Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy) v Sebastien Bonmalais (Fra)
Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-0 Leonel Cardenas (Mex) 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (37m)
Raphael Kandra (Ger) 3-2 Mahesh Mangaonkar (Ind) 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-3 (58m)
Shahjahan Khan (Usa) 3-1 Alan Clyne (Sco) 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9 (65m)
Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 3-1 Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA)
Sebastien Bonmalais had it tough recently. He contracted COVID in the first wave and hadn’t played squash for a year. That’s a long time… He played a few days ago in the Mulhouse Challenger where he was seated 1, and lost in the final, only to hear a few hours later that he was going to Egypt as he was now in the draw!
Playing Mohamed ELSherbini in the round one is maybe not the easiest of draws, but today the Frenchman hold his rank and can be proud of his performance. “I didn’t expect such a tough one” confessed ElSherbini with a smile, “he sure made me run, a LOT” he added.
Yes, the Frenchman was disappointed, but there were times in the last months where he thought he would never be able to play at his level again. He definitely is on the right tracks.
Sherbini : It was a very interesting match. To be honest, I had no expectations coming to that match, I just wanted to get myself going, I haven’t played a match in over 5 weeks. My year has been a very tough one… So today I didn’t want to stress, get my shots going, not play just fitness squash, I wanted to play good shots, tight shots, smart squash, clean, without any need for running.
But he had me running. A LOT. I didn’t expect that. I thought it was going to be much easier than that. All credit to him, he is very fast. I had to make sure that my ball was tight and take my space on court to finish the point. Yes, Elhamdoulillah…
Seb : I’m very disappointed because I think I had a good chance to take the win today. In the second, I’m up 10/7 to lead 2/0. I miss a bit of experience on those games, I need to play more matches like that.
Of course, not being able to play competitively for a year played a huge role. I saw it at 10/7, I was leading and suddenly, the wheel gone off, brain gone, I lost the habits I had before.
So, yes there is a lot of positive to take out of my first major match back, but really disappointed as I think I have a chance today.
Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-2 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND)
Finally a win for Rafa in a major as the German didn’t really have much luck recently – only in Qatar he reached the third round, the three other big event (Manchester 2020, CIB Egyptian Open 2020, Backball 2021) he lost in the first round. So he was happy/relieved today, truly, to finally get through to the second round, but most of all, to feeling comfortable physically on there. Mahesh really pushed the German today, he maybe just lack a bit of match practice at the end….
Rafi : I don’t care I won in 5. As long as there is a W next to my name, I’m happy.
I don’t know what is happening at the moment to be honest. I am training well, playing well, but when I arrive on events, I don’t know if it’s the COVID effect or what but suddenly I seem to lose my confidence in myself, in my game. I’m afraid of not showing the best squash I can play for some reason.
Today, in the 3rd and 5th, there were patches where I felt that’s the way I know I can play squash. But otherwise I try to push, I try to scream, but it just doesn’t come out.
At least today, I was feeling fine physically, whereas last time against Rooney I was dead after one big rally! Today, I w as happy to play five games, it could have gone to 7 games for that matter!
And I have good memories here, plus I have now two girls, Mylenne and Livia, since the 26th April, so there is a lot of positive in my life at the moment…
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0 Leonel Cardenas (MEX)
I know what it is to be the young one coming up, and now I’m on the other side, so I know how to prepare, I knew that he would come in firing and he did that. But I think I maintained my composure.
With Hadrian Stiff, in Bristol, we talked about keeping the ball very tight to the wall, getting my length, just make sure I hit the backwall as I know he is very skilful. Just playing accurate squash. So when he would come in, just play a big counter, and that worked really well.