France 4-0 Netherlands
hosts safely through
Thierry Lincou 3-0 Dylan Bennett
12/10, 11/6, 11/4 (32m)
Gregory Gaultier 3-0 Laurens Jan Anjema
11/6, 11/4, 11/8 (56m)
Renan Lavigne 2-0 Piedro Schweertman
11/4, 11/7 (17m)
Mathieu Castagnet 2-0 Sebastiaan Weenink
11/3, 11/6 (18m)
Lincou & Gaultier put France safe,
it's a tenth final v England in eleven years ...
the Dutch beat France in the 2007 semi-finals in Riccione the
French were missing their top two of Gregory Gaultier and
Thierry Lincou (they still managed to finish third).
No such luxury for the Dutch today though as France fielded its
strongest team, and Thierry Lincou got them off to the perfect
It could have been different, though, had Dylan Bennett managed
to capitalise on a 10-8 lead in the first, but Lincou,
traditionally a slow starter, found the extra to take the next
four points to head the danger off at the pass.
Having done so it became easier for him, partly because his own
confidence was high as evidenced by some flashy shots, most of
which came off, and partly because of the help Dylan gave him
with a few inopportune tins, particularly at 9-6 in the second
to gift Lincou game ball.
The third was quick, 7/0 in a flash for Thierry, and not long
after France were in the lead.
an hour later France were virtually there, a 3-0 win for Gregory
Gaultier over LJ Anjema meant they needed only one more game to
be sure. It was a tough hour though, Anjema had no intention of
going quietly, and the first game alone took 21 minutes for
Gaultier to squeeze out the lead.
A 4-0 start in the second made that game a little easier, and
come the third the French number one was beginning to open out,
again going 4-1 up, then 7-2.
He was keen to finish it, probably too keen as he went for some
Lincou-style flashy winners that didn't come off and the
Dutchman seized the chance to get back into the game.
He thought he'd got it back to 9-8 on a stroke, but a let was
called on an earlier pickup, and Gaultier's slam volley to make
it 10-7 just added salt to the wound.
They both ran like hares in the last two rallies, but eventually
Greg put in a shot tight enough to force a loose return, stroke
and match to France. No big celebrations, partly because they
weren't quite in the final yet, and mainly because tomorrow is
the match they really, really want to win.
Six minutes later the match was over as a contest when Renan
Lavigne took the first 11/4 against Piedro Schweertman, so the
matches now became best of three.
The French captain took the next too, and Mathieu Castagnet
wasted no time in finishing the match off against Sebastiaan
England 4-0 Wales
England in 18th successive final
James Willstrop 3-0 Peter Creed
11/4, 11/7, 11/6 (32m)
Nick Matthew 3-0 Jethro Binns
11/2, 11/5, 11/8 (38m)
Peter Barker 2-0 Nic Birt
11/7, 11/7 (17m)
Daryl Selby 2-0 Lewys Hurst
11/2, 11/1 (16m)
Willstrop starts England off
The first men's semi-final featured a full-strength England side
against Wales, who were resting their two veteran stars David
Evans and Alex Gough to give first outings to Nic Birt and Lewys
First up were the number two strings with James Willstrop
triumphing in an entertaining match with Peter Creed, the
diminutive (by Willstrop standards) Welshman regularly flinging
himself around the court - on a couple of occasions more than
once in a rally - much to the delight of the crowd (and the
bemusement of the court sweepers, who seemed reluctant to sweep
the areas the dives had actually taken place!).
So, a safe start for England, and no sign of another seismic
Matthew in control
to number one after winning the Welsh Nationals this year,
Jethro Binns will have relished the chance to take on world
number two Nick Matthew on the glass court in front of a large
The occasion seemed to get to him in the first as he subsided
quickly, but the longer the match went on the more comfortable
he seemed. Matthew pulled away from 5-4 in the second, but was
held to 8-all in the third before he managed to pull clear to
put England two up.
Essex boys round it off
In a pair of foreshortened best-of-three games, Essex team-mates
Peter Barker and Daryl Selby wrapped up the semi-final for
France 2-1 Ireland
a first-ever final for France
Maud Duplomb 3-1 Laura Mylotte
11/8, 5/11, 11/4, 11/5 (35m)
Camille Serme 1-3 Madeline Perry
11/8, 8/11, 9/11, 4/11 (53m)
Isabelle Stoehr 3-0 Aisling Blake
11/7, 11/9, 11/4 (38m)
gets France started ...
Having just watched England lose, the crowd were already worked
up, and Maud Duplomb gave them more reason to get excited as she
put the home team ahead.
Laura Mylotte gave as good as she got for two games, losing the
first from 8-all and taking the second comfortably, but from
4-all in the third Maud started finding her range, putting in
her shots and effectively outpowering the Irishwoman.
Seven points in a row to take the third, and a 6-1 lead in the
fourth was evidence of that. Although Laura pulled a few points
back towards the end it was never likely to be enough, and when
Laura served down on match point it was all over.
"I was a bit nervous at the
start, yes," admitted the winner, "but the crowd helped a lot,
they were very good. Once I got my confidence I was able
to go for my shots in the last two games, which you need to do
on a glass court."
Perry sets up the decider
She may have just broken into the world's top ten - in the new
May rankings - but France's Camille Serme found she still has a
little way to go to be able to consistently beat those who have
been fixtures there for several years.
Perry, after almost two years out after a career-threatening
attack, is pretty much back to where she was, and she followed
up yesterday's win over Jenny Duncalf with an assured
performance to put Ireland on level terms with the hosts.
