France’s Victor Crouin and Belgium’s Nele Gilis both secured the biggest victories of their careers as they won the Open de France de Squash titles at Hangar 24 in Nantes, getting the better of Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy and Belgium’s Tinne Gilis.

Open de France Nantes, Day FIVE, SEMI-FINALS (best of 5)

[1] Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-0 [2] Tinne Gilis (Bel)    11-9, 11-6, 11-3 (49m)

[4] Victor Crouin (Fra) 3-2 [1] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10 (72m) 

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Crouin came into the tournament as the brand-new French No.1, having overtaken Gregoire Marche in the World Rankings following his exploits in the QTerminals Qatar Classic last week, and he lived up to that throughout the week’s play in Nantes.

In his third final in a row, Crouin came up against Egypt’s top seed Marwan ElShorbagy. ElShorbagy  took a 6-2 lead in the opener but Crouin then won nine consecutive points to take the first game 11-6. ElShorbagy pulled level with an 11-9 win. ‘The Jackal’ took the third but Crouin wrestled back the momentum to level 11-8 win to force a fifth game.

With the scores at 9-9, the title was there for the taking for either man. Crouin was the first to make a move and had Championship Ball at 10-9, but was unable to convert. He then had another chance at 11-10, earned with a spectacular volley, and this time made no mistake, with the 23-year-old winning his biggest title to date with a 12-10 win.

In the women’s final Nele Gilis was in brilliant form to put younger sister Tinne to the sword and claim her first Bronze title. It was the younger of the sisters that flew out into an early lead in the opening game, but Nele was able to fight back to take a tight first 11-9. She extended that lead after winning the second, and Tinne started to struggle in the third as Nele was able to avenge last month’s defeat in the European Championship final, and claim her second Nantes title.