R2:  Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-0 Mariam Metwally (Egy) 11-2, 12-10, 11-6 (30m)
A solid enough start from England’s Sarah-Jane Perry as she starts her bid for back-to-back CIB Black Ball titles.
I know that Mariam was very disappointed as she disappeared in the haze of New Cairo before I had a chance to catch up with her. But she shouldn’t be.
After a “traversée du désert » of several years, she is now able to compete with the best, and if she is not yet 100%, she is getting there, and her squash skills are intact…
Sarah Jane walked through the first game, 11-2 in 5m, but Mariam put her under a heck of a lot of pressure then, going 6-0 up in the second and then leading 9-7, and at 9-all, it was all possible for the Alexandria girl.
But SJ found some lovely shots, pushed Mariam to visit the court a few times, and the English lady closes the crucial second, 12/10 on her second attempt.
All credit to Mariam, she didn’t fold, kept working very hard, up 4/2, but physically was just a bit short today, the Gladiator taking the third in 9m, 11/6.
🗣 "I've won a couple of other tournaments after winning them the previous year, so I'm taking that into this one too!"@SJPerry15 kicked off her @BlackBallSquash title defence earlier today and spoke to @SquashTV afterwards 🎥j pic.twitter.com/P64NAdr5QA
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 13, 2021
SJ: “Obviously I started rather well, but I know she is dangerous, particularly in the middle. She showed that at the start of the second so I was pleased to get back in there and win that. I wasn’t thinking about getting back to win the game, I was just thinking about getting back to playing and controlling the match. When it got close, I then thought about it. I was reasonably solid in the third as well so I was happy to close it out.
“I have won a couple of other tournament after winning them the previous year and I am taking that for this one as well because its different calendar years, even though it is literally the next tournament, so it is a bit different. Obviously everything is different with the COVID rules and that but the PSA have done a great job so I am just trying to tick all the boxes with my preparation and then see what I can do on court.
“As the commentators have kindly been pointing out for the last eight years, the mental side of my game is where I have definitely made improvements, but they needed to be made and there is still plenty more to make. I am trying to let my racket work do the talking and not my mouth, for once.”