Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0 Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (44m)
After the match today, I went to Rodney Martin, who has been coaching Marwan for a little while now. To thank him. Because I can see now Marwan playing the way I KNEW he could play. Because he was the brother of, he somehow never truly believe his squash was ever going to be good enough. So he developped his brain and his streetwise abilities – other words to say being able to not let the opponent through for example, playing mind games with him or argue endlessly with the ref.
But now, thanks to the mental and physical confidence he gets from the work he is doing to Rodney, the new Marwan, out of the chrysalid, is out flying nicely. “Better late than never,” said someone very close to him with a big smile. It was worth it.
Now, what to say about Seb. I saw him play yesterday the perfect slow game to frustrate Abdulla Al Timimi, a game he qualified himself of ‘pretty boring’. And today, he showed us a completely different game, fast, inventive, attacking but still highly accurate on the drive side, perfect width. And physically, he was able to push Marwan a few times, only clipping the tin and finding himself at the wrong end of very long rallies.
That’s another game of squash I really, REALLY enjoyed. And I have to thank all those players that reconcilliate me with my beloved sport. Because I was that close to giving it all up…
The power from @maelshorbagy! 👊
The Egyptian's 2⃣ games to the good against Sebastien Bonmalais 💪
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 3, 2023
Yesterday it was a tactical choice to play that slow and boring game. And I need to know how to do every aspect of the game…
I didn’t play badly today, just a bit of lack of accuracy at the end of the rallies to be able to close down the points quicker. I was not too happy about my shot selection at crucial times. I had to work more on my accuracy, it’s improving little by little, but I’m not consistent throughout the match enough to be able to not give him too much openings while moving him around.
Disappointed I felt that he was maybe a bit suffering physically, and I had still more under the pedal. Shame for the first game, I don’t start well, took me too long to find my marks on the court, although I’m training on the glasscourt in Aix Creps, but it happens often against the top players, I waste too much time finding my rhythm at the start.
Not a bad match but still need to improve my accuracy, and getting into my groove quicker, he is number 6 so I cannot complain…
“I feel very good, I’m very happy with the way that I played. I played very sharp today and I was taking the ball early – the front wall is fast so I had to be sharp from the beginning. I’m very happy with the way I played, Sebastien is a great player so I knew how tough it was going to be. He’s a player who’s improving and always learning and I could tell halfway through the match he was trying to change his tactics, it’s good to see and I hope he does well as he’s a nice guy too.
“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise (Joel Makin beating Paul Coll). If I had Joel in the first round it would have been 50/50, but more importantly it’s really good to see Joel playing well again. I know he was struggling at the beginning of the season with illness but I’m just really happy to see him playing well. Since ToC I could tell that he started to be fit again and it’s good to see.
“I like the way he plays, the way he’s so aggressive and how he never gives up. Last time we played was here in the semi-finals. I’m looking forward to my day off.”