It was far from a straightforward day at the office for Welsh World No.12 Joel Makin as he overcame Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini in a testing four-game encounter to reach the third round of the PSA Men’s World Championship for the second time in his career.
Makin has had a strong start to the season after reaching the final of the Open de France, while he reached a first PSA Platinum semi-final at the Egyptian Open last week, but he was never comfortable on court against his opponent today as ElSherbini played some fabulous squash.
It took the World No.51 a while to get going as a number of unforced errors handed the opening game to Makin for the loss of three points, but he came into his own in the second as he held the ball well and caught Makin out with a number of deceptive shots.
He took the second game 11-6 and there was very little between the two in the third as some thrilling rallies played out at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex. Makin edged it 11-9 and overturned two game balls in the fourth to complete the win, but it was a controversial end to the match.
A no let decision was given against ElSherbini on match ball after a Makin volley drop and the young Egyptian held his hand up to ask for a video review. This was missed by the referee and, after ElSherbini had shaken hands with Makin he asked once more for a review, but was told by the referee that he had taken too long after the end of the match to ask.
ElSherbini cut a frustrated figure as he walked off court, and despite remonstrating with the referee, the decision was not overturned, meaning Makin moves through to the last 16, where he will play World No.6 Simon Rösner.
“I thought I started pretty well and then I struggled to adjust when the ball softened up,” Makin said.
“I was a little bit slow and he was firing into the front, he was lower ranked coming into the match and he was going for it. He didn’t have any fear of missing, and he attacked well. It was very stop-start and that’s the way he plays.
“There were far too many interactions with the referee, and it didn’t suit good, consistent squash. It was a weird situation at the end, but it was a clear no let, and asking for a review way after it was a bit strange. I’m not sure what happened, but I was just happy to get off at that stage.
“We [Makin & Rösner] haven’t played for a while, it’s maybe 18 months or so since we last played. He’s obviously been as high as No.3 in the world, he played Dec today and he is a solid performer. It was obviously a quality match and we’ve both got a day to recover now. I think we’ll both be fine.
“I want to beat the higher ranked players and get as far into the draw as I can. I feel good physically and we’ve got plenty of rest days, so I don’t see any reason why I can’t get through plenty of matches. I can beat plenty of the guys on my half of the draw, so I’m feeling good even though that wasn’t the best performance today.”
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 14-12 (74m)