R3: Jana so close, TinkerBell in the end…

[8] Rowan Elaraby (Egy) 3-1 [wc] Jana Shiha (Egy) 13-11, 16-14, 5-11, 11-9 (61m)

‘Le match des occasions perdues’ – the ‘wasted opportunities match’ for Jana. Up 10/8 in the 1st, and 10/5 in the second, she couldn’t close either game. That makes 9 game balls overall wasted (3 in the opener, 6 in the second).

What happened you might ask? You might. I feel that Jana has the fear of winning. the “Oh God Oh God Oh God, I’m wining, this is the first time I’m wining against her, I might be in my first Platinium quarters”… and the game plan suddenly flies out of the window…

My brain just stopped, Jana confessed after the match. Well now she is blond like me, it might happen more often… Kidding.

Basically, Jana has got a strong basic game, very simple, deep crosscourts and fast low drive that on that court work to perfection…. until she hears the word “Game ball”, and then she goes for junior shots, which don’t work, opening the court for her opponent, only too happy to oblige.

Out of frustrating, she got the third in 6m, 11/5 and up 6/3 – surprise surprise – she lost 5 points in a row  to 6/8. Again, lost her length, while Rowan, more used to crucial points and more experienced at that level, just played the perfect calm and accurate game… 8/8, 9/8 Jana, but a stroke and two winners from Tinkerball, who sealed her victory by a scream that was heard in the 6th October! Relieved Rowan? Oh yes.


I don’t know….

In the first game, I was up 10/8, I just couldn’t end the game properly, I don’t know why, I lost focus for a second. The second, I was 10/5 up, and my body seemed to stop working, and when I opened my brain, she was up 11/10!

Then I hit her, so it took a long time of a break, I was not happy because I was getting cold, and I eventually lost that game. But I was so fired up I didn’t even rest between the second and third, I won 11/5 I think, I was controlling the pace in that game I thought.

And even in the 4th, I was playing well until I was 8/6 up, then she took the lead 9/8, and then AGAIN, I couldn’t end the game.

I’m frustrated because I felt I controlled more than half the match, I had my shots, I was fired up, but I couldn’t finish any single game…

“The physio told me it was okay and that it was going to be fine so I tried to come back on court and fire myself up. But once I got it, I was so nervous because I had had stitches in the same place before, hit by a racket as well. I was just concerned in case there was something in the stitches.

“This one was a tricky one because I have always played Jana in juniors. I never played on the PSA Tour, but I was nervous. I am happy I am through!

“Actually, I was nervous because she is the wildcard, she had nothing to lose. She was just trying to play her best. She is an amazing player, she is really good and any chance she gets, she will throw the ball away from you. I am happy to be through in four.

“I think I wasn’t really thinking today, I wasn’t fully there. The crosscourt was not the best today but I insisted on playing it every time. I had to think of other solutions but I didn’t. I think I need to speak with my coach, and work out what I did wrong, and to not do that tomorrow!”