Serme took the first, closing it out from 8-all to the delight
of the almost-full auditorium, but Perry was largely in control
for the next three games, opening up early leads of 6-0, 4-0 and
4-0, and however hard Camille fought there was no way Madeline
was going to let those leads slip, and as Camille slid into the
front corner vainly trying to retrieve the final dropshot
Madeline turned to the outnumbered Irish fans.
Isa seals the deal for France
Isa, Isa ..." the crowd were chanting as Isabelle Stoehr came
out for the third game of her deciding match with Aisling Blake.
Two games up, but it had been far from easy, the Irishwoman
battling hard, but just losing out from 7-9 in the first and
9-all in the second.
The third was a different story though, Isa was confident, the
shots were going in, and each winner wound up the crowd more,
which pumped Isa up more ... as if either needed it.
was really enjoying that at the end! You never have those sort
of moments when you're playing for yourself, and when the crowd
were chanting my name it gave me goosebumps, but I knew I needed
to calm down and concentrate.
"I'd lost to Aisling last time we played so I knew it wasn't
going to be easy, but you can't help get a lift from an
atmosphere, an occasion like this and having such a great crowd
"So, we're in the final for the first time, in France, it's all
there for us but we can't expect it to be easy, the Dutch will
have taken great confidence from beating England, so we have to
be at our best again tomorrow ..."
England 1-2 Netherlands
a first-ever loss for England
Tania Bailey 3-0 Orla Noom
11/6, 11/3, 11/9 (29m)
Jenny Duncalf 1-3 Vanessa Atkinson 9/11, 10/12,
11/8, 5/11 (40m)
Sarah Kippax 1-3 Annelize Naudé
8/11, 5/11, 11/7, 9/11 (45m)
Orla leaves it too late
Noom made a good start for the Netherlands as the second stage
of the competition got under way at Val de L'Arc, quickly going
4-0 up against the experienced Tania Bailey.
The Englishwoman soon found her range though, levelled at 4-all
and was in control of the game, seemingly of the match, from
thereafter.Tania is much more experienced on the glass court of
course, and as she became more settled she started top dominate.
At 8-2 in the third it looked all over, but Orla staged a fine
recovery, found some lovely winners, and made her way back to
Tania stopped the rot with a volley kill, Orla fluffed the next
rally trying to push the ball straight from a deep, tight shot,
then Tania found the winning dropshot to put England into the
took me a few rallies to be able to see the ball, and she
whipped in a few crosscourts, it's always harder to counter
those from a leftie.
"After I got into it I felt comfortable and in control, I almost
saw us shaking hands, which is the worst thing you can do, she's
never going to give up.
"It's always a bit nerve-wracking when you're first on and
expected to win, I'm just glad to get the team off to a winning
Vanessa gives Dutch a great chance
probably never going to get a better chance of beating England
than this," said a delighted Vanessa Atkinson after she had
beaten world number two Jenny Duncalf to level the match.
Atkinson had got the better of two close first games, there was
never much in it but it was the Dutch number one who found the
winning shots at the business end of both.
Duncalf came out looking more determined in the third, powering
to an 8/2 lead, but a few errors started to let Atkinson back
in, and the Dutch confidence started to come back. At 8/7 the
Englishwoman was relieved to see her opponent's dropshot clip
the tin, and she moved on to reduce the deficit.
It was all Atkinson in the fourth though, putting the ball away
crisply and forcing any errors that came her way. 3-0, 6-2, 9-2
... it was probably all over, but then Jenny had recovered from
3-9 down in the fourth yesterday.
Not this time though, a couple of edgy moments for the Dutch
supporters, but they were soon enough cheering their girl to the
"I went on thinking there was no pressure on me, just give it a
good go. But once you start to sense a chance of winning you
naturally get nervous, especially in that last game.
"Jenny can put shots away so quickly, I never felt comfortable
however far ahead I was. It was nice to be able to put shots
away on this court though, as opposed to the club courts which
are so hot and bouncy ... especially that last one!"
"It was disappointing to lose to France yesterday, but how weird
would it be to go on to beat England today and then maybe play
France again in the final!"
Annelize axes English history
competition started in 1978 and England have won every time ...
except this year.
Annelize Naudé concluded a sensational victory over the
defending champions and hot favourites with victory over Euro
Teams debutante Sarah Kippax in a prerruse-cooker atmosphere in
the Val de L'Arc sports centre.
Starting condifently the Dutchwoman took the first two games,
pulling clear at the end of the first and dominating the second,
before Kippax fought back, holding a lead throughout the third
and taking a 4-1 lead in the fourth.
The play was often nervous, as you would expect, with both
players making unforced errors as well as some sparkling
winners. At 8-7 Naudé fired a volley into the floor, then hit a
service return out to make it 9-7 and possible salvation for the
glued a drive deep to pull one back, forced a stroke from a
loose dropshot to level, hit a stunning volley drop from
midcourt to set up matchball, and ended up on the floor as the
referee called "match to Netherlands", Sarah stretching vainly
towards a deep drive and taking her opponent out in the process.
So, the record is over, and while the Dutch will probably feel
grateful to France for beating them yesterday, don't expect that
feeling to continue should they meet the hosts again in
tomorrow's final ...
was very nervous, obviously, but I just had to try to put the
result out of my mind and play each point as it came. I was ok
for the first two games but it started getting to me after that.
"Things were going my way in those two games, I was able to play
winners, but she put me under pressure later in the match, I had
to be more consistent and rally it out.
"It's a great feeling to win, to beat England at last, but we
can't afford to celebrate too much, there's another match to go