[WC] Benjamin Aubert (FRA) 2-1 Raphael Kandra (GER) 10-12, 13-11, 12-10 (59m)
Lisa Aitken (SCO) 2-0 Farida Mohamed (EGY) 11-5, 11-8 (20m)
I’m sure that Rafi was looking forward to playing a French WC on a bouncy court, after a week spent in Bucarest playing the European Individuals, taking the title 3 days ago against Borja Golan, 12/10 in the 5th!… Not.
It was a great match, very few contacts considering the court conditions and a great squash display from both. A slow start from Benji in the first, 6/0, but only bowing 12/10 in the opener. It gave him confidence and put him back in the game he told me at the end.
Turning point I feel in the 2nd, where, despite three match balls, it’s the Frenchman that takes the second and levels 1/1. The third is nailbitting for both camps, nothing between the players until 6/6, Benji looking good at 6/4 up, only to see the German string 4 points, 8/6, 9/7.
I feel that the legs became a bit too heavy for the German, paying for his big squash week, while Benji, hungry as hell, managed to squeeze his second match ball on, playing I have to say some gutsy and powerful squash, finishing with a nick that rolled off the floor.
It’s a great feeling when your summer training pay off especially as it’s the first time ever I manage to finish it without getting injured – I have been suffering from some knee chronic injuries since I was a junior.
The last two weeks, I was playing some decent squash, everybody was telling me so, but I was still missing that “reference victory”, which happened today. Not sure if it will give me that confidence for the rest of the season, but it’s a great feeling…
At the start I was just petrified with pressure. Couldn’t see the ball leaving his racquet, and was finding it difficult to read his lefthander shots. But I managed to come back, and lost only a close game, that put me back in the game I have to say.
The next two will be a bit lucky at times I feel, it was maybe down to the one that wanted it more, I was aware he was coming back from Bucarest and the individuals. And also, I was so honoured to have been awarded that wild card, I wanted to make them proud, and I hope I managed to do just that.
It was important to get a good start and to come firing out of the blocks. I watched her play in the World Juniors, did my homework and worked out what needed to be done.
The first two tournaments are best-of-three so I made sure that I got some match practice in because it is important to get a good start. I also tried to implement more solo practice over the summer.”