R1: Zeina Mickawy (Egy) 3-0 Nicole Bunyan (Can) 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (29m)
Zeina… another very gifted young lady from Alexandria, 22 years old. She suffered a few injuries in the past and also a bit of a lack of confidence in her abilities. She took some time off having a coach and about a couple of months ago, she started working with one of the top Egyptian Coaches, Mohamed Elkeiy, also based Alexandria.
And wait for it, it’s such a great story, guess who is her physio? Hana Ramadan, who just qualified for the second round ousting Nada Abbas in 3 games. So Zeina got the perfect set up: her physio is also her sparring partner! Isn’t that convenient….
Back to today’s match. I always enjoy watching Nicole on court. First of all, she is one of those players that the camera likes, she is moving very well, and knows how to stay in a rally she does. Only thing today I felt she didn’t use her power weapon enough, I felt she could have a lot of damage to Zeina with it. But what do I know.
The Canadian will regret not seizing the second game as she was up 9/7 and couldn’t close it, allowing the very dangerous Egyptian to lead 2/0. And that, in Egypt, is often fatal. And it was. Zeina zoomed up 5/1, 7/3, 9/4, to close the game and match 11/6.
In the first game, I was up score wise but I was finding it hard to close the rallies and win the point. All credit to her as Nicole has got a great basic game, very solid, she was pushing me to the back of the court, and I had to volley a lot to overcome her game plan. She is also covering a lot of ground and is very hard to beat.
As the ball got heavier, I found it a bit easier to find winners, it was a bit less bouncy and it helped my game.
I am working a lot on the strengthening of my body with my physio/training partner. I feel I’m not 100% yet but I’m getting closer.
I feel that if I’m able to impose my game, I can do good things. So I am trying to relax and enjoy my squash as much as I can.