R1:  Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 Borja Golan (Esp) 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-2 (67m)
An excellent first game for the Spanish, able to drive Joel to visit the four corners a few times, and getting the reward, 10/4. Joel didn’t panic, just got a better length and nearly made it all the way, but at 10/10, a stroke and a bit of a lucky shot that clips the side wall, and it’s a well deserved 22m first game for Borja, 12/10.
Joel dominated the second in 6m, 8/3, 11/6, and we were back in contention in the 3rd, the Welsh on top for most of the game, from 3/3 to 7/3, 8/4. A huuuge push from Borja, both squash wise and vocally – his shouts after every point loss is customary and we wouldn’t know it was him if he was not going it! – claws back to 9/9. But fine margin again, and this time, it’s Joel that clinches it, 11/9 in 23m.
The last game is still 10m long for a 11/2 score, they still battled away…
It’s not so much a question of fitness, it more a mental fitness against those guys. You are nicely battling away, 2/2, 3/3, and within a few seconds, you find yourself 7/3 down!
Joel is going up every month, he is threatening the top 4, his squash is quality. And sometimes, you don’t know what is going on on court! In the first game, I was up 10/4, playing at my slow pace, and no idea how we got to 10/10!
I had my chances, I even dominated the match at some point, but the problem is to maintain the mental consistency. Maybe because I don’t get to play at that level often enough.
.@JoelMakin's speed is something else! 💨
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 14, 2020
You could see what Borja was doing straight away. He was switching it so well, he gets the height and then he cuts across you with the kills and he got the two wall boast and kept going in. You have to keep defending off it until you start to read it a bit better. He’s always hard to play.
“He definitely expresses himself, he charges around and then he’s screaming at himself for an error and it can be early on in a game. That’s the way he does it and it’s good to have different characters like that. He’s very expressive in the way he does things, he’s got some good options on the ball and he threatens stuff – it’s good to watch.
“It’s my squash that makes a difference, if I’m hitting the ball well and taking it in well then I can compete well against the best guys. It was scrappy today and I wasn’t quite right, but you’ve got to find a way there. I just had to hit my back corners and get the intensity up, fight more – I had to get myself back up in front and compete.