by Simon Daish
The day started off with semi-final matches across both categories, as the battle between the remaining competitors began to intensify.
Yuan Jia Nan put in a strong display in the last four of the Women’s Singles draw to see off Laura Gasnier in straight games (11-8, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4), while Pauline Chasselin pulled off a surprise victory over Liu Yu Hua in the other semi-finals encounter (8-11, 5-11, 13-11, 17-15, 11-7, 11-8).
The final itself was an entertaining affair with both players giving it their all in front of the crowd. Only five games were required before Yuan Jia Nan picked up her third Women’s Singles title at the French Championships, and while Pauline Chasselin put up a brave fight there was no stopping Yuan Jia Nan (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5) as she won her second national trophy in three years.
“I am very happy to have won this third title. Despite the stakes, I managed to make a good end to the game by being solid in the head. It was really tense at the end of the fourth game, I led 10-6 and it returns to 10-10. I had to win this game, it was very important”, Yuan Jia Nan.
Arguably the shock of the day goes to Alexandre Robinot who turned the Men’s Singles tournament on its head as he condemned the top seed Simon Gauzy to a semi-finals defeat (11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8), setting up a meeting with Emmanuel Lebesson in the final following his 4-2 success over Romain Lorentz (7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 16-14).
Emmanuel Lebesson was hailed as a hero of France towards the closing stages of last year when he defied the odds to claim the Men’s Singles crown at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Now the dream has continued for Lebesson after he added the 2017 French Championships title to his collection with a fine performance against Robinot (11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9), bringing the competition in Marseille to a close.
“It’s just great to win this title. It was the highest Championships in France since the time of the Musketeers (Gatien, Chila, Legoût and Eloi) with 7 players classified in the world top 100. It is always good to stand out before a plateau so high. It was also a special weekend for me, it was the birthday of my son who was born the day we missed out on a medal at the World Team Championships in 2016”, Emmanuel Lebesson.