[SQUASH] ETC 2018!

The most prestigious European squash competition began just after the official opening ceremony of the Championships.

All photos: https://www.facebook.com/pg/EuropeanTeamChampionship2018/photos/?ref=page_internal


5th May, Saturday

We already know all of the results of the most prestigious competition in European squash, the ETC 2018. During the event there have been over 100 matches played on 10 courts simultaneously, with the participation of over 200 athletes, including players from the top ten PSA World Tour ranking.

As predicted, the English women triumphed among the ladies. In the grand finale they faced the French. The first pair on the court were Laura Massaro and Camille Serme (respectively: 7 and 6 rocket of the world in the PSA World Tour ranking). Camille Serme needed just three sets to win (5:11, 9:11 and 7:11). In the second match Alison Waters defeated Coline Aumard without major problems (11: 8, 11: 7 and 11: 5). The English ladies’ triumph was sealed by Victoria Lust, who won with Melissa Alves 11: 3, 11: 5 and 11: 5. After the match, Lust concluded: - It is known that the leaders of both teams play at a very similar level, this time Camille was better. The entire squad of our team is more even, Alison and I have won our duels. I think we have a chance to maintain the level of our national team – we still have many promising young players in the country – added Lust.

The bronze medal in the women’s category was won by Team Belgium, who beat Team Netherlands 2-0 (Nele Gilis – Milou van der Heijden 3:2 and Tinne Gilis – Nathalie Grinham 3:1). The 5th place of Team Wales, may be considered as a surprise (a year ago they stood on the lowest stage of the podium). Germany and the Czech Republic are being relegated from Division 1, in their place the Spaniards and Scots are promoted. Austria and Russia will fall from Division 2, the Polish women finish the Championships at the 5th place of the lower division.

The men’s finals did not disappoint the expectations of any of the fans who admired the struggles of the English and the French. The first two duels were won by France: Mathieu Castagnet beat James Willstrop (11:2, 11:6, 11:4), and Gregory Gaultier defeated Nick Matthew (11:7, 11:6, 11:7). In the third game, the Englishman Daryl Selby won against Lucas Serme (12:10, 11:3, 11:2). The French needed to win a set or 19 points to defend the trophy. The first part of the match Baptiste Masotti – Declan James was won by the Englishman (11: 8). After an extremely tense pursuit in the second set, the Frenchman won 11: 9, securing the French gold of European Championships. Masotti did not hide his emotions after the meeting: – We are a strong team and very close friends. Gregory Gaultier is my idol for a long time, it’s a great honor to play with him! I love this team!

The third place was taken by the Spaniards, who beat Germans in their last match. The teams from Denmark and the Czech Republic are being relegated from Division 1, the Swiss and Hungarians are taking their places. The Austrians and – unfortunately – Poles were eliminated from Division 2.

After four days full of squash at the highest level, the organizers would like to thank the participants, fans, referees, Wrocław authorities, volunteers and all involved in the European Championship ETC 2018!


4th May, Friday

Tomorrow we will find out which teams will be named the European Champions! Squads listed as favorites from the beginning, played according to their plans. Both in the category of men and women in Division 1, we will be able to watch the clashes of two top-ranked teams – England and France.

The English Women’s National Team had no problems in the semi-final against Belgium, losing just one set (in the match Laura Massaro – Nele Gilis, finished 3: 1). During the entire Championships, the ladies did not lose a single meeting, they lost only the one mentioned set. Their final rivals, the French, defeated Netherlands in the semifinal quite easily. Asked about strategy for the most important match – the finale, the highest ranked European, Camille Serme says: – We will watch a few Team England matches this evening and prepare our tactics, while I do not want to reveal anything. Certainly our opponents have a more even composition on paper, three players in the top ten PSA World Tour… But always, the match may go in a completely different way, so tomorrow we will certainly do our best!

