R1: Declan James (Eng) 3-0 Leonel Cardenas (Mex) 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (45m)
The first victory of the men’s event goes to England’s Declan James, who now meets Mostafa Asal in Round Two.
To be honest, a few very long rallies made me believe that the match could be very very long. And the two first games were pretty that, 13m, 17m.
Leonel, who looks trimmed and much fitter than last time he was here – even the hair cut – is pretty handy with the racquet. As Ashraf Hanafi mentioned, he looks a lot like Barada – the way he moves, his temper, his interventions with the ref bless him – and he is truly pleasant and entertaining to watch.
A few decisions too many at the end of the second, maybe a few too harsh strokes against him as well but I was down at court level, the ref is up, better view of the situation really. James takes the crucial second on his second attempt. He needed that one I think to secure a comfortable first match. I feel that boy – 21 – would be pretty dangerous had he took the second…
Declan: Leonel is good and solid player. I didn’t know anything about him but the players told me how good he was. Very clever with the racquet, and good variation with the heights.
I feel relaxed, it was a perfect first round really, with two hard first games, I knew that if I put 30m hard work, it would pay off, and a third where I could express myself more freely.
Leonel : Yes, I lost a lot of weight, 8kg. When I came here last time, it was my first platinum event and I realise I was just not fit enough. So I worked hard and I will keep training hard