2021 Platinum Reports REPORTS

R2: Nadine comes through all-Egyptian thriller

R2: Nadine Shahin (Egy) 3-2 Yathreb Adel (Egy) 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 15-13 (59m)

Tense atmosphere on court between completely different styles of squash and personality. Yathreb, tall and laid back, got married a few months ago, and actually, last time they played was back in October in the Egyptian Open, as Yathreb just came back from her honeymoon, victory went to Nadine. Nadine, short and very muscular, very intense at all time, fist going from first rally on…

So, Nadine knew she could do it (H2H 2/1), and it showed.

I wouldn’t say they were exactly friendly on court… Intense would be the word to describe the encounter. With Yathreb making her normal number of unforced errors, but not getting that bothered about it apparently, although I’m sure she was boiling inside, and Nadine, fighting, running, for every single shot, and showing to her opponent how much she wanted it, and that she was going forking difficult to beat today.

First two games, one-sided is the only way to describe it, 8m first game, going to Nadine, no error from her, then Yathreb’s turn, 5m, 11/5.

The next game we have a match on our hands, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 6/6, 7/7 Nadine edging up with short rallies, 11/8, 10m game, one error each. Good game. Fourth, anything you can do… Same length, 10m, same score, 11/8, with Yathreb finding her exquisite attacking shots from 8/8…

Yathreb will kick herself all night long for not closing the fifth game. Saying she was comfortably winning the decider is a euphemism: 5/1, 8/2. It should have been enough. But like I said, today Nadine had decided to be hard to beat. She hung in there, somehow coming back to level at 9/9. Followed an balance act of brilliance, errors, strokes, from both girls, but the match balls were only in Nadine’s racquet, and she managed to FINALLY take the match capitalising on the 5th one.

Never in doubt.

Nadine: “It felt good. I feel good on this court. Maybe, used to it a bit more than her, as she didn’t play the last Black Ball, so I think I had that in my favour a bit, but she adapted really quickly.

“I wanted to keep going in the second, but she had a Plan B. She surprised me In that second game and then the third game was so tight! Fourth game did not go my way and I really thought I would lose in the fifth.

“She had a big lead, 8-3 or something. I let go of the pressure, and I said to myself, ‘Just go out and play, this is not the last tournament. We have a lot more, thank God!

“I moved everything from my mind and I stuck to my plan, and it worked. This is the mental toughness I am talking about. I have been working on it for a couple of months because I need it so bad. It has been a while since I played a tough five-setter. I have always played short matches so I am pleased with my performance.”