The French Men’s National Team also made it to the final without much difficulty – losing just one set, in today’s semi-final duel of the two highest ranked players of Europe: Gregory Gaultier and Simon Rösner (3: 1). In the most important match of the Championships the French will face Team England. The English defeated the Spaniards 2:1 after a great battle. First, Tom Richards defeated Carlos Cornes 3: 0, later James Willstrop lost to Borja Golan 1:3, but the victory was saved by Declan James, winning with Bernat Jaume 3:0 – so it was no longer necessary to play the 4th match. – There will be more pressure on the French, they were the ones who defeated us a year ago - said Declan James after the match. Fortunately, we have an equal squad, five strong players, although we will know tomorrow if Nick Matthew will be able to play.

Ladies from Team Poland, thanks to their victory against Team Russia 2: 1, ensured their stay in Division 2. Although Polish ladies will play their last game of this event tomorrow – against Ireland at 9:00 – its result will not affect the stay in the division of any of these teams. Unfortunately, the gentlemen from Polish National Team recorded two defeats today: versus Austria (1: 3) and Portugal (1: 3). This means that regardless of the outcome of their tomorrow’s clash with Slovakia (at 9:00), the Poles will be relegated to Division 3. The national team coach Sjef van der Heijden says, however, that this is not a problem: - Our men’s team is at this moment somewhere between Division 2 and 3. The plan is to prepare a solid team for the Olympic Games in 2024, even if we are going to fall into a lower division for some time. We bet on the young, because I suppose we would drop out with the elders too. I’m satisfied with some of our boys’ games! We also need younger players for the ladies’ team – Karina Tyma is now one of the best junior girls in Europe, but if there are Olympic Games in the plan, we must have more such young girls.

3rd May, Thursday

The second day of the competition for the title of the best European team brought many significant results. We already know which of the teams will compete for the Championship or possible promotions to the higher division, and which will defend themselves from a relegation.

There were no big surprises in the matches of the favorites of Division 1. Although a day earlier Gregory Gaultier warned that the clash with Scotland may be for him and his colleagues from Team France a tough game, today the French smoothly won 4:0. Tomorrow, they will face the Germans in the semi-final. Team Germany lost 1:3 with the English. This game was definitely the most interesting in today’s male rivalry of the leaders of Division 1. In the first duel, Tom Richards beat Yannik Omlor 3:0 without major problems. In the second one, the German leader Simon Rösner (the sixth in the PSA World Tour ranking) fought Nick Matthew (11th in the ranking). In the first part of the game, Rösner triumphed, the second part was won by the Englishman. After the third, fierce set (victorious for Rösner), Matthew gave the match a walkover. - I had to retreat, I hope that I showed earlier that I can fight on an equal level with the top ranking player. We will see in the morning, if I will be able to play against Spain, it depends on whether health will allow me to – said the Englishman after the meeting. In the next match, James Willstrop needed 5 sets to win against Raphael Kandra. In the last clash, Declan James easily won against Lucas Wirths 3: 0.

Among the ladies from Division 1, Team England defeated the Dutch 3:0 and advanced to the semifinals in which they will face the Belgians. The French also defeated their opponents (Team Wales) 3:0, but the duel between the leaders of both teams – Camille Serme and Tesni Evans – was the most interesting game of today’s women’s competition. In the fifth set, the highest-ranked European woman in the PSA World Tour, Serme, was losing 7: 9 to finally win 11: 9! - Evans had never defeated me yet. She was so close, I think she was already thinking about it and she relaxed too much, and I kept on fighting. It’s also a matter of experience – Serme concluded. Tomorrow France will play against Netherlands.

The Polish ladies were very close to making a nice surprise and defeating the higher-ranked Finland. In the first match Natalia Ryfa lost 0: 3 with Riina Koskinen, but in the second duel young Karina Tyma showed an incredible will to fight – first eliminated a few-point loss in the first set and won, later (despite losing in the second set) she won two consecutive parts 11: 4! In the last, third match, Magda Kamińska fiercely fought in the first set (lost 14:16), but was defeated by Emilia Korhonen 0: 3. Thus, Poland will fight for places 5-8. Their next match is set to be played tomorrow at 12:00 (against Russia). The Polish Men’s team paused today, tomorrow they will play against Austria (at 10:00) and Portugal (at 16:00).

