The opening day of the 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open saw action take place on the side courts. Here is the best of the reaction from the players that featured on the traditional plaster courts on day one.
Side Court Schedule: Day 1
11:00 – Cindy Merlo (SUI) v Emily Whitlock (WAL)
11:45 – Jasmine Hutton (ENG) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
13:15 – Mariam Metwally (EGY) v Ineta Mackevica (LAT)
14:00 – Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v Sivasangari Subramanium (MAS)
17:30 – Hollie Naughton (CAN) v Tessa ter Sluis (NED)
18:15 – