Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0 Victor Crouin (FRA) 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 (56m)
Impressed. Truly. Impressed by Victor’s relentlessness, intelligence, and fitness. Because I know how Joel is playing at the moment. And it was obvious that Joel was wary of his young opponent, and although it’s a 3/0, it was too close for comfort.
In French, we have a saying “il était comme une poule qui aurait des bretelles » he was like a duck that would have found suspenders, not sure what to do with them…. Ok, it’s a bold image, but I’m sure you get my drift…
4/0 to start with for the Golden Tiger, but quickly, the Frenchman is on his case, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. A change of racquet for the French, didn’t help me. After a very long first game, it’s three quick points for the Welsh, and it’s 11/8 in 15m.
The second is strange as Joel is completely in control, 10/3. That’s the moment the Yale student choses to play his lob/volley drop shot routine, and it works.. Gruelling battles out there, stunning rallies, and the French will only bow 11/8 in 21m.
The third is again nail bitting for the French support – lots of them in the crowd. Again, Joel is up in the beginning, only to be caught up 7/7, 8/8 and even sets up two game balls. But that’s not of the liking of the Tiger, and a big push, experience and power come into play, and it’s 12/10 for the Welsh.
But what a performance from the French…. If you have the time, read the quote he gave me after his second round victory. It’s quite interesting…
I think I deserve a game I think, up 10/8 in the third…. Would have been nice to have a shot at playing a fourth, trying to get into a fifth… It’s a good experience for me but still disappointed.
Would have been nice to play as well at the beginning that I did at the end of games, instead of playing catch up all the way…
“Victor has had a really impressive run. He has beaten two top 20 players, he’s down at 60 in the world at the moment but points from here will bring him up and he’s clearly playing a level above that. He was attacking freely, he was taking the ball in quickly and he looks like a player with a lot of confidence at the moment, so I was really pleased to get off in three.
It’s always good to get off in three because you don’t want to have too much time on the court. I knew I had to go back to attacking because I got a bit passive and he was playing well. I was 10-8 down and got through four points, took the ball in straight and short and backed myself to hit it, so I was happy with that.”