Day Two of the 2021 GOLD event saw the women’s seeds enter the fray, including the return of Nour El Tayeb.
There was home interest in all but one of today’s matches, which started with big upset wins for Farida Mohamed and Gina Kennedy before the seeded players asserted, resulting in seven Egyptians in the quarter-finals.
Gohar makes it seven for Egypt
Round Two concluded with a dominant win for second seed Nouran Gohar, who breezed past France’s Coline Aumard – whose movement was hampered by an injury – in straight games to ensure that the quarter-finals would feature seven Egyptian players.
It’s never easy to play an injured player. Coline is definitely one of the most experienced players on tour right now, today was her 300th match, so you can’t take it for granted against Coline. I’m just happy that I went on there and I was really excited to be on court today, I was finding my targets so that’s a positive thing today.
The schedule is fair. Tomorrow I’m having another late match, so I have time to recover. I’m just going to do my normal routine, stretch, recover, do some physio work, have a good dinner and sleep and then fresh for tomorrow.
Salma comes through all-Egyptian thriller
Salma Hany survived an all-Egyptian thriller in her home club to reach the last eight. Mariam Metwally was in charge of the opening game as she took the lead, but Salma struck back winning two close games to go two-one up.
Mariam regrouped to level, but Salma stormed to an 8-0 lead in the decider before finishing the match 11-4.
Mariam is such a dangerous player! She has great hands and can hit a winner from any corner of the court. I’m definitely happy to be through today, it could have gone either way and I’m just happy to find a way through.
It was a bit challenging because I felt like there was a lot of stoppages in the match. There were some patches where it was really fast and some patches where it was really slow and short rallies. It was a bit different to try and keep my body firing the whole match. I struggled out there today, but I just thought it was a situation that I had to manage and figure a way out. I’m proud of how I found a way today.
I train here all the time, it feels like home. I know everyone here, so I’m always happy when I play on this court and definitely taking advantage of that. I’m just happy that I get to play another match here tomorrow.
Sherbini storms into last eight
Top seed Nour El Sherbini was in devastating form as she raced past Nele Gilis in straight games. After being blitzed in the first, the Belgian offered some resistance in the second, but once Sherbini had taken that, she raced through the third to complete the win in 23 minutes.
I was really happy on court, I think my shots were working.
It’s a tough first round for me and Nele has been playing really well, she’s very fit and I was trying to stop her getting anything back. I’m really glad I played well and my shots were good.
This tournament doesn’t have any days off, so you always try to make it as short as you can. Keep your body good and make sure there is nothing wrong, you didn’t play a long match so you just keep going and you’re fresh in the next round.
I think every match is difficult and you have to be ready for every opponent. I’m used to this situation, I’ve been in this place for a long time and the pressure is always on me because I’m the top seed. It’s hard, but I’m trying to work mentally to be relaxed and just play squash. Next round is going to be difficult playing Nour again, it’s amazing to see her back and winning. It’s always been a rivalry between us since we were juniors and have been travelling together, so it’s really good to see her back on court and to be playing against each other.
Hania eases into quarters
Returning to the scene of her greatest triumph, third seed Hania El Hammamy began her quest for a second CIB Black Ball title with an impressive straight games win over Nada Abbas, who yesterday impressively upset Joshna Chinappa.
Out of the 4 matches they now have played, this is the first match going 3/0 for the Gazelle Hania. It was a close first game, with Hania maybe not completely settled at the start of the encounter, while Nada was taking her chances beautifully.
From the second onwards, Hania’s court coverage force Nada to go for just a bit too much, forcing a few too many errors out of her. Nada kept one taking all the opportunities she could, but Hania’s physicality today was just a bit too strong.
I really felt great today on court. She had a good week in Alexandria and I knew that tournament would give her a lot of confidence. I had to be well prepared mentally and physically and I’m really happy with my performance today.
I have great memories and bad ones here, I have both. My first ever Platinum title was here, this club and this tournament has a special part in my memory and my career. Hopefully this year I can have another great run.
I’m just trying to focus day by day, match by match, on my length and targets and everything just flows after. I tried to be as sharp as I can, recover as much as I can.
Tayeb back in action
From the outset of the second though Nour was back, covering the court beautifully and dominating the rest of the match as she reeled off the next three games to advance to the last eight.
I’m very happy. I surprised myself with how I kept hope even after losing the first game. I felt a little bit emotional when I saw my parents here, I felt like when I was growing up and they used to come to my matches when I was still a child. To play this way and win was good, I got quite tense at the end.
