R2: Yathreb 3-1 Sana

Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-1 Sana Ibrahim (Egy) 3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 (50m)

As I mentioned to Yathreb at the end of the match, I had the impression to be on a local tournament in Egypt. An Egyptian ref, the Egyptian players, the fathers on site and very involved, the families, etc.

I don’t think either girl will be happy with their squash or the match. So many chats and discussions, and stoppages, arguments, the dads getting involved with the ref… As I mentioned, I knew I was in Egypt…

Sana was absolutely fuming as she stepped off court after losing the last point. I have been following her for years, I never ever saw her that angry or intense against an official. Maybe that’s something that needs to be looked at; when a gentle and respectful player loses it with an official, there might be a good reason for it? But what do I know?

Yathreb

To be honest, coming in today, I knew it was going to be tough. She is very talented, a very good player, she’s an up and coming player, she’s been doing good matches, so I knew what to expect.

We also play in the same club, Al Alhy Club, which put also a bit of a rivalry between us in the match.

I felt that the ref was not in control of the match from the beginning, and that was for both of us to be fair. For example, I felt that sometimes, she was standing on the ball, and not clearing, I was told that I had to go and find a way, but then again, she should have been told to clear her shot better. That would have allowed my momentum, more rhythm in the rallies.

Even if It’s a good shot, you need to clear the ball, and I felt that she wasn’t.¬†And a lot of situations where I just didn’t know how to handle my movement, should I go, not go, go round, stop but if you go round, it’s dead by the time you arrive. The ref was not helping us to have a fluid match.

My shots were not as tight as I would have liked. And it was making me more nervous, and it was reinforcing that scrappy feel to the match.

But as soon as I found my length, playing at my own pace, not getting so much interference between her and me, putting distance between us and the ball, that’s when I felt my shots getting more accurate and feeling my shots better.

So, what made the difference at the end was when I managed to stay away from her, play a good length and then try to go for my shots.

That would give me a good lead in most of the games, then I would lose a bit of focus, and she would come back, then I would get nervous again and get scrappy again.

I was happy to close each game, because she is good, and if I let my guard down for a second, she would win and take the match. I am very happy and pleased I got away with it go today. Next time I just hope I can be better from the start with my length, and not getting distracted with everything that’s happening on court, the referee, what she is saying, even if I feel it’s a wrong decision, just get on with it.

I felt the match was on and off all the time. Focusing, doing the right thing, then getting distracted by everything on court, my father talking, her father talking, everybody seemed to be involved…

I am playing Georgina tomorrow, I’ve never played her before, she’s been on top form. You know, Georgina is everything I wasn’t today! You know, playing a fellow Egyptian, a fellow team mate, in Egypt, and with an Egyptian ref, with the fathers… it’s never going to be easy…