Unseeded Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet produced the biggest shock on quarter-final day at the Open de Squash Banque Nationale Groupe Financier in Canada when he defeated third seed Cameron Pilley to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour International 35 event at Club Sportif MAA in Montreal.
"There was very little separating these two in the first game, despite the difference of nearly 30 ranking spots," said a spokesman for the event. "The unassuming-looking Frenchman, with an unconventional technique and at least half a foot shorter than the Australian, managed not only to hang in, but to dictate play at many points of the game.
"But Pilley came up with some incredibly tight straight drop winners to take the first 11-8, to which the Frenchman was left to hack his racquet against the wall in frustration. Castagnet started off quickly in the second, taking the ball early with impressive speed and reach, and hitting some tight winners that Pilley could only blame the cracks of the court on.
"A few loose points by the Australian was all that it took to give the second to the Frenchman, who ended the game with a perfect forehand drop and an energized pump fist. Castagnet continued with tight and aggressive play in the third completely dictating the rallies, while Pilley made a number of unforced errors that prompted some disgusted expletives to himself.
"At 8-1 down, the curly-haired Australian woke up a bit with some nicely-constructed rallies, but he was too far behind, and the Frenchman took the third 11-6. Not letting up in the fourth and smelling victory, Mathieu kept the pressure up and ended it 11-6."
The 25-year-old from Le Mans will now face fellow Frenchman Thierry Lincou after the veteran former world No1, the event's second seed, battled to a 5-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 win over Scottish champion Alan Clyne.
The other semi-final will be the Anglo/Egypt clash predicted by the seedings - between favourite Hisham Mohd Ashour, the defending champion from Cairo, and fourth seed Tom Richards.
Ashour recovered from a game down to end qualifier Steven Finitsis's run, beating the 29-year-old Australian 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11, while Richards overcame New Zealander Martin Knight in four games.
RESULTS: PSA International 35 Open de Squash Banque Nationale Groupe Financier, Montreal, Canada
 Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Steven Finitsis (AUS) 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11
 Tom Richards (ENG) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 11-3, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt  Cameron Pilley (AUS) 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 5-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5
 Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v  Tom Richards (ENG)
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
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