R3 : Tinne 3-2 Satomi

[7] Tinne Gilis (Bel) 3-2 [9/16] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9 (53m)

Because the previous game was a bit flowery, I wasn’t able to focus on that match except for the last game to have honest. And after what Greg went through in the previous match with Mohamed, I felt for him – being a coach is not the easiest job in the world, and it could be one of the most stressful!

A very powerful start for Satomi in that decider, 5/2. I thought that was the end to be honest but pushed by Greg’s encouragements, Tinne found two lovely winners and forced an error, 5/5.

6/5 Satomi steps in front again, but Tinne strings 4 points in a row, she is on a roll, 9/6. Or is she. The Japonese finds two great winners, 8/9. Drop shot for Tinne, no let decides the ref, 10/8 match ball Tinne.

A powerful backhand kills saves that one, 9/10, but at the end of a nailbitting rally, Satomi clips slighly the tin, and the Belgium is in the quarters, 11/9…

Tinne : “I think to be honest I’m actually very happy with this. Like I said yesterday, Satomi and I always have big battles and I don’t think it could have been any closer. It’s the closest battle we’ve had so far and I had to dig in very deep, even when I was down in the fifth I was like ‘I know I can do it, I just have to push through’ and I know her weaknesses – obviously she knows mine too and I think this is the best I’ve seen her play against me. She picked up so many shots that she usually wouldn’t pick up and it was a fair and clean battle – although I think I nearly gave Greg a heart attack! But I came through it

“There were a lot of shots where I thought ‘this one’s a double’ but then all of them were good, I was so impressed with her movement at the front and because usually I’ll attack her at the front where she’s not been quite there but today she was picking up everything.

“I had to adjust and change my gameplan. I was under pressure at it was just a matter of patience.”

“Yes, if Nele wins tonight it will be another Gilis battle! I think that we’ve played so many times and we know each other so well. Personally, of course I don’t like playing her but I’m at the point now where I want to beat her and give it my all. If that happens, then I’m definitely going to forget that I’m playing my sister and just focus on my squash because she knows how to get into my head and I’m not going to let that happen. Otherwise I’d just feel bad for not pushing, all I want to do is give it my all – if she gets through because she has a really tough match!”