R1 : Men’s Opening Matches

Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 Bernat Jaume (Esp) 13-11, 11-5, 11-5 (39m)
Cesar Salazar (Mex) 3-2 Henry Leung (Hkg) 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9 (54m)
Arturo Salazar (Mex) 3-1 Max Lee (Hkg) 12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 13-11 (47m)
Todd Harrity (Usa) 3-1 Syed Azlan Amjad (Qat) 11-3, 11-5, 9-11, 11-3 (38m)

The men’s event gets under way with wins for Greg Lobban, Todd Harrity, and Salazar twins Arturo and Cesar – both playing opponents from Hong Kong!

Tough luck, both brothers were on court at the same time, but thankfully, they both won. They were solid on court today, especially impressed by Arturo who I didn’t see play for quite a while now, I think Qatar two years ago. And so good to see Cesar to be back on court after injuries and COVID….

Cesar : To be honest I prefer when we play like that at the same time, because otherwise, I can’t focus on my match, I just want to know what he is doing…
First, you know, I’m happy to be here, playing again in a tournament.

My last tournament was Qatar last year. That’s a long time. And my last match ended with an injury, that wasn’t nice. I then worked very hard for my recovery, four months, and in April I was all set for the Worlds, but one week before the event, I tested positive to COVID, and got pretty ill with my breathing for a week days.

So it was hard for me, it was such a long time without playing a tournament, but now I’m so happy. I was sort of ready for the British, but I lacked a bit of preparation time. So I had to take my name off. Again, it was hard for me because I had been working so hard.

So to be here is just great. I’m here. I’m happy with the result. Of course the result is important, it’s good to win, but the most important for me is to play, to feel the sensations, to be amongst the other players, and getting to play the best players in the world.

Next round, Zahed. It will be a good match. For now, I don’t want to think about the win or the loss. I just want to be ready for the match, to enjoy the game again. Today was hard for me because I didn’t play for a long time, tomorrow will be hard too because he is such a good player. But I am really happy with my performance today.

Arturo : It was a very tough first round, Max had a very good ranking, so it’s always difficult to play against somebody with that much experience. So I am very pleased to have won today.

Tomorrow, I hope I can play as well as I did today, but hopefully with a bit more confidence, as I’m going to play now a good friend in the next round, Miguel. We know each other well, we play a lot in the past together.

So I will try to play with my gameplan, with a solid strategy, but most importantly, I want to enjoy the match.

Todd :  It was a strange match. I was a bit tense coming on court, I never played him, never saw him on court, plus first round opening matches can be a bit uncertain.

I still played well kind of in the first two games, like we are good, I was on song, and then, in the third, he started playing very well, nothing to lose and going for shots. And he’s got good skills.

I tried to focus again and fight back but it was too late, but in the 4th game, I was very focused, like now I know how well he can play, just stick to the game plan, focus on what you are doing, don’t get distracted and all, and fortunately, it was good enough today.

I’m happy to be through, it’s kind of exciting for me to get through those first round matches now. If I look at the seeding, I should play Iker, so tough match but there are no easy matches, but everyone is beatable so….

Greg : I knew the strength of Bernat, he’s got very good hands, and it’s quite a dead court on there as well. Even if the court is quite bouncy, the ball stays in the corners. It was tough against him, I really needed to be sharp, on my toes. And it’s been a while since I won on the PSA World Tour!

It was a tough few months, but I’m happy to get that one under my belt.

I struggled a lot with the tournaments being so far apart, I like having momentum, having match practice. And then, when a few things don’t go your way, the confidence goes down a lot.

But the last couple of months, I really felt confident, I changed a few things in my game, a few thing in my setup and staff, so I feel really good. I felt really good on court, and I’m looking forward to this week and future tournaments in the next few months.