Amanda Sobhy (USA) 2-0 Haley Mendez (USA) 11-3, 11-2 (13m)
 Zahed Salem (EGY) 2-1 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 9-11, 11-9, 11-5 (41m)
“He’s a young Shabana” smiled Zahed at the end of the match… And methinks, when Youssef is finally fit, the world will tremble… Jzzz that boy is gifted, just moving well and finding lovely winners…
Tactically, Youssef – who by the way thinks I’m German I kid you not – played beautifully. He played at a very fast pace and took the time off the ball for his opponent. Zahed, out of his comfort zone, lost the first game.
But soon in the second, he just slowed the pace down, made the rallies longer, and boom, Bob is your uncle. Youssef, getting a bit tired, went for a bit too much too soon to try and shorten the rallies, Zahed kept pushing and if the second is anybody’s at 9/9, the 3rd is a formality, 11/5…
He is a young Shabana! It’s always hard for us to play young Egyptians, because we train together, and we know each other’s game.
First tournament of the new season, first BO3! It’s so different, and after losing the first game, you are in great danger of losing the match!
He played very well in the first game, fast pace, but I managed to slower the pace down from the second on, and made sure I kept him away from the middle, by straightening all my shots. I mixed them a bit of course, but still, tried to keep it as straight as possible.
I’m so proud today to win, because I had so much trouble to come here, my visa was refused, I finally got to the Embassy, waited four hours, and managed to clinch a visa ! I’m so happy, only arrived last night, so very happy to have a day off tomorrow before playing James…
The first match of the season is always seeing where you stand and what it is like to play a match again. Fortunately I got to play a bunch of matches in July at the Pan-American Games so I feel like my season started a long time ago.
It teaches you to play under pressure, because going in there [to Peru], the expectation was to win three Gold medals again and it would be a major shock if I didn’t.
It was a good confidence booster, and we could not have done any better as a team, but it was brutal! I am excited to play in a different venue. I have heard great things about this tournament so to be able to play in it this year is huge. And this just adds to the list of iconic venues we play in, now we are playing inside a chateau!