Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (32m)
Today, as they say in England, the shoe was on the other foot. First time you beat a top 5, it could be a fluke. Then you beat them again a few days later during a major, then you are expected to win the next one.
And to me, today, the pressure was on the young girl, and she felt it. Nour, starting to recover physically and mentally from the loss of her nephew during the World Womens in the Pyramids, was sharp and nearly calm today. On her first round two ago, she was very tense, but today, she was focused and concentrated. Not all over the place with bad energy flowing around.
After a simpler affair in the opener, 9m, 11/6 for Nour, Rowan made it much harder for Nour. Up 3/1, the tone was set. Soon, we were level, 3/3, 4/4. Nour took a slight advantage, 6/4, 7/5, Rowan levelled, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9. With two tight length, Nour closes it 11/9, long game, 12m.
Nour takes a great start in the third, 5/1, 7/2. A good push from Rowan, coming back to 8/5, but it’s a bit too little too late, 11/6, 9m…. Raneem awaits…
She beat me in Chicago and beat me at the Egyptian Nationals a few days before that. So today I spoke with Ali, and he told me something very important for me: he said ‘you are not playing a junior player, or a top 20 player. You are playing a top 10 player.’ And that made it less pressure me because I’m not expected to win somehow! So that’s what I did. Today, I think I was fitter in my head, not in my body, I haven’t done any fitness work since Chicago.
But you know, after l lost in Chicago, Ali said why don’t you go back home and train. And I said, no, I’d rather stay where with you. And you know what, it did me good. Just being in the PSA atmosphere but no pressure, seeing how Ali is handling the trauma we went through a few weeks ago, see how he handles the pressure, I was able to feed from his energy, and it really re-energised me.
And maybe she was the one feeling the pressure more, I saw her getting nervous earlier than last time, in Chicago, she lost the first game too, but she didn’t panic, whereas today, she got nervous quite quickly. It was very hard, you could see in the last game she let loose with the racket a little bit and she was still very tough to beat. I was very focused from the beginning..
I’m very happy to be through to the quarter final, it’s my first major quarter final for five months so I’m very happy, especially after two eary exit in TOC and Windy City. I am so happy to play Raneem tomorrow, I haven’t played any of the Big Four for a while now, and I think I’m ready, tomorrow is going to be a good match I hope…