R1: Turmel 3/0 Beecroft, Aboelkheir 3/0 Ho, Azman 3-1 Lee, Ramadan 3-0 Ayman

The 2023 edition started with four women’s matches – Fayrouz Aboelkheir provided the first win for Egypt as her opponent retired in the second game. If poor Tomato looked very sick on court, not surprisingly stopped the match against one of the Egyptian top hopes Fayrouz, the match next door, an all-Egypt tussle, was very intense. And although Hana won 3/0, it was in no way easy!

So Hana Ramadan doubled up for the hosts as she overcame compatriot Kenzy Ayman in straight games, crucially taking the second on extra points.

Aifa Azman also won the second 13-11 as she edged past Lee Ka Yi in four, and Lucy Turmel won her all-English battle with ETC team-mate Lucy Beecroft with a trio of 12-10 wins!

Lucy Turmel (Eng) 3-0 Lucy Beecroft (Eng) 12-10, 12-10, 12-10 (41m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy) 3-0 Tomato Ho (Hkg) 11-2, 7-1 rtd (10m)
Aifa Azman (Mas) 3-1 Lee Ka Yi (Hkg) 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-4 (35m)
Hana Ramadan (Egy) 3-0 Kenzy Ayman (Egy) 11-8, 13-11, 11-5 (32m)

Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy) 3-0 Tomato Ho (Hkg) 11-2, 7-1 rtd (10m)

Aifa Azman (Mas) 3-1 Lee Ka Yi (Hkg) 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-4 (35m)

Aifa had played Ka Yi before on the Tour, but it was a few years ago, and today was a bit of an unknown for both I feel. The Malaysian was in control in the first game, thanks to a few too many errors from the Hong Kong player.

The second was again the turning point, Aifa needed 6 game balls to finally close the game 13/11 in 10m. A good response from Ya Yi in the third, but errors came back in the fourth, allowing the Malaysian to close to match 11/4 in 35m.

Aifa : I gave her too many chances in the middle, especially when I couldn’t get her lobs, as the conditions are quite cold. So I changed my game to attack more. But she stepped up even more, and I was stuck at the back. So that gave her more chances to play at the front.

I had to push her back, that’s the only thing I had to do, and I think I did pretty well in the 4th. She is a sharp shot player, especially on the volley and because she was in the middle, it was easy for her, she didn’t have much travelling to do. So once I managed to get her to the back, she had to work more, I made her run and yes, maybe got a bit tired.

In the 4th I hit it a lot harder and put more pace on the ball so she didn’t have time to react.

Tomorrow, I’m playing Nour El Tayeb. I played her once before, first round of the worlds, great draw! She has the same kind of game than her husband Ali Farag, they pick up a lot of balls and make you run a lot!

And she is getting better, and better, hand that’s scares me a little bit!

But it’s always good to play against the top players, it allows me to raise my game.

Hana Ramadan (Egy) 3-0 Kenzy Ayman (Egy) 11-8, 13-11, 11-5 (32m)

Hana : It’s always tricky to play against Kenzy, she is such a talented player, she has really good shots, she has them from the back too, and she surprised me all the time shooting from everywhere really!

So I was trying to read the court well, and go and be more attacking, as I felt I was a bit passive. I knew I had to keep pushing forward.

From the third onwards, I was trying to move up the court a bit more as I felt that the second game was very close, I thought I was going to lose it, I was losing a bit of concentration, but thankfully, I kept my shots and pinned her back as much as I could. I was able to be more aggressive in the last game, taking on my shots.

Tomorrow, I’m playing Nouran Gohar. We are the same age, so we played numerous times! She is playing amazing squash lately, so that’s going to be a good one, looking forward to step on court with her.

Lucy Turmel (Eng) 3-0 Lucy Beecroft (Eng) 12-10, 12-10, 12-10 (41m)

Lucy T :  I had a really good plan today, which was slightly different from the last time we played, where I won 3/2. I knew I had it in me to do a better score, more of a mindset change as well.

Although it’s the last tournament of the season, I felt I had that little bit of extra energy in me, and when I get back home, I’ll be sure I did my best.

Against Nele tomorrow, I think the key will be in the quality of my squash and not get into a marathon with her…