R1: Ng 3-1 Tsz, Pajares 3-0 Farkas, Eleinen 3-0 Serme, Steinmann 3-2 Hussein

Comfortable enough wins for Eain Yow Ng, Iker Pajares and Aly Abou Eleinen, as Dimitri Steinmann comes from two games down, winning a 30-minute third, to deny wildcard Aly Hussein.

Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-1 Tsz Kwan Lau (Hkg) 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 (44m)
Iker Pajares (Esp) 3-0 Balazs Farkas (Hun) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (39m)
Aly Abou Eleinen (Egy) 3-0 Lucas Serme (Fra) 14-12, 11-8, 11-7 (45m)
Dimitri Steinmann (Sui) 3-2 [wc] Aly Hussein (Egy) 6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-7 (89m)

Dimitri Steinmann (Sui) 3-2 [wc] Aly Hussein (Egy) 6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-7 (89m)

What a superb advert for the sport this Swiss/Egypt match was. Aly, logically with the crowd behind him, but a fair crowd it has to be stressed, and Dimitri well, with Nicolas Mueller in his corner, and a few tourists. That was a good balance.

I enjoyed the match thoroughly. It was disputed, fair, grinding, exhausting for the players, intense, until the end to be honest. Aly, who just finished his Virginia Uni studies a month ago, is now going to go full pro. He is maybe not as flashy and naturally skilled than some other of his compatriots, but as I mentioned to him, Ali Farag didn’t do too badly…

The length of each game gives you the match picture actually, 16m first game, 13m, the crucial third game is 30m, Aly doesn’t play the 4th, 3m, but comes back in the 5th, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, at 8/5, a bleeding elbow gives the Egyptian a little rest but it’s not enough, and it’s the Swiss, never in doubt, 11/7 on his third attempt.

Aly : I wish I had more skills, like the other Egyptian players, but I’ve never been that kind of player who was able to put the ball away. But I’ve always been into fitness and healthy living, even without squash in the picture.

I just graduated from College a few days ago, so not been able to train as much I would have liked in the past months, but it is what it is. I’m normally known for my fitness, but it’s fine.

Next season, my main focus is to get full time, I wish I could have gotten a win here, it would have a nice mental boost… At the moment, I don’t have a coach, I’m based in Heliopolis Club, and I am thinking about asking Hossam Nasser, who is a great coach, completely the opposite of me, he is very calm, he is pretty chilled and relaxed, and that’s what I need.

Dimitri : Never in doubt? Not really!

The first two games, I struggled to find my length and width, a little bit, he was playing well, very good squash, picking up everything, I got frustrated and got lower and lower, and hit the tin.
IN the third, I just accepted it was going to be hard work, and I just took it on, and for the 4th and 5th game he was physically exhausted.

I have changed my team now, my main coach is Simon Rosner and I go to see Jonathan Power as well. I still work a bit with Rodney Martin, but yes, I switched things up a bit, which explains also why I was a bit struggling in the first two games, thinking a bit too much.

And in the third, I told myself, you have to win points, stop trying to think how you want to hit the ball and stuff. That’s what paid off in the end.

Tomorrow, Victor Crouin awaits. It’s sure going to be a long and tough game, and I love that. For me, squash is a primal sport, I just love it, love it. And even when you are having a bad day, challenging yourself to get back in the game. I just love it!

Aly Abou Eleinen (Egy) 3-0 Lucas Serme (Fra) 14-12, 11-8, 11-7 (45m)

Aly Abou : First of all, I have been trying to enjoy the process. That’s the main advice I got for the top players when I decided to become a full time pro: enjoy the process, because the more you enjoy it, the more you’ll want to learn from your performance.

The main thing is I surrounded myself with a great team. Right now, I’m working with Hesham El Attar, he’s been providing me with amazing guidance, he’s been helping me structuring my game, my movement, and mentally, on and off court.

I also have my fitness coach in Alexandria, Walid El Mosalamy, he is helping me off court with the fitness, improving my movement, my stamina. Which helps a lot because if you trust your fitness, you can afford to be patient and you can trust yourself in the crucial moments.

I’m also working with Jessy Engelbrecht as my mental coach. He is helping me embrace every moment.

So right now, it’s about trusting my game, learning from the process, staying fit, and mentally strong.
Auguste is one of those very strong French players, it’s a good opportunity to get to the next round for both of us, I’ll have to approach it just like every other match, focus on my strength, on what I can do, obviously I respect August a lot, and I’ll try to do my best tomorrow…