R1 : Opening Women’s Matches

First Four Women’s Round One Matches

Liu Tsz-Ling (Hkg) 3-2 Ineta Mackevica (Lat)    11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 1-11, 11-6 (35m)
Alexandra Fuller (Rsa) 3-0 [wc] Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy)    11-8, 11-5, 11-3 (24m)
Lisa Aitken (Sco) 3-2 Sana Ibrahim (Egy)    8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-0 (45m)
Cindy Merlo (Sui) 3-2 Mayar Hany (Egy)    4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 (32m)

Well, that was a good start of the day it has to be said! I was expecting fireworks as when you have three Egyptians on homeground, believe me, easy ain’t the word…. And the only match that didn’t feature an Egyptian – Tsz-Ling v Ineta – went also to five!

The Hong Kong player was nervous today and it showed. She lost confidence recently after a few bad losses she confessed, and it took all her experience to get through the battle with a very strong Ineta. The match was short, 35m, and as the HK girl said “it was all about a mental battle”….

Tsz Ling (happy birthday!) : The battle today was within myself. It was a tough year, we didn’t get to play many matches , and I had some tough losses in our local tournaments that undermined my confidence.

In previous matches I found myself in the same kind of circumstances, and I just gave up. So today I didn’t want to let myself down again, so I kept pushing, just focusing on each point, and play one more game.

Cindy was “overwhelmed” by her victory today. I have seen her lose so many matches in round one, she decided that today wasn’t going to be one of those losses, and fought against Mayar in an up and down match for both it has to be said. Cindy comes back from 2/1 down to take the match in 5 again, short match, 32m.

Cindy : To be honest, it was very weird. Sometimes we had very good rallies, and sometimes, I have to say from my side that it was so weird, some shots were….! So it was a lot of up and downs.

I keep coming to these tournaments and I never manage to win the first round. So already, I was sort of emotional. So I was thinking oh this could be happening, this could be possible, and at other times, it was “oh, there we go, as usual, it’s not going to work, I’m not playing well today”…

So I just had to keep fighting for myself, trying to keep it going and see what happens.

I am overwhelmed, I’m not sure what happened, how I won the match.

You know, with COVID, our schedule has been completely overthrown, so I’m taking day by day: what the government says, what PSA is organising, if there is a tournament I’m very happy, if there is none, it’s just training training training, day by day, trying to keep motivated. At the end of the day, we just wake up every day and we are doing what we love, so it’s not THAT difficult after all…

Three love as well for Alexandra but hat to our young WC Fayrouz, who I have been watching since she was U11…. Her body is changing, from a little girl to a slim and tall young lady – she is 15 and WR102 bless her. She gave a good run for her money to the South African. Score doesn’t tell the whole story. And if Fayrouz ended up running on fumes, she never ever, EVER gave up. Remember her name people. Fayrouz Aboelkheir.

Alex :  I didn’t know what to expect, you never know with those Egyptians. One thing I knew was that it would be physical and that she would shoot often! So I just tried to stay calm and hit my targets, that came and went!

I tried to keep it straight to minimise her angles, but she gave me a lot of errors, I gave her a few errors too. It was a bit of a stop start kind of game. I’m just happy that I kept my head, because it’s easy to lose focus during those kind of games.

Normally in my third game, I go to pieces, so I kept telling myself keep hitting the back corners, just hit another length, hit another length because she can’t hit a shot from the back if it’s a good length… So really happy with my game.

The best for last… I knew the match between Lisa and Sana was going to give fireworks. And it did. Sana, nothing to lose, 18 and WR60, played as strong and solid as she knows how.

Yes, a few errors here and there under pressure – so did Lisa by the way – but it took 4 games to finally see the Scot get on top, a harsh 11/0 to finish a beautiful battle. But you seriously cannot give a single point to Sana, cause you might come and regret it…

Very good start!

Lisa : I was sent home at the British because I was a case contact with James Willstrop. So today, I was so excited to play after being so disappointed not to play at the British. So when I got on court, I was a bit flat. It was like I didn’t have that hunger to win, almost like I was “ok, I got here”!

So it had to be a bit close – well 2/2 is what we can call close I guess – until I got that burning in the belly. I hadn’t played a match for a while so the fact it went to five gave me a bit of practice. And I’m happy with the way I played in that 5th game.

She might not have the most skilful attributes but actually, everything else she does have makes her very dangerous. I really admire all the young Egyptians, they each possess weapons of their own, and I admire that.

Everyone is unique, and ultimately, they all have that fire all the time, and it doesn’t matter who they play, number 1 in the world, number 100 in the world, it’s the same story. They turn up to fight, and they fight to the death…

That was never going to be easy! And it’s also nice to play someone new with a different style…