R1:  Joelle King (NZL) 3-2 Donna Lobban (AUS) 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 5-11, 11-8 (54m)
It was a game of a few halves that one, and Joelle will I’m sure thank her lucky stars for finally allowing her to close a game she struggled with…
First half was when the New Zealander was cruising 2 games to love and 2/0 up in the third. The first two games was rather on the short side, and Joelle was looking extremely good.
But out of the blue, did Joelle thought she had the match won? Or did Donna realised that she was back against the wall, and that she didn’t much choices than push! And from 3/3, Donna patiently strung 8 points in a row, taking the 3rd in 7, the time it took her to take the fourth game as well, 11/5. That was the second half gone.
Now, the third half, in the decider, Joelle seems to be back, focus and stopping the “let’s play short when I should push it to the back”, and “what about putting the ball in my opponent’s racquet” phase, and is back to her start of the match form, 4/0, 5/1.
Oh go on, a fourth half, with Donna finding her best squash, running beautifully and closing the rallies quickly, back to 5/5 we are!
The fifth half, it’s back and forth really, Joelle nose in front, but Donna on her hills, 7/5, 10/6, two match balls saved for the Australian, but it’s Joelle, eventually, 11/8 in 15m last game.
It was a weird match. I started pretty well and won the first two pretty comfortably. The way Donna plays you can never quite relax, she showed that and came back to win the next two games and it was all on in the fifth. It was 11-8 but it felt much tougher than that – it was neck and neck all the way – I’m just happy to come off with a win.
The first two games I felt like I played some of the best squash I’ve played in a while, followed by some of the worst squash but obviously being put under pressure by Donna.
The environment now is a little different. You wouldn’t usually practice with the person you play with but with the situation of COVID, they’re trying to do the right thing. It’s a bit weird to be friendly with someone and then you have to come out here and try and beat each other, but I think it was a good spirited match.
After my last tournament, I was up 2-0 and lost, so it was nice to come back and win in the fifth….