R1:  Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Greg Lobban (Sco) 11-7, 11-6, 11-2 (37m)
To be honest, it was a bit of an off day for our central ref today but to his defence, we are all a bit cooked/tired/flat after a long week of squash inside a basement building. And although the organisation and the squash are immaculate and great, we are tired. And refs are no machines. Lobban was on the wrong end of a few shocker of decisions, and we felt for him really.
Lobban did his best today but like he said, it wasn’t close enough to put pressure on Gaultier. 3/0 was a good start for the Scot in the opener, then 3/3, 5/5, 6/6, then a comfortable end of game, 11/7 in 16m hard work.
The second was going to be very close up to 4/4, then Gaultier in command, just planted on the T, and not letting anything through, 11/6, 12m. The third is a formality, 11/2…
I would be silly to complain about the ref, although it was probably not a good day for him, but there were so few decisions, 3, 4, 5 decisions are not going to make a difference when I just couldn’t get closer.
My length was just not good enough, I had a clear game plan that I couldn’t execute because he didn’t let me. I tried different things but then, you start doubting yourself when it’s not working. And against somebody that good, no chance.
I was playing Greg, who has been climbing up the rankings the last two years. He is close to top 20, I knew it was going to be tough. I’m just on my way back, it’s like a year that I’m back playing and I started to feel things slightly better and a lot of improvement.
When I came to Egypt before the Egyptian Open, I inflamed a bit the knee, I guess because of hard flooring. So before Qatar, I couldn’t really train, and I had to “bricoler”, dabble a bit and of course, when I got to play against somebody like Marwan, I was short in a lot of departments.
But between Qatar and now, I had a good block of 5 weeks training, and I was able to work on fine tuning elements I hadn’t been able to do up to now, like reaction and speed and I feel much better now. so I feel much more comfortable. I feel really good physically, I’ve got to do a lot of exercise for my knee to be able to lunge properly. I need to gain speed still, even if I’m getting older, my speed was my main strength.
It’s a lot of mobility for my knee. I have to work on my hip and my ankle to get as much as flexibility as possible and then there’s less impact on my knee. I have to strengthen all of the area around my knee, like my quads and hamstring, calves – there’s still a difference between my left leg and my right leg. I’m getting there, I’m very happy with the way I’m moving again. I don’t want to get too high expectations, the last two-three weeks there has been a little improvement.
Diego has been training with me the past four months and it has been good for both of us. I think he learned a lot from me in terms of discipline and the way I train, and he gives me a rhythm I didn’t have for a long time.