Final SquashSite Coverage
reports by Linda Elriani – Photos Jean Evarti
 Nouran Gohar 3-0  Nour El Tayeb 11-9, 11-5, 11-2 (27m)
2020 finalists were Nour El Tayeb, world #4 and last year’s Carol Weymuller Champion, playing Nouran Gohar world #3 and the current British and US Open Champion. Both players looked bouncy and eager to go on knowing this was their last huge effort after a very successful and tiring week at the Weymuller.
This is the first all Egyptian Carol Weymuller final, which is surprising seeing as there are so many wonderful Egyptian players. The head to head between Nouran and Nour is 7-7, so this just adds to the anticipation that surrounds this match. Could Nour win two consecutive finals or will Nouran step in and take the crown?
This match was going to be particularly interesting as both players, whilst very much on-form, play with quite different styles. Nouran plays a precise, incredibly hard hitting attacking game, stepping forward on the court. Nour varies the pace and goes short whenever possible with colourful creative shots whenever she feels there is a space open on the court. Nour is well known for diving for balls (though she hasn’t done that this tournament yet) and she tries to twist and turn her opponent and take away their rhythm. Who was going to manage to force their game plan over the other? We’d soon find out!!!!
The match started evenly with both players settling into the first few rallies. There were was a mixture of amazing winners and sprinkled with a few unforced errors which can happen at the beginning of a big match while both players find their feet. One thing that Nouran did right out of the gate was use her fantastic crisp drives to try and put the pressure on Nour and take away her chances to use her delicate short shorts.
Nouran got the first lead at 6-3, but Nour pushed back to 6-6, it was then that Nouran seemed to take it up another gear. Her pace went to another notch and it was so hard for Nour to tally up any more points. Nouran had her first game ball at 10-6, but some of Nouran’s drives started to catch the side wall a little and give Nour the chance to step forward and take advantage. With a couple of no lets and precise drops from Nour she was 9-10 and knocking on the door again. But Nouran wasn’t having any of it and she hit the perfect backhand drive down the wall to clinch the first game 11/9.
The second game started pretty evenly again and Nour was able to use some hold and her wonderful drops to gain some points from Nouran. Both players covered the court so amazingly and made it look so easy to get from the front corner to the back and back up again! There were some long rallies in the middle of the game and it was then that Nour started to look a little tired and some errors started to creep in from her. Nouran’s boasts were so aggressive and low and really pulled Nour up the court and made her work so hard. Nouran eased away from 5-4 and onto 10-5 taking the second game on a stroke 11-5.
The third game was all Nouran! She totally dominated and Nour seemed to lose her focus and a little bit of her fight as Nouran kept on bulldozing through the match. Nouran’s drive were crisp, hard and accurate and she totally dominated the T. Nour was out of ideas and Nouran stormed through to take the match and her first Carol Weymuller Open title 11/9, 11/5, 11/2.
The interesting thing about having a tournament in a club like the Heights Casino is that you get to know the players as they are around the club all week. Even though Nouran totally lives up to her nickname ‘The Terminator’ on the court, she is a sweet, humble and grateful person off the court. It has been so fun to see her playing for the first time in person and to also see what a quiet and lovely human being she is too. I am definitely a Nouran Gohar fan now!
Watching both players display world class, hard fought squash with such tremendous sportsmanship and respect for each other was really heartwarming and inspiring. We were all very privileged to witness this match this evening and all week, and it definitely makes us already feel excited to have them all back for the next Carol Weymuller Open!!
“I’m extremely happy. I can’t describe it, I’m over the moon right now. I was just taking it match by match and didn’t quite imagine having this trophy in my hands at the end of this week!!!
The mental part is really important first. I like playing on this court. The family I stayed with make it feel like home and the club and members and everyone are very welcoming. So I definitely think this helps to play well.
Thank you to the sponsors and everyone that made this tournament possible for so many years. Hopefully I’ll see you next year.”
