2023 Reports 2023 Round Two

R2: Gina, eventually

[8] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-2 Emily Whitlock (WAL)  6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6 (64m)

A very interesting match today I have to say. Both of those players love to run, and aren’t afraid to stay on the court as long as it takes. Both had their fair share of injuries over the years. Gina, 25, out of the US College Scene, burst onto PSA Tour to reach the top 10 within a year, while 29 years old Emily  has been as high as 12WR, at the moment just outside the top 20, WR22.

I have to say I felt that today, the Welsh was initiating 95% of the rallies and might have been the better player today. The accuracy of both her front and back game was superb, and I could see how she was sticking to the gameplan. Gina was finding good attacks as well, but was in my opinion a bit on the backfoot, reacting more than she was acting, and a bit too passive it felt. “I was all over the place” she confirmed in her aftermatch interview.

Fitness maybe played a part today. I had the impression that Emily was very tired in the middle of the 4th, after leading 7/1, she seemed to have to dig in quite deep around the 8/6, 8/8 mark. Still, she is the one that closes that one, 11/8 to force a decider.

Up 3/2, the Welsh made three consecutive uncharacteristic errors, a sign she was maybe running of fumes, and Gina just made sure to make the court as big as possible, up to 9/3. A bit of second wind for Emily, back to 4/10 saving two match balls, slowing the pace down and lobbing a lot to catch her breath back, but it’s too little too late, 11/6 for the English.

And just for the argument, I am very well placed on the side wall left side, and I saw Emily’s last shot going higher than the sideline, without touching it and it touched the wall on its way down, below the sideline. In other words, the last shot called out was good in my opinion….

“First off I want to say well played to Emily because she made it very difficult for me out there. She was completely dominating the length and was dominating me around the middle. She unsettled me and that’s partly down to how she played, but it wasn’t good enough from me. My targets were all over the place.

“I’m happy to get through but I’m not happy with the performance. That’s not to take anything away from Emily because the played really well. There were a lot of momentum swings, so it was an interesting match.

“I think I ended up winning because I was clawing a few balls back and physically I felt good, but that’s now how I want to win a match.

“I’m really excited to play Joelle, she’s an incredible player and has had an incredible season winning in Singapore and New Zealand. She’s in great form and she’s a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to play. It’s going to be a really nice match and hopefully a very competitive match as well.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”