Defending champions James and Gilis handed tough draws

Defending champions Declan James and Nele Gilis have been handed difficult draws at the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital, which will take place at Chateau des ducs de Bretagne from 9th to 14th September.

James lifted the biggest title of his career to date when he beat former World No.1 James Willstrop in last year’s final held at Théâtre Graslin, and the World No.17 is seeded seventh this time around. He receives a bye into round two, where he will play either Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet or India’s Ramit Tandon, while he is seeded to play No.2 seed Paul Coll in the quarter-finals.

Men’s top seed Simon Rösner will line up against either Spain’s Borja Golan or England’s Richie Fallows in round two, while he is seeded to play three-time winner Gregoire Marche in the last eight.

Elsewhere, Welshman Joel Makin is set to face home player Baptiste Masotti or Alan Clyne in round two, while Egypt’s Zahed Salem will play either Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu or PSA Men’s Young Player of the Year Youssef Ibrahim in the last 16.

A repeat of the 2018 women’s final could be played as early as the second round, with Gilis set to face either last year’s runner-up Emily Whitlock or Egypt’s Menna Nasser.

The winner of that match with Gilis will play No.2 seed Sarah-Jane Perry, who will begin her title challenge against the winner of Julianne Courtice and Alexandra Fuller’s first round match.

French No.1 Camille Serme is guaranteed to begin her tournament against a compatriot. World No.34 Coline Aumard and Word No.44 Melissa Alves will battle it out in round one for the chance to do battle with the top seed.

Engand’s Alison Waters features on the same side of the draw as Serme and will play either Belgium’s Tinne Gilis or wildcard Enora Villard in round two, while United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy will face either compatriot Haley Mendez or Egyptian Mayar Hany.

The Open de France features equal prize money for the first time, with $147,000 up for grabs across both draws. La Maison du Squash will host round one matches, while round two matches will be split between there and the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne. The Chateau des ducs de Bretagne will host all matches from the quarter-finals onwards.

All of the action from the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne will be shown live on SQUASHTV/Eurosport Player and the PSA Facebook page.

Tickets are available for purchase, and fans can also support the event by participating in the tournament’s crowdfunding campaign.