R1 : Women’s Evening starters

The evening session begins wit wins for Emily Whitlock, Jana Shiha, Mariam Metwally and Melissa Alves …

Emily Whitlock (Wal) 3-0 Menna Hamed (Egy)    11-9, 14-12, 11-4 (41m)
Melissa Alves (Fra) 3-1 Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg)    11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7 (46m)
Mariam MetWally (Egy) 3-0 Ho Tze Lok (Hkg)      11-4, 11-5, 12-10 (30m)
Jana Shiha (Egy) 3-0 Enora Villard (Fra)   11-9, 11-2, 11-7 (21m)

Jana : Today, no matter my opponent, I wanted to play tough. I wanted to prove to myself I can be Jana the way I was a year and a half ago, as those past 18 months have been up and down. The only math I played that was fair was Coline’s match in Gouna. The whole season was disastrous.

It’s not just the studies, it’s all in my head. So today I was on the war path, although I had a good draw I feel. And I wanted to prove I can win 3/0, even if I tumble here and there.

In the first game I was 5/0 up, she came back 4/5, then 9/9, the old Jana would have say oh, it doesn’t matter if I lose that game. So I’m happy with the way I played today.

Tomorrow, I play Nadine. It’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination but I’m not playing Nour or Nouran. But Nadine is a very tough player, both mentally and physically. So I need to be as tough, physically and mentally. Squash is there. It’s always there. I need to be there from the beginning. Now, a good recovery, eat, sleep and tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.

Mariam : I’m trying to do my best to lose some weight, and I’m very happy I was able to lose about 10, 11kg. For a few weeks, I cut all the carbs because I had health issues, so I had to, only eating proteins. Now I’m just eating healthy and still losing weight, because my body is letting it go, less stress. And because I lost the weight, I’m less lazy when I’m training and still trying to get fitter.

I felt good today, I think I played quite well. Actually last time we played, I was 2/0 up and she won 3/2, it was in Al-Ahram. At the time I was putting on weight, so I’m so happy to win today, glad I was able to stick to my gameplan.

Still when I was up 2/0, I got stressed because I remembered what happened last time, I had flashbacks.

Tomorrow the winner of Nada Abbas and Hanna Moataz awaits. It won’t be easy against either of them, but I hope I can do well.

Emily : It was weird. It wasn’t too hard physically. She was taking the ball short on shots I didn’t expect, but I didn’t panic. So yes, it was close, but it wasn’t that tight either.

She is a good player, not sure why the coach felt the need to get involved. It was I think in the second game, she looks up, he starts looking and he looked like he was nodding, and it seemed to me that she changed her tactics completely. But I don’t speak Arabic, but I felt something was definitely going on. That annoyed a little bit… Then one of my shots that was good was called not up, one of her shots which I thought bounced a few times was called good because the ref didn’t see the ball clearly. So that annoyed me as well! Then a few too many contacts for my taste.. so that annoyed me as well!

But I felt the ref was alright, he actually gave some good decisions. I’m not saying that he ignored it in purpose, in my view. I could be wrong I guess!

The tournament is run really well, for sure. And look at me, I’m complaining while I just won. Typically British am I, still complaining about something when I won!

I think it’s mental really. Because I have a very long trip on my own now, a month, and I don’t think I’ve ever been away from home for that long on my own. The last two days have been difficult because I haven’t seen many people, eating in my room on my balcony, I probably speak a lot because I haven’t been socialising for a while!

Melissa : First round is always tough, to start with, it’s the first match of the event, and added the stress of being a seed, you always have the extra pressure to hold your seeding.

And to be fair, she played very well she did everything she needed to to make me doubt. I was trying to keep the ball in play and control the rallies, and trying to unsettle her. Which to be fair I think I managed as the match went along – we played some 47m

Happy to get through the first round, that’s the main thing, forget the how, it just need to be done. What makes the difference today is the fact I just kept the ball in play. I was less comfortable on the attack than she was, so the only way I had to win tday was to keep the ball coming back, and be more solid in the end.

I managed to make her make a few too many errors, whereas she was playing more shots than I was. But I got her to get the errors/winners ratio in the red.

Truly happy to get to play Olivia tomorrow, I think I’ve got all my chances, and at the end of the day, a tough opening match is a good thing, it gets you in the fighting spirit.

Can’t wait for tomorrow, giving it all, and hopefully reaching another Platinum 3rd round.