R1: Karim El Hammamy (Egy) 3-1 Borja Golan (Esp) 11-2, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 (61m)
Karim El Hammamy overcomes Spanish veteran Borja Golan in just over an hour …
Some pretty great long rallies, with Borja in control but clipping the tin or missing his target, while Karim was moving as fluidly as ever. The Spanish became better as the match went along and he is not far off being back to his form after his surgery.
The Egyptian on the other hand having finished his studies, is now injury free, has been working pretty hard with a new team, and I trust we’ll hear a lot more from him in the coming months. We needed another El Hammamy at the top!
Karim: Borja is very experienced and very sharp especially at the back of the court, so if I had played only at the back, it would have been to his advantage. So I had to take him to the front, picking up the pace and volleying more, not systematically going for a winner, being patient.
Borja was very good at counterdropping, so my only defence was to lob, and best case scenario, redrop myself.
But I was happy with how sharp I was especially in the middle of the court, I think I was in control most of the rallies.
I have improved my fitness, thanks to my new fitness coach Samy Farag, so I trust my physicality, but I trust my squash even more now, I have started working with Karim Ali Fathy, and I am more confident in my shots now, in particular on the forehand side.
Borja: Karim has improved a lot in the past three events, he’s gone up a step I feel.
I was a bit off in the first two games, my movement was not good and I was not aggressive enough because of my lack of movement. There was still times where I was dominating, but I was not consistent enough, and or I would put the ball in the tin, or I would put it in the centre of the court. Court was a bit slippery too but that’s the same for both of us.
I had my knee surgery as planned, I have no pain now. I haven’t had any real competitive match for three months, so I just need a few more matches, as I’m not as sharp physically as I would like to be. But next tournament, I’ll be much better…