2021 Platinum Reports REPORTS

R2: Hollie comeback denies Zina

R2: Hollie Naughton (Can) 3-1 Zeina Mickawy (Egy) 10-12, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5 (44m)

Canada’s Hollie Naughton comes from a game down to beat Zeina Mickawy in four games …

Two very different type of players on court. Zeina, only 22, she’s been around for so long I keep forgetting she is that young, WR24, shot maker par excellence, not as fit as she would like despite her great efforts, and Hollie, aka Mother Christmas – 26, WR20, owes her nickname to her generosity towards her opponents as she can offer them a few points per match….

And today, she started being generous, serving out at 2/0. “Well, as Malcolm [Willstrop] would say at least she is trying to serve well”. More seriously, a twist of her right foot at 5/2 could have been devastating. She took 3m self injury time, and after being bandaged after the next game, it seemed to hold ok, although we’ll see tomorrow how she feels.

Up 7/3, 8/4, the Canadian couldn’t contain the magic coming from the skilful racquet of the Egyptian, who levelled at 9/9/, and it’s an opener for Zeina, 12/10 on her second attempt, with 8winners, 5 for Hollie and 11m real game time.

The second is the turning point in my eyes. Comfy up 4/0, 5/1, 7/4, the young Egyptian just looked very out of breath, taking time off to go to the towel box. 8/8, 9/9. And despite have two successive game balls, Zeina cannot close that crucial game, and it’s the Roaring Canadian that clinches it in 11m, 14/12. Still 10 winners from Zeina, 11 for Hollie, high quality game.

When she came back on court, Zeina was running on fumes. A few errors crept in early in the game, giving Hollie the feeling she was definitely on the right path, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, zoom to 8/5, 9/6 for the Canadian. A last push from the Egyptian, 8/9, but Hollie closes it 11/8 in 7m, with 8 winners, 6 for Zeina.

Last game, Hollie in control, 9/1, 10/4, 11/5, in 6, with a huge COME ONE from Mother Christmas as she won the last rally…

Hollie: “I’m trying not to think about the injury right now.

“We’ll assess it after I’m done and I’ll try to prepare as best as I can for the next match. These things happen, you’ve just got to find a way and I guess adrenaline takes over and you forget about it for the time being.

“I just tried to enjoy what I was doing in there. I wanted to find the back corners, press up and use my physicality to create openings. I was quite happy with how I did that today, so hopefully I’ll take that tomorrow.

“I work on a game plan with my coaches and my sports psychologist who put a plan together, so that’s what I read over [in between matches]. I’m trying to get myself back into a good headspace and back onto the plan rather than getting distracted and losing my focus on what I want to do.”