QF: Diego ends Iker’s run 3-0

[1] Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 Iker Pajares (Esp)  11-9, 11-2, 11-2 (39m)

Iker was up for it in the first game, even if he didn’t have such a great start. But quickly the two competitors were side by side, nothing between them. Iker even went slightly up, 7/6. The rallies were completely different pace from the previous match, very, very, very slow, Iker doing what he does best, taking the pace off the ball completely, lobbing, crosscourting volley drop shots, and making the Peruvian visit the court a few times.

9/9, we literally hold our breath, but a superb quick winner from Diego, 10/9, and the only error of the opener for Iker at that point, 11/9 in 22m.

“No legs, can’t breathe and find your oxygen,” explained Iker. And I believe you. Still, he was happy with the event, “ecstatic to reach the quarters” he was.

Diego : It’s a quarter final so there’s always nerves. I’m just happy I won that first game, I think it was very important. It’s tough conditions so it’s hard to get used to it, and it’s even hard to practice in the morning. It’s so hot, so coming in straight into the matches, but I’m happy I won the first game and then the rest of the match..

“I just came in to my game, the way I play. With these conditions, it was really hard. The ball was bouncing a lot, so I changed my game a little bit. I hit a lot of lobs, there was no point in hitting the ball hard because it was coming all the way back to the ’T’. Happy with the way I changed my gameplan, and I’m happy to be in the semi-finals.

“Ali and Victor are both playing amazing squash. Ali won the last three tournaments, he is in great form so I hope he is tired! Victor, we had a crazy match at the British Open. It will be tough against either of them!

Iker : The conditions are extremely hard out there, especially against him: there is nothing better than him at the moment you know!

It’s so hard to find air, fresh air, you are breathing heat, you can’t recover between the rallies. You feel your legs so much, not moving, your legs/muscles do not respond to you due to the lack of oxygen.

I tried to enjoy it today, but I just couldn’t. I had the same experience on the glass at the Pyramids, I didn’t enjoy while playing because the conditions are too tough. You think about breathing, your body, no opportunity to enjoy your squash, nor the venue!

I tried my best in the first game, we designed a game plan with my coach this morning, it HAD to be the first game, otherwise it was going to be very hard…. and it was!

Very very tough first game, I lost it, and then, it was a huge mountain, but very happy wit the tournament, I had nothing to lose today. And it’s an experience, I need these kind of matches, playing in those conditions, against those players. I was over the moon reaching the quarters ….