2020 Round ONE REPORTS

R1: Emily 3-1 Jasmine, Rachael 3-2 Nour

Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-2 [WC] Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY)  9-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 (67m)
Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1 Jasmine Hutton (ENG)                               11-6, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10 (53m)

I managed to see only one match, but I could hear and follow the Legend against the Wild Card, and I wish I could have seen both! Rachael managed to save 2 match balls in the 3rd to finally clinch the game 11/8 in the 5th bless her.

“I have absolutely no idea how I managed to win.

“The match began and I felt like I wasn’t timing the ball well, I was loose and she was absolutely killing it. She was smacking it around and I felt like I didn’t have any time to think about what was going on and somehow I managed to pull the third back and I was basically telling myself to hang in there.

“I knew she was going to be in a position where she felt like she should win from this and I thought that instead of giving her easy shots, I needed to try and put it in the back and make her go for things and at least try to make it a bit harder.

“It’s incredible, whether it’s Nour or any of the other young Egyptians, you can never underestimate them no matter how they are.”

As for Emily against Jasmine… You may not remember/know that those two were supposed to meet in the UK Nationals Semis. But as Emily had a freak injury – thought it was a fractured bone when in fact it was a change of shoes, too tightly laced, would you believe – she couldn’t play, allowing Jasmine to get through to the final where she played Sarah Jane Perry.. who is to play the winner of this match! How intriguing!

It was I think the first time I saw a full match with Jasmine Hutton, and I have to say I’m truly and utterly under her charm. She is extremely fit, very determined, and hits the ball with a sharpness that is surprising really, an authority that is extremely pleasant to watch.

Emily well, basically played extremely well too. She had to, as Jasmine made very few errors and retrieved a heck of a lot throughout as well, taking her chances whenever presented to her.

Turning point is the third game, as the contender was up 7/3, 8/5 before being caught up 8/8, then had a game ball, 10/9 to finally lose 13/11. She needed that game… But she never gave up, quite the contrary, down 10/7 match ball, she kept fighting, retrieving and attacking, to only bow 11/9 in the 4th.

One of the cleanest, nicest match I have seen for a long time, very structured, hitting their target, and producing a superb squash display today.

I wish I could have brought a few more balls back, but I’m glad I managed to come back in the second, I thought I was down and out there…

She played really well, you could see that, whatever her game plan was, she was going for it. And her forehand was really good, my volleying was not good enough today. I saw her play and she can play a lot of tins, but not today, she played very few errors, I think I did too, it was a very high quality match I thought from both of us, very structured, but I guess that gave her the time to adjust her shot and implement her game plan…

I struggled with my backhand, it seemed to stay stuck in the middle somehow. But the court was nice, a bit weird at first, but nice. It takes a shot nicely, but not to fast.

After the second game, I told my dad/coach, I am trying to find my form, I’m trying to play the level I can play when I’m not jaded. And I have been in her shoes, the young coming up player, but at her age, I was playing a very attritional squash, and she isn’t. She is taking her chances. And I thought, am I being given a lesson by that young player?

After the third, I thought, I can play a long game now, I had a day of rest tomorrow, it doesn’t matter, I was not afraid of making it last. It’s the stress that makes it so hard…