The biggest challenge is just leaving the house to train. I’m always tired and not sleeping very well so just to go and train was the biggest challenge. I missed the competition part of the game, like running and retrieving and obviously I’m not as quick but I’ll get there, I’m not seeing a lot of boasts now but I’ll get them. It was more than fine for the match so I’m happy.
Obviously there’s always things to improve on in squash, but the main thing for me is to fight for every point, if I’m losing or the higher seed, all these things used to bother me, having now had Farida, I’m more relaxed about losing and if I lose I get to go home to a beautiful baby so I think that’s the main thing I’ll work on, but for squash, every shot needs to be better.
I hope it’s a good message. I need a lot of help. I think for a woman to go back to work she needs a lot of help from her husband and family and thankfully I have that.
For me, I had to do something, I had to come back to squash, its the only thing I do well … I hope. I’m happy to have my family here for my first match and I can keep going with the comeback. It’s a nice challenge and I think I can do it.
Rowan squeezes past Tesni
The young Egyptian mostly led the first two games, but never by much, finally taking them 13-11, 14-12. Tesni bounced back to establish an early lead in the third as she reduced the deficit, but the fourth was again close all the way, Rowan saving a couple of game balls before sealing the win 14-12 in just under the hour mark.
It wasn’t the best squash that I’ve played. I couldn’t find my short shots, these are my strong shots usually so I think I’m going to think more about my game plan and try to apply it on court better next time.”
Today I was moving well, I’m injury free and my body is good so that’s a bonus and I will take that forward for tomorrow.
Gina takes out SJ in all-English shock
SJ took that, but today Gina was on the front foot from the start. On top in the first, Gina squeezed home in a close second before running away with the third as she completed a stunning straight-games win over the defending champion.
She now meets fellow giant-killer Farida Mohamed which ensures an unseeded semi-finalist!
Definitely my best result! SJ has always been my an idol of mine, I’ve had the opportunity to play her a couple of times and she’s taught me so many lesson. I’ve always took something away to work on with my coach after playing her.
I think today I played above my normal level and I sensed she was slightly off and I got some god dying lengths and that was the difference. Just so happy to be through.
It’s hard, I work a lot on the metal side. If you lose concentration for a second SJ can fire off winners so quick. I just needed to hit my targets and keep the intensity up.
I can’t believe how well this year has gone! I was struggling to get into a 3k in June and now I’m here at Black Ball. That’s a lot down to my coach Ben Ford, he’s the best coach and one of my favourite people, thanks to my friends and family and everyone at the Park Langely Club, and to my sponsors as well.
Farida does it again !
In the 2020 event Farida Mohamed came from two games down to record a stunning victory over Joelle King, and in today’s rematch – their first meeting since- she again came through in five games, downing this year’s fifth seed to become the first player into the quarter-finals.
WHAT AN OPENER !!!! Fram reports
Jzzz, when I saw the line out I remembered that match, the only one they had played. It was on the same court, during the BlackBall March event, with Joelle cruising 2/0 and finally losing the match…
And from the start, the New Zealand was fighting tooth and nails to keep the upper hand on her young 19 years old opponent. And at 9/9 in the first game, Joelle managed to close the game, 8m. Excellent response from the Egyptian, 5/1, 8/8, and this time it’s Farida’s turn to close it down, 11/8 in 9m.
Third well, Joelle in complete control, and Farida just not really showing up mentally I felt.
Fourth is another huge battle, shots are heaving, deep at the back and well balanced with crispy attacks at the front from both girls. At 8/8 it’s all possible but Farida, with the belief that comes from being 19, Egyptian and playing on Egyptian soil, clinches it 11/9 in 13m.
The last game is nerve wrecking for both camps as Joelle seems in control 6/3, only to be caught out 6/6. Then it’s Farida’s turn to seem cruising along, 10/7, only to have Joelle forcing a tie-break, that the young Bazooka closes in seconds, Egyptian style, 12/10 in 13m.
“Joelle is very experienced and she wanted her revenge. It was very hard from the first point, I’m so happy with this win, glad I managed to focus at the end. I lost a bit of focus In the middle but glad that I could hold it together at the end to win.”
“It’s interesting to play top players, the pressure isn’t on you but at the same time it is time for me to rise up the rankings. Every tournament I try to take something positive from it to push me harder and get big wins in every tournament.”
“I’ve been working on plan Bs for my game. After this tournament I will carry on, i’m interesting to see what can happen with that.”
“I went on in the fifth, trying to focus a lot. I was focusing well in one game then badly in the next, and so I tried to push hard in the last game because its the final game so I gave it everything, I went 10-7 up and lost 3 points so I pushed so hard to close out the game.”