R1 :  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0 Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 11-6, 12-10, 11-3 (32m)
“Fram, do you think Danielle has improved” asked me Karim Ali Fathi, now retired and coaching Danielle. “Fork yes” was my reply.
Danielle was always a good and solid player but her body is now fat free, muscles plenty where they should be, she is moving superbly well, she fight for every point, doesn’t let herself get down and out, attacks beautifully at the back of good and solid basic game. Excellent all around, that’s all I can say.
A little note. Do you know that there was not a single call in the first two games, and only a handful in the third. What a pleasure to see matches like that, where squash is enhanced, and not polluted by blocking or stop/starts…
A bit of an overwhelming start from Hania for the Canadian, 6/1, 7/2, with a few uncharacteristic errors as well. But some excellent rallies from that point on, and although, Hania takes the game on her second attempt 11/6, we feel we might have a match on our hands.
And so we did. A very aggressive, accurate and powerful Danielle comes back on court, 2/0, 4/1, and it takes a lot of retrieving from Hania to get back level, 5/5. 6/6. 7/7. 8/8. A winner from Danielle, an error from Hania, two game balls for the Canadian, 10/8. One ball saved, the second one as well after a huge rally, 10/10. A kill and an error, it’s 12/10 to Hania in 13m.
The third is a formality, but a lovely match to watch, two great warriors, making squash proud.
I felt comfortable today. In the first game, we had a few tough rallies, I had a few chances, that I missed, but I still felt I was putting her under pressure at times. She on the other hand didn’t give me any errors, and that makes the difference.
I kept pushing in the second, it was tough but I’m overall happy the way my game is going, I need to keep grinding away, not getting too annoyed by the results, “trust the process”.
She is such a fair player, she is my favourite player to play with, you know it’s going to be a fair and fluid game, I enjoy our training matches, she is really lovely to play.
I think it’s a bit of nerves and excitement. It’s a different experience being defending champion and a different challenge for me. I’m definitely more excited than nervous, I went on court today wanting to play the best and I wanted to perform the best I can and hopefully I can defend my title.
All credit to Danielle, she played really well throughout the whole match but particularly in the second, I lost a little of my game plan and then she took advantage.
She moved to Cairo and has been training well here, she’s improved and she gave me a hard time in the match. I had to play the best in order to get through in three.