 Nouran Gohar 3-0  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (34m)
 Nour El Tayeb 3-0  Joelle King (Nzl) 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (33m)
The first semi final of today was between world #3 and #1 seed Nouran Gohar, who is also the current British Open and US Open Champion, and her opponent world #5 and 2020 ToC Champion, Camille Serme from France.
This was Nouran’s first time to play in the Carol Weymuller Open, while Camille reached the semifinals in 2016 and was also in the final in 2013, so I’m very sure that both players would have loved to make it through today to have a chance to lift the Weymuller trophy.
In the head to heads Nouran was 8-5 up, but Camille beat Nouran last week in an epic 16-14 in the fifth, so it was going to be very interesting to see how this afternoon’s match was going to pan out.
The match started off with long, arduous rallies with both players vying for the T and trying to take the ball early. The quality of the squash was incredibly high and they were both pushing so hard to stick to their game plans. Camille was managing to slow the ball down a little with some great lobs to help negate some of Nouran’s amazing power. It was even up until 6-6 and then Nouran started to pull away using her superb power in her hard and accurate drives and make it incredibly hard for Camille to be forward and use her attacking game. Nouran took the first 11/8.
In the second game Camille got a good start at 4-1 and was managing to cope with Nouran’s barrage of hard hit shots, but just as in the first game, Nouran dug in deeper and hit several magnificent, powerful drives that won her rallies outright. Her drives pinned Camille back and totally prevented her from taking the ball in the air. Camille was trying so hard impose her game, but she was finding it hard to slow the pace down well enough to impact Nouran. Both players were moving so well, but Nouran was particularly fast today and seemed to be reading Camille’s shots very early. Nouran ended up coming through the second with the same score line 11/8.
The third game was evenly matched again at the start up to 6-6 with the points going back and forth. The rallies were so fun to watch as both players covered the court with such ease and grace and the quality of play was second to none. The game ended up being a repeat of the previous 2 games with Nouran pulling away from her opponent, while was Camille desperately hanging on by her finger nails! While Camille kept giving her best effort, she looked like she was out of ideas of how to stop the on fire Nouran winning the match. Nouran came through to secure her place in the Carol Weymuller final 11/8, 11/8, 11/7 in 34 minutes.
Tonight, CIB Nouran lived up to her nickname ‘The Terminator’; she was relentless, accurate, focused, powerful and fast. Very impressive squash today and Nouran was clearly firing on all cylinders. Camille really tried her best, but today it just wasn’t quite enough.
“I’m really happy with the match. It was hard after losing last week. Camille was playing brilliantly and she can beat anyone on her day. I was trying to play my game hard and accurate, but in front of her as she is very dangerous on the volley. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”
The second semi final match featured world #6 and last year’s finalist, Joelle King, from New Zealand, and world #4 and last year’s champion Nour El Tayeb.
The head to head with these 2 players is 5-5 with Nour having won their last meeting. So it was going to be interesting who could move ahead not only in the tournament, but also in the stats too.
The match started well and evenly with some great long rallies. Nour and Joelle have very different styles so it was interested to see who could dominate. Nour is skilful, wonderfully swift and fantastically gutsy so you know you have to do so much to win each point. Joelle’s volleys are strong and she controls the middle, so well so Nour would have to keep the ball away from Joelle as much as possible. At 5-5 the pressure from Nour started to show and some errors started to creep in. Joelle was going short just a little too early and not quite well enough and Nour took total advantage of this and took the first game 11/6.
The second game was always in Nour’s favour. Joelle was looking a little flat and her drives where not as tight as they usually are so this gave Nour more opportunities to use her creativity and hit some wonderful shots in the front. There were some marvellous rallies but Nour seemed to come out on top and continued like yesterday to be looking like she was having fun on the court. Nour got game ball at 10/3 but Joelle squeezed back 2 more points before Nour won the second game 11/5.
