was 2-0, I was actually thinking how nice it would have been to be over. Obviously, I was ready from the start. Even if it was best-of-three, I wanted to keep the momentum going with a really good start and I think I showed that in the first game,” Serme said.
“The third game, I was feeling really hot on court. It is warmer today on court and I think I felt a little bit of fatigue and she came back to 7-7. Luckily, I managed to play two good shots at the right time so I am really happy.
“It is amazing. Every time I think of it, or I hear them [the crowd], I get goosebumps. It is like in the third game, I used the extra push. From the very first match, it was like this and I thought to myself that I wanted to play as much as I could on that court. I just want to finish on a win tonight.
“I think I will be watching [Sobhy v Perry], maybe while I am having dinner to make sure I recover properly. I have been to a couple of finals, but it has been a while since I won a tournament. No pressure on myself but I would really love to win this one!”
Serme will play United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy in the final of the Open de France – Nantes, after the American overcame England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry in a four-game battle at the Chateau.
Joel Makin in action during his clash with Gregoire Marche
In the men’s draw, Welshman Joel Makin made it through to the final of the Open de France – Nantes after beating home favourite Gregoire Marche in front of a partisan crowd.
All was not as easy as it sounds though, as Marche took a 2-0 lead. The Frenchman, who had already knocked out the No.1 seed from the tournament earlier this week, got into a rhythm early, as was able to put the ball in the right places. He took the first 11-8, before then controlling the second even more, winning it 11-6 to double his lead and put himself on the verge of victory.
However, the ‘Golden Tiger’ came roaring back into life, as he was able to get in front of Marche on court, and put the pressure on the Frenchman. As the match time ticked over the hour mark, Making took the third game to bring himself back into the match.
The Welshman then dominated the fourth game, bar a few mistakes, to send the match into a decider. In the end, the Welshman had too much for the home favourite, despite the backing of a partisan crowd.
Makin won the fifth 11-7 to seal victory after 95 minutes of brutal squash on the glass court, sending the handful of Welsh and Birmingham fans into raptures. He moves on to the final on Saturday evening.
“I am relieved to get through that one to be honest. I was passive and I got it wrong early on. I sat back too much, even though I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t quite get it right and credit to him, he was moving unbelievably well,” Makin admitted.
“He was taking the ball in and taking his chances. Once it got to 2-0, I knew I needed to take him in and just work him. I had to try and stretch him out and he started to slow down. It was tough after that and it worked in the end.
“The atmosphere has been brilliant all week so I have enjoyed coming down and watching. Seeing your opponent for the next stage gives you a bit of a feel of how they are playing. We have all seen each other loads before but you get a feel for what they are doing this week.”
Paul Coll celebrating after his victory over Zahed Salem
Makin will play New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the final after the World No.6 got the better of Egypt’s Zahed Salem in the final match of the night. The Kiwi rounded off the semi-finals action with a convincing victory over the Egyptian.
Results – Men’s Semi-Finals: Open de France – Nantes
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt  Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (95m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (39m)
Results – Women’s Semi-Finals: Open de France – Nantes
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 15-13, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6 (46m)
Draw – Men’s Final: Open de France – Nantes (To be played Saturday 14th September)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
Draw – Women’s Final: Open de France – Nantes (To be played Saturday 14th September)
 Joel Makin (WAL) v  Paul Coll (NZL)