England’s Declan James is the 2018 Open International de Squash de Nantes champion after he caused an upset on the final day to defeat top seed James Willstrop, inside the stunning Théâtre Graslin.
It’s James’ first ever win over Willstrop, who he partnered at the Commonwealth games, and it was no easy task. The match took a monumental 76 minutes with James claiming the spoils after fighting back from a set down twice. In the end he took the victory 2-11. 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9. The momentum of the match continued to constantly shift between the two Englishmen right up until the last moment, then with the scores locked at 9-9 in the fifth, James held his nerve to edge ahead and claim his biggest PSA title to date.
“I had a really good mentality before I went on and I just said to myself that the result doesn’t matter, it’s just an occasion to enjoy and as long as I leave everything on the court then I will be happy.
“It all just happened really quickly in the end but it’s a really special moment for me.”
Being the first tournament back for the new season, James will be hoping that this can kick start his best ever season.
(Photo credit: Nathalie Goossens)