The third game was Joelle’s best game of the match. She pressed Nour deeper and this gave her the chance to use her volleys and cut off the ball short. Joelle got her first considerable lead of the match at 5-2. But with a cross court nick off the serve from Nour and a couple of errors from Joelle and some gutsy patience, Nour was fully back in the game. Nour was managing to hit a great width and with an opponent as tall and strong as Joelle this is vital. Joelle tried to regain her composure, but each time she tried Nour seemed to have the answer or she would make an error. It was the 2 errors from Joelle that gave Nour the finals points to victory taking the match 11/6, 11/5. 11/8 in 33 minutes.
“I was more nervous than yesterday. Joelle has been playing great squash recently. I think it was up and down from both of us. But I managed to play the bigger points better. Winning in 3 against Joelle is massive, I’m happy and proud. This will be the second final in a row here which is great! I’m really looking forward to playing Nouran tomorrow.’
 Nouran Gohar 3-0 Donna Lobban (Aus) 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (26m)
 Camille Serme (Fra) 3-1  Salma Hany 11-5, 11-5, 15-13 (39m)
 Joelle King (Nzl) 3-0 [9/16] Mariam Metwally 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (30m)
 Nour El Tayeb 3-0 [9/16] Low Wee Wern (Mas) 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 (33m)
First up on the championship court was #1 seed Nouran Gohar and her opponent, world # 47 from Australia, Donna Lobban. Nouran and Donna have never played before so it was going to be interesting to see if Nouran’s great power would overcome Donna’s great volleys and variation in the pace. Donna has recently returned from knee surgery, but is clearly back on track having already beaten the world #18 and #13 to reach the quarter finals!
Nouran started the match fast and ferociously not giving Donna a change to settle and find her rhythm. Nouran’s boast was going in particularly well and she was so sharp and fast off the spot. Nouran’s punishing pace enabled her to take the first game convincing 11-3.
In the second Nouran kept her foot on the gas and kept applying the pressure, but at 4-0 up Donna managed to find her groove a little and elongate the rallies and make Nouran work harder to win her points. Donna was making every effort to volley and not be bullied back into the corners by the heavy lengths that Nouran was delivering her way. It was not enough though and Nouran took the second game 11-8.
Donna started the third well and got her first small lead at 3-1, but in a flash Nouran caught up and got the lead back again and advanced to 6-3. The constant pressure was too much for Donna today and Nouran went on to win the third and final game 11-6 to take her into the quarter finals tomorrow at 2.30pm. Nouran won 11/3, 11/8, 11/6.
“I’m feeling well on court. I was looking forward to moving and play a good match. I think it helps to have this in your mind. The tournament is cozy, it’s the complete opposite from NYC, they’re both great but a different atmosphere. The court, the crowd, the families, it’s really nice here! Everyone is playing well so to play Camille or Salma tomorrow will be very tough, but I am looking forward to this one!
Second match on court was the between ToC champion and world #5 Camille Serme from France was playing world #14 and last year’s semi-finalist CIB Salma Hany. Camille is 2-1 up in the head to heads but Salma won last time they played so we will see who comes out victorious today! The rain storm outside was at its height but it wasn’t going to dampen our spirits as we enjoyed the wonderful squash.
Both players started the match using the whole court so nicely and taking the ball in short when they could, not only to try win the rally but to also move their opponent around and not let them settle or find too much rhythm. It was Camille that was just that bit steadier, the cross courts were wider and she was just that bit cleaner in her shots. Camille’s movement was very smooth and balanced and allowed her some amazing shot choices even under pressure. Camille won the first AND second games 11-5.
In the third game Camille was ahead playing tactically so astutely, but the gutsy Salma dug in the managed to push Camille right down to the wire, with Camille not being able to capitalize on her first match ball as 10-9 and the game carried on with some amazing displays of shot making and movement. Camille finally inched out her opponent 15-13 in the third, but Salma certainly did herself proud and gave it her all. It was great to see her doing so well after all her injuries. Camille won 11/5, 11/5, 11/7 and will play Nouran tomorrow in the quarter finals.
The third match of the evening was between Joelle King from New Zealand, who is world #6 and Mariam Metwally the world #30. Mariam has a wonderful result yesterday being the world #12 so I’m sure she was excited to get back out on court with no pressure and try to take down another seed.
