Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-2  Joelle King (NZL) 5-11, 13-11, 13-11, 7-11, 13-11 (74m)
Sarah Jane is someone who can impose her game to most of the top players. And when she succeeds, she is very hard to beat.
To be fair, Joelle played extremely well this week, and it was a pleasure to see her get her confidence back in her own game. And the first two games, she played some excellent squash, clinical and sharp. Nothing over complicated. Just think, execute, stay in front. Take the point. Perfect.
Now, a bit like Gawad in the Men’s game, we are used to SJ’s slow start. And down 5/9 in the second, the Gladiator just let go of the arm, stepped up the court, managed to shorten the exchanges, and zooms to 10/9 game ball, to finally take the game 13/11 on her third attempt. 17m long minutes game.
If Joelle starts well the third, 3/1, the rest of the game is close, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 8/8, 9/9. Short rallies, that’s SJ game really, but fine line, and it’s 13/11 for the English in 15m of hard work from both, with Joelle unable to capitalise on her game ball.
Out of the blue, the Kiwi smoothly does it to equalise 2 games all, 6/3, 9/4, 10/6, 11/7.
The fifth, SJ looking very good, 5/2, 7/3. A big push from Joelle, 6/7, but it’s still 10/7 for the Gladiator. That’s the moment she decides to play the only errors of the game, 3 errors and a stroke, and it’s 11/10 match ball for the Kiwi!
A huuuuuuge come from the Gladiator as she saves that match ball, 11/11 thanks to lovely long drop shot. An error from the Kiwi, and finally, it’s 13/11 for SJ, 16m game…
I think I was in control in the first two games, playing well, I was up in the second 9/5… But then, I asked that stupid let, and I became defeatist and let SJ in front of me, whereas before, I was able to impose my game. And then, she was in.
I guess she likes to disrupt the rhythm, she doesn’t enjoy long rallies, where I do prefer to keep the rallies going.
But still, look at the score, I could have won today, games were so close, shame it didn’t go my way.
I played some good squash in patches this week, so a lot of positives to take away, and it’s been a long time since I put together good matches in a row.
And a event like that is a motivator, it gives you the will to come back and do better, let’s hope we’ll have a few events coming up.
🗣 "If I was a cat I think I would have used at least four of my nine lives today!" 🐱@SJPerry15 lives on to fight another day as she reaches the @BlackBallSquash title decider! 🏆#BlackBallOpen pic.twitter.com/vf70Q9HP3L
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 11, 2020
I don’t even want to know how many errors I made – far too many. I knew I needed to attack, I couldn’t just trade blows with her because she’s too good and she just picks me up on the volley, as she did too many times. I don’t really know how I won that one. I managed to refocus just about at 10-10 in the fifth after putting three balls in the tin.
I’m pretty relieved right now, if I was a cat, I would have used at least four of my nine lives today!
Whoever was in control of the middle, was controlling it but that could switch halfway through a rally, let alone through games and patches. It was a bit all over the place, but my game is to disrupt people’s rhythm and movement, but I need to find my own as well, which was definitely in and out tonight.
I think in the first half of the season I lost a lot of tie-breaks. To actually win them is pretty pleasing. I need to focus and not go down in games, to win comfortably would be beautiful.