R3: “Not at ease on the Glass”, she said…

Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-1 [7] Salma Hany (EGY)  11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7 (46m)

What a player that Gina is. She looks a bit clumsy with her movement the first time you watch her play, very unorthodox squash, skills, a bit like the Grinham sisters, atypical really.

Before anything else, let me tell you how impressed I was with Salma’s fitness. She has improved incredibly. She used to be on the ball for a game, a game and a half under pressure. But today, she kept running, and attacking, and moving extremely well. That needs to be said.

Actually, Salma was up in the opener, 3/0, 6/3, before a string of points from the English, 6 points, taking us to 9/6, 10/7. Several intense rallies, both players being move to the four corners, but it’s eventually Gina 11/9 in 10m.

The second is very close indeed, 3/3, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, but this time, it’s Salma’s turn to caracole ahead, 10/8, 11/9 in 13m.

Change of momentum again in the 3rd, Gina ahead from the start, 5/2, 7/4, 9/6. At that point, a huge push from Salma, the English is running for England, Wales and Scotland – not to mention Ireland – but the Egyptian shots are incredibly accurate, long drop shots, volley drops, quality superb really. At 9/9, the crowd is supporting her girl as it should but Gina finds a winner and an ace to close the game, 11/9 in 11m.

Like I mentioned at the start, Salma didn’t fold. She kept the hope alive and it looked like we were going for a decider, 1/1, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5. From that point, Salma might have slowed down ever so slightly, while Gina kept pushing her around, but at 7/8, it was still very much in the air.  Not to be for the Egyptian today though, as the most improved player of the Tour takes the game and match, 11/7 in the shortest game of the match, 7m.

Gina : “I’ve never played Salma before, so I was excited to play someone new,” said Kennedy.

“Often you play the same people at every tournament. She’s so skilful and I was just trying to find my length out there and take it in when I had the opportunity. She was outplaying me using her lob and stepping in for the volley.

“I had to try and dig in there, and I’m really happy with the result and I’m really excited to be in the quarters again.

“I think I’m lucky because it [speed] has always come naturally to me. I do a lot of fitness work, a lot of conditioning, and I had to be so explosive today because Salma’s shots are perfect. For all the juniors out there, you can work on the conditioning and it will come, but it does take a lot of graft.

“I’m really excited to play Nour again. Last time we played on this court it was such a good experience. She’s an idol to so many people, but I’m going to get stuck in and I’m going out there to win tomorrow.

“I don’t want to just make the quarter finals and be happy with that, I want to push as far as I can. I’m going to give it my all and take it to her.”

Psss, Gina, you did play Salma a few years ago… (thanks SquashInfo)