Joelle, who had 2 stitches in her lip yesterday from a collision but has luckily recovered and is ready for the battle ahead! She played very precisely from the word go and did not let Mariam settle and use her great short shots to the maximum. It was only at 10-5 down that Mariam managed to get some traction in the match and nearly evened up the score before Joelle snatched it back at 11-9.
In the second and third games Joelle exposed Mariam’s movement and the fact that she was probably tired from yesterday’s long match. Mariam picked up some points from outright winners, but Joelle overall took command of the match and started to put some ‘hold’ on the ball to make the movement even harder to Mariam. When Mariam did manage to apply some pressure Joelle would throw an amazing lob up to reset the rally. Joelle went through to take her semi final position 11/8, 11/5. 11/7.
Last up on the championship court, but certainly not least was world #4 Nour El Tayeb and Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern, who took out #5 seed 13/11 in the fifth in an epic match. Wee Wern has been out for 3 years with injuries so it’s wonderful to see her back on the court playing back to her previous world #5 standard.
The match started off evenly with the points going back and forth. It was at 6-6 that Nour seemed to find her groove and started feeling incredibly comfortable with her attacking shots and volleys. She took the first 11-8.
In the second Nour was basically on fire! She looked like she was having so much fun out there, moving Wee Wern around the court and then chopping it into the front with ease! Wee Wern did not do anything particularly wrong; Nour just did so much RIGHT!!!This is how squash is meant to be played and Nour truly got in the zone and took the second 11/3.
The third game was similar to the first in that it stayed even through to the middle of the game with Wee Wern hanging in and trying to move Nour away from the middle. But Nour had a solid plan today that she was not diverting from and she took the third game 11/8.
Nour won the match 11/8, 11/3, 11/7 and will play Joelle King tomorrow at 3.15pm in the quarters.
“I think I played the best squash I’ve played in a while. I felt very comfortable and enjoyed getting tired and running on the court. It’s hard to enjoy every match but this is definitely one I enjoyed. It’s always a nice reminder that I enjoyed competition. It sometimes gets boring or hard to be motivated so it is great when everything comes together.”
 Nouran Gohar 3-1 Melissa Alves (Fra) 5-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (32m)
 Salma Hany 3-1 [9/16] Victoria Lust (Eng) 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 (43m)
 Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 Zeina Mickawy 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (32m)
 Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 [9/16] Yathreb Adel 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6 (217m)
[9/16] Mariam Metwally 3-2  Joshna Chinappa (Ind) 11-9, 11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9 (62m)
 Nour El Tayeb 3-1 Farida Mohamed 11/5, 11/5, 9/11, 11/7
First on the Championship court was world #6 from New Zealand, Joelle King and Yathreb Adel #16 in the world. Joelle and Yathreb have only played once before this meeting three years ago with Joelle coming through victorious in three games. Yathreb is now ranked much higher so it we will see if she can cause an upset.
Joelle started the match solidly, holding the T and took at 6-2 lead. Mid game Yathreb found her rhythm a little and got the points back to 5-6, but Joelle surged on and took the first 11/6. Yathreb needed to be more patient and work her lengths so Joelle couldn’t control the middle where she plays her best squash.
It was Yathreb that got a lead in the second and during one rally BOTH players broke a string and both players had to go off and change their racket after playing a long rally with loose strings! Joelle dug in and fought back to 7-7. In the next rally Yathreb accidently backed into Joelle and clashed her head into Joelle’s mouth and cut Joelle’s lip!! Joelle came off the court and we managed to stop the bleeding. But due to the fact it was cut on her lip we couldn’t tape it to prevent further bleeding and we were not sure if it needed medical attention, so off Joelle went to the urgent care centre nearby. There she received 2 stitches in her lip!!
In the meantime we decided to start the next match to give Joelle ample time to recover and be ready to play. This match eventually continued again at about 8.30pm!! They continued on from where they finished off and Yathreb quickly took the second game 11/7.
The third game was vital and Joelle managed to squeeze it 11/9m though she got clipped in her mouth again and luckily this time it didn’t bleed!
