R2: Rowan Elaraby (Egy) 3-0 Sana Ibrahim (Egy) 11-9, 13-11, 11-9 (35m)
In a clash between two young Egyptians, it’s Rowan Elaraby who beats Sana Ibrahim in three close games …
I love the comments on social media, wondering who is going to take over the domination from Egypt’s hands. Well, looking at what I saw today, Egypt is not about to be out and forgotten.
Jzzzzz whizzz. Rowan, 20, playing a 18 years old, that she actually never played, neither on PSA or on local events – that tells you the depth of the game here – Rowan Tinkerbell, WR14, Sana WR67, and we have a superb match. Truly.
Well, they were arguing at some point about each other’s movement, maybe a couple of harsh no lets didn’t help the deal, and a few dodgy movements from both not spotted didn’t make it easier. But they sorted each other out, and it all came back to normal in the third, bless them.
I was impressed with Sana’s determination today. Down and out, she never folded, and kept threatening her much higher ranked opponent. Down 6/2 in the opener, she strung 6 points to come back to 8/6, and led 9/7, before a bit of lack of experience allowed Tinkerbell to score 3 points, 11/9 in 9m. 10 winners from Rowan, 7 from Sana.
The second, close the whole way, nothing between them, but Rowan seems in control at the end, 9/6. Again not throwing the towel, Sana gives a big yalla, and score four points. Two game balls, again, bit of inexperience at that level, two errors there, and it’s finally Rowan that closes it with another error from Sana, 13/11, 13m. 8 winners Rowan, 7 Sana.
The third is again the testament of Sana’s mental power. Down 4/1, 6/3, 8/5, she claws back 8/8. She will save a match ball, 10/8, 9/10, and losing the match, quite fittingly, on an error, 10m last game.
Sana could have taken any game, and could have won in 3. The future looks good for Egypt…
Sana: “I can do better than this. I was playing a few nice rallies, but then I would make stupid errors, that’s not good enough.
“I was so happy to be called to come and play the tournament, I was called at 10.30 pm for the next day. But it means also that I’m not as prepared physically as I would like.
“And I saw it mentally as well. The first match I was mentally very fiery, but today, I didn’t have the same winning spirit. Still my parents, my coach, didn’t put me under any kind of pressure. They told me to just enjoy it.
“But I know I can do better than that.”
Rowan: “I wouldn’t say I’m really happy with my performance today, but I’m glad I kept it together and fought until the end.
“Sana played really well and every chance she got she used very well. I was really under pressure today. I couldn’t find my game plan or pace, I need to be more tough with my shots and my shot selection wasn’t very good today.
“I need to rewatch the match and see what I need to improve for the next match.”
🗣️ "I'm really glad I kept it together and fought until the end."@rowanelarabyy eyes some improvements, but she's through to the last 16 at the @BlackBallSquash 💪#BlackBallOpen pic.twitter.com/BmRm9VWvgM
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 14, 2021