R2 : Nour ET/Rowan, Gina/Alex

Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-0 [8] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)

Strange one that. First, for those who do not remember, but when Nour made her return in BlackBall, and beat Hania, she lost 3/0 to Rowan in the next match. So all her thoughts from the beginning of the event was to be prepared for this match.

Like it’s to be expected when one has been away from the Tour for a while – time to have a baby God Love her – Nour’s match fitness, as in concentration and consistence is sometimes a bit waving away.

Like in the first game, up 6/1, finding herself 8/6 down! At 8/8, she is helped with a Rowan that goes for a little too much, two errors, and it’s game ball 10/8. Tinkerbell finds exquisite winners and it’s 10/10. But a no let and another error, and it’s 12/10 to Nour in 11m.

Second is close till mid game, 3/3, 4/4, Nour takes the lead 8/5, 10/6 game ball, 11/8 in 10m.

The third is a bit like the first one, as in Nour in control, 9/1, then the mind going away in dreams, and she was a bit lucky to be that far ahead at that point, taking the match 11/5 in 9m.

I didn’t expect a 3/0 for that match, while I have to admit I was for the one next court, Gina/Alex. Which proves yet again if needed: I know very little about squash.

Nour

I never feel comfortable playing against Rowan. I’m having trouble reading her game, which is all credit to her. But going in today, I’m very glad I had a tough match yesterday, I knew when I stepped on court that it was the right draw for me.

Playing well in the second round seems to release a bit of pressure. I watched my match against her in BlackBall, and I saw how her game seems to nullify mine. And I had a plan.

I think the hang over from the worlds is still here, I’m still not 100% mentally focused throughout the match on my performance. I think my focus was better during the world Champs.

But still I wasn’t too hard on myself today, because I have confidence and play longer rallies, it’s in my favour. And that’s something I had in my mind: keep the rallies longer, and you’ll be fine.

But I couldn’t relax. Not even at 9/1 in the third. And these are the things I need to work on for tomorrow. I’m happy I managed to wake up during the game itself, and react, adjust and play better. Maybe that’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do a year or so ago.

I’m very happy to in the … I can’t believe this is only the last 16! I beat Rowan, played two matches, and it’s only the last 16!

And I’m playing Alex Fuller or Gina Kennedy…

[9/16] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-2 Alexandra Fuller (RSA)  11-7, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 (56m)

What a match from Alex. Incredible accuracy and flair, she showed her skills and pushed the English to the max of her abilities. Up in the last game 5/2, I have to say I didn’t believe Gina could come back, as she seemed to have foot worries, and was limping slightly.

But both girls giving it all, and the English gave it a huge push to level 8/8, and fly to 11/8, stopping Alex’ run.

Gina

All credit to Alex, she was making me do so much work. I was obviously struggling a little bit. Last week, when I got home, my foot was just painful. The MRI says it’s ok, but I was just not able to train properly because the odd pain in my foot.

So I didn’t want to pull out as it’s the last tournament of the season, but I knew how tough Alex would be.

I knew going into the match that it would be mental, because I hadn’t trained this week, and I like my training, I am a very physical player, I’m not like a Nour El Tayeb type, so good with her racquet, I need my confidence in my body, and if I haven’t been playing, my confidence goes..

I actually played well, my foot was fine until the end, where it started to bother me. I was telling myself just think about each point at a time. I dug in really deep. I believe I’m lucky to win that.