In the fourth game Joelle managed to straighten up the ball really well, especially from the front when Yathreb was expecting a cross court. There was more blood though as Yathreb’s racket accidently caught Joelle’s arm and it started to bleed! Joelle came off the court yet again and we bandaged it up. Joelle STILL managed to return to the court with a positive and focused state of mind which was impressive with all the curve balls that seemed to be thrown her way this evening. Yathreb felt the pressure from Joelle’s early volleys and tight lengths and the errors started to creep in, Joelle came through to take this EPIC match 3-1….11/6, 7/11, 11/9, 11/6.
Second match on the championship court was between Joshana Chinappa from India who is world #12 and her opponent Mariam Metwally who is ranked #30 in the world.
They have played 3 times before, but haven’t played since 2018. Mariam 2-1 up in the head to head, but Joshana won 3-1 last time they played which was here at the Carol Weymuller. What will tonight’s match bring us?! What is did bring us was more drama and the longest match of the evening in 62 minutes!
Joshana started really well, keeping her length tight and penetrating and she got a 6/3 lead. There was many lets, not lets and strokes which very often followed with a very loud scream from Mariam. Mariam gave a big push and started to take some wonderful shots in short. Joshana couldn’t give Mariam anything around the middle as Mariam has great hands and control with her attacking shots. This coupled with a few errors and they were soon equal at 9-9. A creative backhand cross court drop winner and a powerful forehand kill took Mariam to 1-0, 11/9.
Mariam continued on the same path on the second and she won it 11/6, still being very vocal with the referee. I wasn’t sure why the ref was letting Mariam continue with the arguments and discussions!? Joshana needed to get her length straighter and tighter to prevent Mariam from being able to stand her ground and use her great short game.
In the third Mariam get off to good start and it started to look like it would be a 3-0 win, but Joshana had a different plan. She dug in and fought hard and squeezed the third game on a stroke 12/10, saving a match ball at 10/9!
In the fourth Mariam looked a little flat and tired but she never gave up for one second! Joshana was 5-0 up and then 10/6 up and only just clinched it 11/9 to even up the match at 2 games all.
Joshana played a calm, focused fifth game to go 7-1 up and then 9-5 up and it looked like Joshana had finally found the key to her victory, but Mariam fought and fought and would not let go! Mariam’s screams at the referee were louder than ever, and Joshana started to lose her previous control and before we knew it the score was even at 9-9 with a volley drop error from Joshana. Mariam reached her second match ball of the evening with an amazing forehand volley kill and stroke against Joshana sealed Mariam’s place in the quarter finals tomorrow against Joelle King. The final score was 11/9, 11/6, 10/12, 9/11, 11/9.
“What a match!! The first 2 games I was relaxed and feeling my game, sticking to my game plan and giving it my all. Today I just wanted to win so badly, I just wanted to come back again to where I belong. So I think that me and Joshana played quite well.
She came back in the 3rd and 4th and gave it her all. The fifth, they tell I was 7-1 down but I didn’t think about the score! I was just thinking point by point and it worked! Today I was trying to be as mentally tough as I could. It was challenging for me but in the end I won and I’m so happy to get through. I don’t feel any pressure for my quarterfinal or any match; I am just playing to come back. I’m just going to give it my all again!”
The final match of the evening on the championship court was between #2 seed and reigning Carol Weymuller Champion Nour El Tayeb, and young Farida Mohamed, who is still only 18 years old and already 52 in the world. They have never played before so can the young player have the confident to impose herself over her older and more experienced country woman. We would see?
The match was incredibly delayed due to the injury breaks earlier and the long and hard fought matches throughout the night. It was scheduled to start at 7.45pm and they started at 9.15pm!!!
These two players also have completely different games. Nour likes to use the whole court and take the ball in short if there is an opportunity, varying the pace. Farida is the hardest hitting female player I believe I have ever seen! Even though she is young, she is tall and very strong and has an imposing presence on the court. Nour really had to grind and suck up the power to get her opportunities. Nour won the first and second games 11/5, 11/5.
