Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 13-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4 (48m)
Every time I see SJ on the tour, she mentions the fact I had the bad idea to tell her she has a tendency to start her matches slow… Since then, it’s all my fault if she does.. hahaha.
Today, a monumental first game to be honest, with Nouran leading most of it, 3/1, 4/4, 7/4, 7/7, but SJ as you see catching up. 8/8. 9/9. Far too many errors from SJ (she’ll make 5 in the game), but it will still take 3 game balls for Nouran to close the opener, 13/11. A good respectful atmosphere between the players I thought. Lots of respect from SJ to Nouran, I noticed by little details.
11m first game, a lot of errors/strokes but still a good number of winners for both, 7 for SJ and 8 for Nouran.
Second is extremely surprising from the Terminator. COmpletely in control 7/1, she seemed to switch off for a few minutes, and SJ took full advantage, finding her best game, length plus short lethal shots, and it’s 14m of battle, 11/8 – from 8/8.
The third doesn’t have the best of start. Out of the first 8 points, only 1 winner… 11/3 in 8m. The score is more or less the same in the 4th, but don’t be fooled. Nouran could never relax and even at 10/2 match ball, the Egyptian felt under threat. Good match from SJ I thought, solid from Nouran at the end.
I’m pretty happy with the way I played the two first games. Be toe to toe with the world number one is something I shouldn’t have been able to do a few weeks ago so due to a lot of factors. But I’m in a more positive mind space.
I’m enjoying my squash again, and I think you saw that bit more today, that’s where my creative psyche comes out, and there were definitely patches today where I was in full flow, which is a beautiful feeling. It wasn’t there the whole match of course but Nouran is world number one for her consistency and ability to apply pressure throughout the match without letting up for a single second, all credit to her for that.
I know the scores in the last two games do not look close on paper but I was in a lot of the rallies but I was half a step off what I was in the first two. I’ve been doing physical work, that I’m now able to do. We’ve got 5 weeks until the British Open on my doorstep, that’s really exciting, thrilled that we can showcase Birmingham, it’s such a big squash scene.
But today, pleased with that performance, not pleased to lose obviously, but so many positives to take into that British Open.
“SJ is one of the most experienced and skilful players on tour. I knew it was going to be easy. Being the World No.1 and No.1 seed, I’ve never really played a 12 o’clock match, it’s usually my nap time after two training sessions. I knew it was going to be a tricky match, all credit to her and she played really well.
“I wasn’t playing the best squash ever, but I’m pleased with the way I dealt with the match and won in the end.
“As a professional athlete in any sport, you always want to improve. I don’t have a very easy coach, he’s a tough one and he’s a perfectionist. We’re always looking into small details either during the tournament or in general. One of the reasons I started working with Rod [Martin] is because I felt he could improve my game. I’m always trying to improve and I’m never satisfied, I want to become a better player every day.”