2020 Round 3 REPORTS

R3: SJP manages to get past Nele

[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0 [14] Nele Gilis (BEL)  11-7, 11-5, 12-10 (38m)

Both players were unhappy at the end of the game, Nele because she thought the ball called out of court was good, while SJP thought she saw the ref talking to somebody in the crowd while the match was going on – I cannot comment on that, as I couldn’t see it!!!

Apart from that, a SUPERB match today, with Sarah-Jane’s racquet on fire, while there was nothing wrong with Nele’s retrieval abilities, nor her eye for volleying when the opportunities arose.

Nele really found her game in the 3rd, especially from the middle of the game, as SJ maybe slowed down a bit physically – Nele knows how to make the rallies just a bit longer – and at 7/8, Nele had a good chance to take the game I thought. Some superb intense rallies around that time, a bit unlucky for the Belgium to clip the tin at 8/9…

Still she managed to force a tie-break – funny as yesterday SJ was commenting she was working on NOT having tie-breaks – with a lovely crisp volley drop shot, but Sarah Jane just too strong at the end, a no let and an out of court (or not?) shot sealed the Belgium’s fate…

Length of games: 8, 9, 19 ….

Sarah-Jane Perry

I wanted to make it about skills today, and back myself with skills. Yes, I made a few errors, but I hit a few winners too, so who cares about errors! Yesterday, I made 5 unforced errors and still won the game…

You just have to try and recognise if it’s the wrong shot or if you didn’t execute it well. And then you can try and give yourself something more positive to work on and then you know whether to hit a bit higher or just move your feet a bit quicker.

Today, the court was not as cold, I could feel that the shots were not dying as well. Nele lifted the ball well, I think I did that too, but I didn’t do it as much. But I could see she was going to go to the front early, and sometimes, I managed to see it and got it the other way…

I think to get off 3-0 against Nele is a really good performance. She pushed me in that third game. I thought I had good control in the first two and although I was making a few errors, I didn’t really mind that because in the back of my mind I knew I would do that anyway. I was trying to attack and move the ball around to make the court big, twist and turn her. There were going to be a few errors, so I just needed to make sure there were more winners than errors. I got dragged into her game a bit in the third and upped her level a bit, so I’m pleased to get off in three and get through to another quarter final tomorrow.

We’ve trained a bit together now. I’m based there full time and Nele and Paul come over a bit when they’ve got chance. It’s interesting because I can learn things from her game and she can learn things from my game, but actually we have polar opposite games in a lot of ways. I see it as a positive as she’s really great to train with and very professional. We have played a couple of times this year now since she started working with Rob [Owen] and have played some good matches. Hopefully the ref will actually pay attention in those matches instead of chatting.

I’ve had three main coaches throughout my career. My first coach was Steve Townsend, who is at my home club and he coached me since I was about nine until I was about 25, so for a long time and he had a huge impact on my squash and is the one who taught me to play. He gave me the freedom to express myself on the squash court. I spent a year with Sue Bright, who used to be one of the top players in the world, and that was a big year for me and I learnt a lot of discipline and worked a lot on the psychology side. For the last three years, I’ve been working with Rob Owen in Birmingham, who also coaches Nele, so we train a bit together and he was had an effect on me – so those are the three main coaches throughout my career.

I think I’ve been reasonably consistent so far this year. I’ve not lost to many players ranked outside the top ten, which is testament to the level I’ve been playing. Last few weeks I haven’t been playing as well as I would have liked and been relying a bit on grit along the way, so now I’m trying to work my way into playing how I want to, which is definitely what I was doing today.