It was in the third that Farida’s relentless power really started to have an effect on Nour. Farida was even over hitting some of her balls off the back wall due to hitting it so hard, but it was difficult for Nour to control and use her finesse. Farida won the third 11/9.
In the fourth game Nour found more composure and tried to step forward and volley more to get her position on the T. This definitely worked as she came through to take the 4th and final game 11/7. If Farida manages to bring to some variation in pace and some fading drop shots into her game, I’m sure she will be very formidable and a player up in the top echelon of the women’s game.
“I’m very happy actually. I fought hard, but the squash wasn’t fun, because it was hard to control her hard hitting. It was very difficult to play my own shots as the ball was so warm. So I had to dig in and play squash that’s not really my game to hang in there. I am very happy to be in the quarter finals tomorrow.”
This match was between the world #3 and World Open finalist Nouran Gohar from Egypt against her opponent Melissa Alves who is #34 in the world from France. Nouran and Melissa have never played before so it was going to be an interesting clash. Melissa was very excited to have the opportunity to compete against a top 5 player.
This is Nouran’s first appearance at the Carol Weymuller so we were all hungry to see her play, especially after the amazingly successful last year she has had, winning the British Open and the US Open. The match started fast and furious with both players playing with a very similar game. Melissa was using her power, but also interspersed it with some delicate drops which were working fantastically. Melissa continued to play fearlessly and took advantage an edgy looking Nouran and won the first game 11-5.
In the second Nouran found her groove and she started to control the T and keep Melissa deeper in the court. Melissa started to rush the rallies and she lost some of the patience that she had in the first game and errors started to creep in. Nouran took the second 11-2.
The third and fourth games followed a similar pattern. Nouran kept the pace very high and she also started to use the front of the court more, exposing Melissa’s movement a little. Each time that Melissa dug in and caught up, Nouran would surge forward and find another gear. She was relentless and focused and took the third 11/7 and the fourth 11/5 to secure her spot in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
“I’m feeling OK after a big match at the TOC. It’s a long time since I have played 2 tournaments in a row and it’s tough to re-group. I was very eager to play this tournament as I haven’t played it before. I would play it because it is after the TOC and when it is on October I can’t leave my studies for 3 weeks.”
The second evening match on the championship court was between 2 players that sit right next to each other on the world ranking! Salma Hany world #14 and Victoria Lust from England who is #15. In the head to head Vicky is up 2-1, so again we were very likely to have an amazing quality match.
Salma played a great first game, with aggressive squash and graceful movement.
She was mostly in charge of the rallies and was either hitting winning or errors, but mostly good shots, coming through 11/6. Vicky came out in the second and was taking the ball much earlier and picked up the pace and was finding her targets in the back. Salma was feeling this pressure from Vicky and even though she battled hard, Vicky pulled away in the middle part of the game and took it 11/7.
The third and fourth games were similar with Salma controlling the middle more than Vicky. Vicky fought hard but she lost her length and was opening up the court for Salma with too many cross courts, which Salma took advantage of by standing her ground and smacking it down the opposite wall. Salma took the third 11/6 and the 11/7 and coming though in 4….11/6, 7/11, 11/6, 11/8.
“I’m happy with the win of course. It was a bit scrappy and we were both a bit tense. We’ve always had tough matches that always go to 5, so I was ready for a tough match today. I struggled a bit to find my targets today and I felt like my short game wasn’t working so well and she was reading it. I changed my mindset and said, it’s one of those days and I have to grind if I want to have a chance to play another match. Most of my upsets in my career have happened in this tournament so I wanted to give myself the chance to play again. I am looking forward to the quarters.”
The last match on court this evening was world # 5 Camille Serme from France, fresh out of her fantastic ToC win, against young and talented Zeina Mickawy world #23.
Camille played the first game well, she made a few errors but she stayed forward and took time away from Zeina. Camille took the first 11/5. The second game was more of a battle and when Zeina was more patient it made a difference and squeezed some errors from Camille. There were some errors again from Camille but she played deep and tight enough to stop Zeina from playing her best game and took the second 11/8.
