Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 11-9, 11-5, 11-4 (43m)
First game was a bit of a weird one, with a splendid start from Saurav, 4/0, 6/1, only to see Yip playing his magic lob, drive glued to the wall and drop shot, 7/6, then 7/7, 9/9, finally the Indian clinching that crucial confidence wise first game. 6 errors for Yip in that opener.
From that point on, to be honest, Saurav always looked more comfortable. Fluid movement, leaving no answer for the questions he was asking, Yip became frustrated and finally made errors upon errors, 4 in the 2nd, 7 in the last one.
I was trying to keep it solid and simple, deep at the back and clinical at the front. He has got very good hands, so I was trying to force him to attack from the wrong position, one to prevent him time on the ball, two, being in a better position to get it back.
I was happy with the way I was hitting my shots, it was more fluid that it’s been for the past couple of weeks. Hence my movement was also more fluid, a bit of chicken and egg combination scenario really! One goes with the other.
We know each other’s game quite well, we playing in Shanghai a few weeks ago, and we’ve played numerous times during Asian games and all. He probably knows my game as well a bit better as he is younger than me and probably watch me play! But at that level, there is very little we don’t know about each other’s game, there is very few surprises, and we more or less know what to expect.
The conditions also play a big role, this morning I arrived at 10/30 and the court was freezing. Match starts at 12, and it’s warm. So you have to adapt to the conditions you are giving on the spot.
It was so nice to see/speak with Shabana, it had been a while, and he always has something interesting to say, he is a bit of wiseman! He was telling me, you are 33, it’s getting easier. I replied, are you kidding? There are all young and playing at an incredible pace. He smiled and said, no, easy with yourself… At 33, you know where you are at, what to expect of yourself, where you want to go. And the fight with yourself is getting much easier. You have a plan, and you know what you want to do.
I think I have got 2 or 3 years left, hopefully, 3. I’ll try to go as high as I can, train hard to beat those top guys.
Malcolm is my coach, from the start, and will always be my coach. It’s incredible, I’ve been working with him for 15 years, and every time I go there, I learn something. About me. About the game. Just incredible.
I’m also working with David Palmer since last summer. I asked him when we started, are you going to take me apart? He said, no, you have what you need. But now, I’m going to add a few layers to your game, and hopefully, I’ll show you the way I was doing it, and it might help you beat players you didn’t use to beat…. It’s like Malc is my foundation and David is the icing on the cake!