Joelle King (NZL) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 11-5, 13-11, 11-6 (31m)
So much was happening I feel in Nada’s head today. First, she must have felt heavy legs, coming back from 2/0 yesterday against so dangerous Mariam Metwally, after not really having any hard competition for months – if you are not aware, the young Egyptian has been fighting a ban for use of forbidden substances.
And then, the fact you KNOW you can beat a top player. She KNOWS she can do it. That she’s got the game to do it. And that pressure you put on yourself. So much to prove. To herself. To others. So much on her shoulders.
I felt today that all those elements were in her way to play the best squash we know she can play.
Then again, in front of her was a Joelle King, top 4, not exactly what you could call a pushover. The New Zealander actually made a few too many errors, and won’t be happy with that. But she’ll be happy with clinching that second game, down 5/8, 10/6, she managed to claw back to force a tie break, courtesy of Nada’s 4 unforced errors…
A stroke at 10/10 gave the 22 years old another chance at levelling the game to 1/1, but it wasn’t to be, and Joelle clinched the first opportunity she had, 13/11.
Stats of that game are quite strong, Joelle gave away 6 points (4 errors, 2 strokes), Nada 7 (6 errors, 1 stroke). And the game lasted only 10m, showing how short the rallies were.
Sahar Moustafa (Nada’s mother)
The last 8 months have been very tough for Nada. From the beginning, we couldn’t get much information, we were fighting in the dark, not knowing what was really going on, on our own, with no support. It was very hard to prove her innocence, and during that period, she suffered a lot due to the pressure she was under.
Apparently, there was at the same time another athlete detected with the same very small quantity of banned substance, so she was not the only one having that issue. To top it all, the substance found in her body was contaminated, due to the very small amount found.
Just before all that ordeal, Nada was working very hard to improve her game, changing a lot in her squash. She is always trying hard to improve herself. I don’t think she doesn’t believe in herself, but I feel that she is feeling on her own, not getting much support from anyone, she is doing everything by herself.
So she has a lot of ups and downs when she plays, a lot of struggles, but she is doing the best she can always, trying to improve. And she is improving. It’s maybe taking time, but she is on the right path.
“She’s obviously been through a lot to be here today playing again, so I had to be really focused because playing someone who is young and hungry and has something to prove is very dangerous. To come away with a 3-0 win against someone like Nada is a really good result.
“It can be a lonely sport and I think any individual sportsperson would say the same thing. I’ve been on tour for a long time and I’ve acquired some friends along the way. Even if you have one person in the crowd on your side, especially when you’re playing someone at home, it can be a real game changer, so it was nice to have those guys supporting me today.
“I’m very happy with today. January wasn’t quite as successful for me as I would like and I had to go back and put some work in.”