R1:  Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-1 Mariam Metwally (EGY) 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (40m)
One positive thing today from the Egyptian point of view. It’s the first time for a very long time I see the Alexandria lady without any tapes on her legs. For months/years, she has been riddled with injury, and not been able to train properly, growing more and more frustrated not to be able to let her talent shine really. The surgery obviously was a success!
So that was positive. Mariam is fitter, she lost a lot of weight, she was jumping on the court, she was fluid, and that really was good to see. She was moving the best I’ve seen for a long time. And now, she just needs the confidence both mentally and physically to get those wins…
A good opener for the Egyptian, not a single error in that first game, leading the whole game really, 4/2, 5/5, 8/5, 9/6, 10/6. The American was a bit wobbly to start with, 3 errors up to 5/5, not too overjoyed with the stoppage, but still saving 2 game balls, bowing 11/8 in 9m.
A complete reverse of power in the second, 1 error for Liv and 4 for Mariam, with the American zooming to 6/2, 11/5 in 5m. The third is more balanced, although a good start from Liv see her leading 3/0, only to be caught up 5/5, 6/6. Errors creep in at that point, and it’s 10/6 for Olivia. It’s now Mariam’s turn to save two game balls, but it’s 11/8 for the American in 10m.
In the 4th, we are 3/3 when suddenly, Olivia seems to find her best squash, forcing a few errors from the Egyptian’s racquet, 7/3. An excellent come back from Mariam, accurate and sharp attacks, back to 7/8, but it’s Olivia on her first attempt, 11/8 in 9m.
To be honest, I don’t like stop and start matches, I like when it’s fluid squash, I have troubles keeping focused in a fluid matches, so imagine when there are a lot of interruptions. I think she doesn’t mind that much actually, it probably suits her game.
I hadn’t seen that fire in the old girl for a long time, so it’s nice to know it’s still there, and I’m very happy to get away with a 3/1 today…
I felt like I prepared really well. I watched and I thought you’re going to have to chase after some really good boasts and be ready to be taken in at any time. I think I actually didn’t get caught off any crosscourt nicks off the serve, so that was kind of an achievement for me.
She’s fantastic around the middle, I know she’s been injured and she’s just come back from a surgery but to me, it felt like she was moving great and even when I tried to attack her and make the court big, if I wasn’t perfect it was a disaster.
I’m trying to find what really is “me”. Sometimes I go for the trick stuff and then I watch it back like “who do you think you are- that’s not a good idea”. I think it’s less about the type of squash and more the mentality of being able to stick it out, which I didn’t do very often but I’ll take it.
“I think I’m just trying to give everyone that cares about me a heart-attack when hitting backhand flicks. They have told me time and again not to hit that, it’s definitely instinctive and sometimes it works and looks really cool, but most of the time it’s not and it gets punished, but I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.
This is kind of my first win in this weird season, I’ve had a tough nine months but I’m really happy to say I get to play again here.