Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Adrian Waller (Eng) 13-11, 11-9, 11-9 (48m)
Waller too fast to handle? …
Oh. My. Lord. Whatever Adrian is on, I want some!!! Is it the “Nick Matthew Touch” that made the difference? God knows that the Wolf has played – and defeated – Mohamed enough to know how to put him under pressure.
Adrian is one of those players you always think as very young, as somehow, I would have expected him to be higher ranked, with the immense potential he possesses. And tonight again, he proved how good he can be. Because believe me, Mohamed was a bit like a duck that found suspenders: didn’t know what to do with him!!!
In the first game, Adrian’s no-game-plan-let’s-improve-every-shot squash forced Mohamed to play at the pace he used to play when he arrived on the PSA top scene. It was impressive and mesmerising to watch how Adrian’s shots seems to just appear out of nowhere, and to see his huge spam preventing Mohamed’s shots to get to the back and finishing in Adrian’s volleying racquet!
A couple of errors in the middle of the opener allowed Mohamed to come back to 8/8. 9/9. Good, excellent pressure from the English, who won’t be able to transform his game ball chance though. And it’s Mohamed, but only just, on his second attempt, 13/11 in 21m.
Thing is, you just have to listen carefully when watching a Mohamed’s match. Listen to Basma – his mum – encouragement. When she feels her curb in danger, you hear a “Yalla moHAMED”. And that’s exactly what she did tonight in the second when Mohamed was led 3/7. As if he was suddenly plugged in a power plug, Mohamed took the next 5 points. I kid you not.
and again, at 8/8. Crucial time. Basma voice, soft and yet so present. Worked on Adrian’s as well, as the poor mite actually served out… Bless him. And from 8/9 down, with a confirmed stroke, it’s 11/9 for Mohamed in 12m.
You would think that the Englishman would put his head down in the third, but none of that! He “retourna au combat” went back to the battle, and again, playing at his mad unpredictable pace, even leading 8/5, 9/8…. Were we going to have a 4th?
Basma’s magic shout and zoom, 3 points in a row, 11/9, with stunning ridiculous squash to finish, 11m last game. A great finish to a long day people..
I have never seen Adrian play with such a fast pace before. After the first game, he played with such a high pace and he has never done that against me before. I told myself after the first game that he would not be able to do it all match.
He started doing it in both the second and third games, so it completely interrupted my rhythm and every time I was trying to think of what to do but nothing was working. That was because he was rushing me all the time and I could not find my accuracy. That is what the top players do, when they need to get out of trouble.
You can tell yourself there is no pressure, but the only solution is to try and deal with it. After all these years on tour, I cannot fail because of pressure because it is not acceptable. If I do lose, then it is because my opponent was better than me. From experience, you have to know how to deal with the pressure.
It is only the second round and there is still along way to go for this event. The World Champion is not always the best player in the world. There is usually a surprise in this tournament. I will give it my best shot and see how it goes this week.