R3: Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-1  Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10 (63m)
Out of all the matches those two played, 12 in total including a non psa one at the world games, Greg only lost one match, in Jan 2015 in the quarters of the TOC, 11/9 in the 5th… And I could see in Greg’s eyes and body language, he had no intention of tarnishing his record…
Was it a good match, fluid, probably not. Was it intense, hard work and both players leaving everything on court, both pretty unhappy with the inconsistency of a ref we hadn’t seen for a while. Not sure why he reappears to be honest, I’m not his biggest fan.
Greg plays as if he’s never left. Maybe here and there, you can detect a length that doesn’t find the perfect target or a width that ends up a bit too short but really, it’s being picky. The Frenchman today was impressive, and although he told me he doesn’t feel that great on court, I don’t think he realises how good he’s been and how difficult it is for the others to play him!
Both players were unhappy with the other’s movement. Greg not happy he couldn’t finish to play his shots while being pushed out of the way – and getting penalised for it – while Miguel was pointing out the leg he felt was in the way.
Apart from that, a beautiful tactical battle between those two incredible warriors, so intense, and so strong in each their field. Greg managed to squeeze a few errors out of Miguel, 11/7 in the first, 11/7 in the second.
The third sees both players arguing on a regular basis with a ref whose consistency was maybe not the best today, and it was a bit of a messy squash that saw Miguel clinching it, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, 11/9.
The fourth is again very tense, Miguel dominating the start, 5/1, Greg clawing back to 8/8, 9/9, game ball for Miguel 10/9 but with a huge ALLLLLEZ!!!, and two winners incidentally, the Frenchman is in the quarters, 12/10.
Not the easiest of conditions, very hard to finish off the rallies, if you hit the ball just a bit too hard, it bounces off very hard, so against Miguel, I had to play extremely accurate squash, not overhit, varying the height, high and low, and I really had to be very patient. Not the most entertaining of squash, but that’s what needed to be done
A bit confused in the third with the ref lack of consistency. We were struggling to see his line to be honest.
Very happy I kept digging in, mentally I stayed focus despite it all, chuffed to get through, two tricky matches in a row, happy to be through.