R2: Drama between Joelle & Farida

R2: [6] Joelle King (NZL) 3-2 Farida Mohamed (EGY) 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-13, 9-3 retired (81m)

No quotes from anybody on that one. Just tears.

An incredible stat to start with. A bit like Youssef Ibrahim with Mohamed ElShorbagy (3/0 H2H for Yous), here, not only there were only 2 encounters, all going to 5 and all won by Farida, but also here, on the same court of BlackBall. Just surreal.

So needless to say that one,Joelle knew what to expect, and two, Farida had the confidence that comes from winning twice 3/2, 12/10 the last time in the 5th!

But the pressure was also on the Egyptian. Empty stadium – first match on – just coach, mum and dad. That’s enough really. And the first game is dominated by Joelle only at the business end, 8/8, 11/8 in 8m, but Farida giving away 7 points (2 strokes and 5 errors). Joelle, no errors, no strokes…

The second is weird. It seems that Joelle loses her squash (length) when up in the score against Farida. 5/2 up. She would only score another point, 11/6 to Farida, still no errors from the Kiwi, 7m game.

The third sees a dominance from the Kiwi from 4/4, 8/4, Farida going for too much too early, and although she comes back to 8/9, Joelle clinches that third, 11/8 in 11m.

The fourth starts with a fearless Egyptian. She’s been there before, she is not panicking.  And it’s again a battle for the T… But at 5.3 Joelle, an “unfortunate accident” as Lee Drew described it sees the racquet of Farida hitting Joelle forehead. Treatment, 10m, back on court, let as it’s was not an excessive swing.

And then comes the next point, 4/5, we see Farida hopping on one foot, holding her left knee. In excruciating pain, she cannot move. Joelle keeps her warm and comfortable with the towels (places one under her head) and the time goes over the 3m for self injury. Joelle, very fair, allows it and Farida comes back, definitely not 100%, I would describe it at 10%.

The young Egyptian will clinch the 4th at the cost of excruciating pain 13/11 in 40m length game (get rid of 20 at least) but in the 5th, just screams in pain after a painful and tearful decider, on her fours, unable to finish the match, 9/3, retired by the ref who had to apply the rule.

It seems like it’s a knee injury, they will wait 2 days for the inflammation to reduce, and then do an MRI.

Joelle (speaking to PSA afterwards)

“I don’t really know how to feel after that. It’s a bit of a weird one to win a match that had so much disruption. Obviously I hop she’s ok, because she was really struggling with her knee, there was a lot happening. I’m just pleased to be playing tomorrow, to live another day and another match. Hopefully it’ll be free-flowing tomorrow!

“It’s been a long time since I played Nele, I’m excited. I enjoy playing different players. Sometimes in tournaments you play the same people a lot so it’s nice to have a different challenge. Obviously she brings a lot of physicality to the court, hopefully tonight I can recover from today and come and play my best squash.”