Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-1  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (60m)
This was always a no win situation for Hania. Like when Ramy came back from the dead in Qatar, after six months injury break, whoever was playing him had huge pressure, and him none. Same here.
And it was obvious to me (probably everybody else) how nervous our Gazelle was tonight. She didn’t go for a fist pump or a COME ON until 9/5 Nour serving in the third. That in my book means she was not at her normal self.
On top of that, adding insult to injury, Nour kept wrong footing Hania, again, and again. Not sure it’s because we all forgot how CatWoman used to play and that surprises us, or if she has added some leaves to her book of tricks.. Nevertheless, Hania kept on struggling reading her opponent game tonight.
Hania was up 9/6 in the first, managed to close it 11/9 in 12m, but from that moment, she was constantly on the backfoot, trying to catch up, nervously losing so much energy, while Nour seems at ease and fluid.
I loved the “Let’s do a Ramy Ashour impersonation by speaking to myself, arguing then agreeing with myself, between points or actually during points!” Mash’Allah Habebty…
Uncanny as the scores were exactly the same 2nd and 3rd, 9/3, 10/7, 11/8… Just longer for the third (10m and 12m).
Again in the 4th, Nour is leading the way, 4/0, huge effort from Hania, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. An error at the point gives Nour a match ball, saved in a gruelling rally with a backhand drive glued to the leftwall, but Nour was not to be denied, and it’s 11/9, match to Nour, 18m last game….
Nour El Tayeb
“I’m very happy, Hania has been doing amazing recently and it’s hard to back up after reaching the final of a major. I was the best at reaching a final and then losing early. As you see, she’s a very tough competitor and she has been very generous and helpful with me in my comeback. I’m very sorry for her, but I’m happy that I can come up against the current World No.3 and play this well.
“I know the pressure was on her, when you play against me now, you don’t know where my level is at. That’s why I had no pressure, but I’m very happy, I played how I wanted and how I planned. I’m very happy to be in the quarter finals of a major for the first time in two years.
“I could go on for hours about how hard it is to come back after giving birth but having my family to support me is the key. I wouldn’t have been able to come back and train every day as hard as I have wanted without my husband, my mum, my dad and my sisters. Everyone around me has been pushing me, obviously there are days when there is no motivation to go out and train.
“On so many days I am not motivated to train, but I’m glad I kept pushing and I’ve had Ali pushing me every day at home to keep training. It definitely helps and I’m very excited to be in the quarter finals.
“It’s a massive boost to have Ali by my side. He takes care of Farida on a daily basis and he helps me a lot. Having my two coaches here, Hossam Nasser and Hossam Shaddad, helps a lot psychologically as well.”