Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1  Camille Serme (FRA) 9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 13-11 (73m)
Every time those two superb gladiators step onto a squash court, it’s an advertisement for our sport. Their sportmanship allows a free flowing game, while the mad pace Ramy/Shorbagy like, their ability not only to attack but also to retrieve, and most of all their grit/determination should be bottled and labelled: Squash.
I am just a fan when I watch them. I enjoy every rally, I feel the pain of the one that loses, and rejoice for the winner of that rally. As Hania stated, it’s the fourth time they played this season, with Nantes to start with, then THE MATCH in the Worlds quarters, where Hania clinched the match on a tie break coming back from 2/0 down, then CHicago last week, where Camille repay her with dividends, taking the match on the 5th, 11/9!
Today, Hania didn’t look that good at the start. She was getting excited with every bad shot, or point loss. Looked a bit flat while Camille looked calm and composed, finding a very good shot combination. 4/1, 5/2, Hania getting closer 4/5, but Camille deep shots are killing the Egyptian, 9/6. With a few YALLLA and fist pumps “de rigueur”, Hania is back in contention, 9/9. A huge rally, ending with a trademark volley drop shot, and then a feathery drop shot and it’s 11/9 for Cam in 13m.
The second is the turning point: Camille in complete control 3/1, 5/2, 7/4. But a drop of energy (Mental, Physical? Not sure), and she gets the ball out of court twice in a row. 7/7. It’s enough to give Hania the little breather and mental belief she needed, and it’s quickly (sort of) 11/8, still 15m game.
The third is close the whole ways, and will last 18 long minutes of stunning squash. 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, Camille finding a perfect attack retrieve balance, 10/7 game ball. She won’ be able to convert and it’s 10/10. The Egyptian takes the cake on her second attempt, despite Philippe Signoret, Camille’s coach, begging her to “relax the racquet”… 13/11 , such a high quality match.
The fourth is of the same caliber, but Hania nose in front, 5/2, Camille clawing back, 5/5, scoring 5 points in a row, but it’s all level again, and I swear Philippe has got more grey hair than at the start of the match! 7/7, 8/8, 9/9. Match ball to the Egyptian. Camille will give it all, and will fight till the last shot, but it’s the young Egyptian talent that takes the match on her third attempt, serving from the left, 13/11, 22m game. You read well. 22 minute last game.
What a match. Amazing squash, yet again.
I have my coaches here with me, my parents and my grandma. I always win when she’s around, so it’s always fun to have her!
It was such a hard match mentally and physically. I’m absolutely pleased to be able to beat one of the players in the top five. Playing Camille is always physical, we both like to run even if the shot is perfect, we still go for it and keep getting the balls back, so it’s always tough to play against her. The rallies never end.
At the begining, I was a bit nervous, I wanted to make sure I produced a good level of squash as I did in our last two matches, and I so wanted to win. But I never felt comfortable on there, I was struggling with my lenght, and made a lot of unforced errors.
But from the second on, I was able to calm down, and stick to my game plan, which was very simple, stay away from her volley, and when I was managing that, things were a bit better, a bit easier.
The difference between here and Chicago’s match is the conditions. In Chicago, the conditions were so hot, we couldn’t attack at all, we kept sending the ball to the back, and none of us I thing played a single drop shot the whole match! But we are both talented with the racquet, and today, it was much better, we were both able to attack, and I think that made the difference…