R2:  Joel Makin (Wal) 3-2 Patrick Rooney (Eng) 10-12, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (75m)
Wales’ Joel Makin comes through a tough five setter against England’s Patrick Rooney …
What a forking incredible match that was. For an instant, I was imagining it in front of a packed crowd in the Crucible in Sheffield. It was that kind of match…
Joel was put under pressure from the opening rally. He was playing his great “put pressure on the opponent” by sending him to the back and front, but to his surprise, the ball kept coming back with dividends!!! “
Now you know what your opponents feel,” I smiled at the end of the match as I was chatting with Joel. And the Welsh smiled “yes, I guess, sending them there and there and there”.
Patrick Rooney, training between Pontefract and Manchester, has been “improving no ends” as John Masserella commented. The 23 years old is well mannered on court, doesn’t argue or discuss ref decisions – that Ponte Stamp for you – get the ball to the back with perfect glued drive length and width, but most of all, attacks, attacks and then, attacks again.
First game, Joel is visibly surprised by the resistance of his opponent, 6/3 up is the English, Joel levels 6/6, 8/8, 9/9. The attacks are relentless from the young Englishman, and although Joel is playing superb squash, perfect balance attack/defence as usual, he cannot contain the English, and it’s 12/10 to the Ponte Boy in 21m hard game.
4 errors but 10 winners for Patrick, 1 error and 6 winners for Joel.
The second, too much hard work in the first game, 7m, 11/2 Joel.
Despite a good start in the 3rd – with his second wind – 3-1, Patrick loses just a bit too much patience in the middle of the game, and clips the tin a few times (5 errors in that game alone). 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7. Some incredible rallies in there, but Joel’s experience and relentlessness prevails, 11/8 in 15m.
He wants his decider, Patrick does. He controls that fourth beautifully, with Joel showing a few signs of fatigue – very mild but discernible. 9/4, looks in the bag. But Joel’s experience and determination kicks in, and a big battle starts as Joel gets his second wind, and if the English finally clinches the 4th, it’s on his 4th game ball, 11/9, having produced an extra physical and mental work that will lack in the 5th…
He will not give up in the 5th, and he was right not to, as I now can say I have seen Joel tired! Going for the towel, taking time to receive the serve, touching the shoes, twice… I never saw him taking that much time to recover before. From 3/0 up, 9/5, he suddenly slows down, and Patrick (communicating vases) feels it, forcing three errors out of the Tiger’s racquet… Clawing back to 8/9… but a deep power kill and a drive, it’s match to Joel, 12m last game.
Joel was seriously under pressure for 4 games there. “He needs a bit of consistency and he’ll be very good”, he commented. Well, to be honest, had he played anybody else than Joel or Paul, I think he might have created an upset today…
Personally, I haven’t been so impressed with an up and coming English player for a few years. He’s got it all. He just needs to have it more consistently as Joel said…
He is one of the top three fittest players on tour for sure, and I knew it was going to be hard. I was exactly like I was expecting!!!
I felt I was playing well, I can see a lot of improvement here, although I’m gutted to lose…I will take away a lot from it….
Joel: “I just felt flat with my movement.
“Something wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t relying on getting on the ball early, he was getting in front of me all the time. That allowed him to use his skills and he was putting the ball away unbelievably to be fair to him.
“He didn’t give me much chance to settle, so I really had to dig in hard towards the end because I wasn’t feeling right. His quality going in short was pretty unbelievable on a glass court like that, so I just had to deal with it like I did and find a way. The quality wasn’t right, I’m not sure why but we haven’t played in four months so you can’t be perfect.
“I’m physically fine to go again tomorrow as long as my body is alright, so I’m looking to push on from here really. As long as it doesn’t take too much out your legs, they’re [hard matches in the early rounds] fine because it gives you a hard match and gets you ready for the later rounds, so it’s not a problem. But you don’t want too long a match at the same time, so there is a balance.”
🗣 "It gives you a bit of a hard match, gets you ready for the later rounds!"@JoelMakin was not at his best against @patrickroooney, but the British No.1 held on! Hear what he had to say here 🎙#BlackBallOpen pic.twitter.com/wulIkgQwnK
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 21, 2021