R2 : Women’s Evening Openers

Nele Gilis eases through in three, but it’s five-game thrillers as Jaha Shiha, Olivia Clyne and Nada Abbas advance …

[9/16] Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-0 Donna Lobban (Aus)    11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (31m)
Jana Shiha (Egy) 3-2 [9/16] Nadine Shahin (Egy)    9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 14-12 (42m)
[9/16] Olivia Clyne (Usa) 3-2 Melissa Alves (Fra)    9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10 (60m)
Nada Abbas (Egy) 3-2 Mariam Metwally (Egy)    11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-1 (58m)

Nele :  Last few tournaments didn’t go well for me. I was in a little bit of a dips. A few things maybe like I have been playing so well constantly, so maybe I was expecting too much of myself. Also, my sister had a problem in one eye and was blind in that eye and also got injured right before my match in the British, that also affected me more than I actually realised at the time. My head was definitely not in the place it was when I was in Washington and played pretty well.

Today I so desperately didn’t want to lose, almost more than I wanted to win. Also because last year I made the quarters of the British, and of the Egyptian Open, so maybe some extra pressure here. It’s always in the back of your mind, even if you trying not to.

It was not an easy draw, Donna is really experienced, such a good player, but I was ready for it today, I was focused, I did my preparation and was ready.

At the start of the rally I wanted to make the rallies as tough as possible, to kind of let her know that if she wanted to win, it would have to be in around 4 hours, and she would have to dig deep. My plan was to keep her in the back corners, far away from the middle as I could giving her nothing on the volley and then, not think about anything and just go for it, don’t over think.

I took a bit of extra time also between each rally to focus again and every rally was a new rally, was important. And I literally played point by point. That made a big difference.

I am playing Hania, again, I think I am replacing Camille.. the 4th time in a row I draw Hania…

Jana : It feels good and it’s been a while.

Like I said yesterday I knew it was going to be a long physical and mental match today. I wanted it to be tough from the beginning. Nadine had a good tournament in Allam, she reached the quarters, she is in good form.

Now, I had to put myself first, it’s been a hard year and a half mentally and physically, so for me, to play a hard 5 games, and I was a couple of match balls up in the last game I think, steady and then I did a lot of tins you know. And I was thinking, when are you going to tin the ball, I have to do it somewhere you know!!!

No, I’m pretty happy with the way I did it today, the fourth game, I was a bit out, she was up 7/1 I got back 7/7 she got that one eventually but for the rest of the game I was tougher than usual, I played steady at least at the end. I’m happy I’m proud of myself today with the way I played.

Ok, now, it’s a first time in a third round platinum event and a first time in front of the Pyramids!

The Pyramids, come on, it’s EVERYTHING! I remember seeing the other top players playing on there and thinking OH MY GOD I want to play on there.

A very tough one between Olivia and Melissa, with Olivia showing how high her voice can go and getting higher and higher God bless her. She took the match back while down heavily in the second, but good response from Melissa to get it to a decider. The last rallies were decided on ref calls and the last one was a pretty tough one for the French, a stroke that could easily have been a let we felt…

Olivia : Yes I was well down in the second, but I have been working a lot with my sports phycologist to get the “bad ass bitch” energy because I can be really passive, and too nice. Alan is nice too and it will be good when we have kids but on the squash court, you need a bit of sass…

I try really hard to work on that. I was hoping to bring it on earlier in the match, but honestly I need it, especially as there is no aggression from her for me to get mad at! All she is doing is playing good squash, she is just going about her business, I need to kick myself in the ass here and get myself going.

When I got back in the second, the third was tight as well, I thought I was in control then, but she came racing out in the 4th, what am I going to do now, this is pressure. And she got a good start in the fifth as well too. So I told myself I’m just going to make that as long and difficult I can for her. The odds will increase, they might not be in your favour, but they will increase to 50/50 if you can make the rallies really long. So I did that, springing myself along, even if I had to do a little singing for that.

A lot of discussions between those Nada and Mariam, the ref was on the hot seat but kept his calm. They actually didn’t play each other ever, and this was their first time…. Mariam just run out of steam at the end, but should be happy with the way she played and moved today.

Nada : From the beginning, I knew there would be a lot of discussions with the ref, stoppage. So I was just trying to concentrate on what I should do, on my actions. So all the rest wouldn’t bother me.

I’m really happy to be through. Like I said yesterday, I haven’t played my best for so long so I am very happy to be on track and enjoying my game again, getting another win.

Last year I couldn’t pass the first round, so I’m really happy to be through. It will be either Nouran or Holly for my next match both players I managed to win against. So happy to play in front of the Pyramids, it’s my first time ever.

Actually I’m very excited to play on the glasscourt, two years ago I was 1 point away, and couldn’t make it. So this time so happy to be though and looking forward to my match.