The third was definitely Zeina’s best game and she really stepped up and put the pressure on Camille. Zeina is deceptively fast around the court and reads the game well. She pushed hard to pressure Camille and hit the ball harder with great weight in her length.
It’s in these moments that you can see the older and more experienced players pull themselves out of a hole. Camille went 10/7 down, but she pulled out some backhand boast winners, and along with some errors from Zeina, Camille managed to clinch the final game 12/10, playing the most important point really well. Camille won 11/5, 11/8, 12/10.
Farida Mohamed 3-2 Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4 (44m)
Yathreb Adel3-2 Rachel Arnold (MAS) 11-13, 13-11, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10 (55m)
Mariam Metwally3-0 [WC] Marie Stephan (FRA) 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (27m)
Zeina Mickawy 3-1 Menna Nasser 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (42m)
Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0 Menna Hamed 11-9, 11-5, 12-10 (35m)
photos Jean Ervasti
An all Egyptian affair with Zeina Mickawy who is world #23 and Menna Nasser who is ranked #53 in the world. Both players played an attacking and fast game. Overall it was Zeina that played the most winners and the least errors, though Menna really tried to impose her game over Zeina and move her around the court and in the second game she managed to do this taking it 11/9.
In the third and fourth games Zeina used her great backhand hold to wrong foot her opponent on several occasions and she hit her shots to the open spots on the court precisely. Zeina went through to win 3-1, 11/9, 9/11, 11/6, 11/7.
“I’m feeling relieved after winning. I haven’t played her before. We started the match and it was very tight at the beginning. She is a very experienced player and she’s been playing for so long and she has really good hands. I tried to keep going in the match and pick up every ball I can. I’m happy to be though and I am looking forward to play Camille. I played her in Manchester and I lost in 3, but I’m really excited to do much better tomorrow.”
Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold who is world #43 playing against Egyptians Yathreb Adel who is currently ranked 16 in the world. This was definitely the most exciting match of the evening with both players playing such attacking squash that there the rallies were incredibly short for a match of their caliber. Every game but one went down to the wire and with both player choosing to play such severe and aggressive squash it made it very nerve racking to watch!
Each player was determined to shut down the other players chance to shoot first and there were many courageous winners played by both players. In the fifth it was Rachel that got match ball first at 10-9, but it was not over yet. A tin from Rachel and a stroke gave Yathreb a second chance to grasp the match and she sealed it with a magnificent forehand volley boast! Both players walked off the court looking perplexed but it was Yahreb that pulled through to win 3-2 in an incredibly exciting 55 minute match 11/13, 13/11, 10/12, 11/4, 12/10.
“I feel so relieved!!! It was one of those days when I went on court and she was player better and sharper. Anything she was doing was a winning shot so it was hard to find a rhythm. I started a bit flat as well. I was just trying to fire myself up throughout the whole match and play more deep shots and try to avoid the volleys. Then it opened up for me and some loose shots to take it in. I think Joelle and I have only played once a couple of years ago, so I look forward to playing her and going out to my best, and hopefully it will be a good match.”
Egyptian Mariam Metwally, who is world #30, and the wildcard from France, Marie Stephan, who is world #89. Mariam played aggressive and attacking squash and controlled the first and third games with her range of shots, but in the second Marie pushed Mariam to 11/9 managing to get Mariam off the T and play her game. Mariam came through to win in 3, 11/4, 11/9, 11/6.
“Actually I am feeling good. 1st half of the season my head wasn’t ready. I had some ups and downs and I had some health issues too, so after the world champs it was a wake-up call. So I had a month working on myself mentally very hard and changing my game and getting my confidence back. I think it worked very well, I was working with a sports psychologist on some stuff. As you see Marie played very well. She has good hands, but I was trying to stick to my game plan as much as I can and I did that. On Friday I’m excited to play Joshana as we have played 3 times and I have won 2 times, so I’m looking forward to it and just enjoy my game.”