2nd May, Wednesday

According to the plan, the most prestigious European squash competition began just after the official opening ceremony of the Championships. Ladies were the first to compete. Among the women’s teams from Division 1, only the Belgians beat the team placed higher in the ranking – Wales (2: 1). In the other games of the European elite, the French, Dutch and English women did not lose even a set, playing with lower-ranked opponents; Welsh also quickly recovered from the defeat and won against Team Germany 3: 0.

Among the men playing in Division 1, the French went easily through both of their matches – Denmark and Spain were defeated without losing a single set. – We came to the match with Spain after an quite easy duel with Denmark, our opponents were well tired after a game against Scots [Spain won 3: 1]. Tomorrow, a tough game against Scotland awaits us it will not be easy there, they fight in each match, as if it was the most important, final game – explained Gregory Gaultier, the highest ranked European in the PSA World Tour ranking, fourth player in the World.

Team England first defeated Wales (4-0) without a loss of the set, and then unexpectedly had a fierce duel with the Czech Republic. Although the English managed to win 4-0, two matches consisting of five sets: Declan James versus Jakub Solnicky and James Willstrop versus Daniel Mekbib, could be considered as a surprise. An even more equal match was the one between the Germans and the Welshmen, in which the first ones won 3:1.

The Poles in Division 2 did not manage to record any victory, nor with the Dutch (although Maximilian Wielgus, as the only one Pole won one set, against Marc Ter Sluis), or with Hungary. This means that Team Poland will come out of the group in the last place and will fight for the 9th place only. – There have been some changes in the team, we are all young players, this event is mainly about gaining experience, playing against better teams - said Piotr Hemmerling. Besides, we can meet the best players, learn from them and watch squash at the highest level, that’s what this Championship is all about.

Polish Women National Team did a lot better. Although ladies lost a game against seeded with number 1 in Division 2 – Team Spain (0:3), in their next game they defeated (also higher-ranked) Austria 3:0! - Spain is the favorite in our group, we knew it would be difficult – Magda Kamińska explained. Later we fulfilled a plan for Austria in one hundred percent. I think I could already say that we will rather stay in this division, but I prefer to wait for the next games!

Wednesday, 2nd of May, the most prestigious squash event in Europe will start in Wrocław. In Hasta La Vista Sports Center (biggest squash facility in the World), 37 national teams from 22 European countries will participate in European Team Championships 2018.

The teams will compete in two Divisions of European Squash Federation: the continental elite – Division 1 and “contenders”, willing to advance – Division 2. That gives together more than 100 matches, played on 10 courts simultaneously, by more than 200 players. Among the favorites to win the title first of all England, France, Scotland and Germany are mentioned.

- We are a very experienced team – we got a good chance, but it’s going to be a tough rivalry – says Daryl Selby, third player of Team England, 19th player in PSA World Tour Ranking. All the other nations are getting stronger every year. France is alway strong, Spain and Germany is getting better. Some of a “new” nations, like Czech Republic got a very good players. We’ll see how it’s going to be this week – adds Selby.

We did very well last year, so obviously there’s some pressure – explains Tasni Evans, number 1 in Team Wales, 12th in PSA World Tour Women Ranking. But if we use it in a proper way, I’m pretty sure we can bring home some medals. Obviously Team France and England roster depth is great, compared to other countries, but in those other teams are very good players as well. I think I can make a prediction on our boys – Men’s Team Wales can cause a lot of problem for the favorites…

Men’s and Women’s Team Poland will compete in Division 2. Number 1 among ladies is Karina Tyma – that’s her first start in senior national team, but she did very well as a junior. Men’s national team is made all by very young players – averaging 19 – 20 years old.

First ETC 2018 games will start at 10:00, 2nd of May in Hasta La Vista Sports Centre, Góralska Street 5, Wrocław. First games of Division 1 will be matches between ladies (at 10:00: France – Germany, Netherlands – Czech Republic and Wales – Belgium). The men’s competition in Division 1 starts at 12:00 (France – Denmark, England – Wales, Germany – Czech Republic, Scotland – Spain).

Entrance to all of the games is free for spectators. The most interesting matches will be held at the glass courts (equipped in stands for 300 people) and transmitted in the Internet. More information and live score will be available at: www.etc-2018.com.