7:47 am
14 Apr 2024

French Fried In Paris

24 Sep 2008

All three local bids for success in the qualifying finals of the Internationaux de France failed as two Englishmen, one Indian and an Australian joined the main draw of the $62,000 5-star PSA Tour event in Paris - the first major squash championship to be held in the French capital since 1995.

England's Chris Ryder and Tom Richards were the first to make the opening round of the Gallic equivalent of the British Open - and both overcame French opposition. Ryder, from Wolverhampton, beat Joan Lezaud 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, while Richards, from Surrey, had to fight back from two games down to topple Julien Balbo 9-11, 6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-7 in 74 minutes.

Ryder will now meet compatriot James Willstrop, the second seed from Yorkshire who is making his first PSA Tour appearance since May after recovering from an ankle injury.

But in the longest match recorded on the PSA Tour this year, Australia's Aaron Frankcomb battled for 125 minutes to overcome the number one Hungarian Mark Krajcsak 13-11, 11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8.

The 23-year-old from Hobart now takes on Gregory Gaultier, the French number one who is seeded to win his first Tour title on home soil since claiming the French Open crown in Antibes exactly six years ago.

France's last hope for success in the Internationaux qualifiers was Mathieu Castagnet. But the 21-year-old from Le Mans went down 11-3, 11-7, 11-7 to four-time Indian champion Saurav Ghosal, surprise winner of the Ornano International Open title in the French city of Bordeaux earlier in the month.

Qualifying finals:
Chris Ryder (ENG) bt Joan Lezaud (FRA) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (42m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Julien Balbo (FRA) 9-11, 6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-7 (74m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 11-3, 11-7, 11-7 (51m)
Aaron Frankcomb (AUS) bt Mark Krajcsak (HUN) 13-11, 11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8 (125m)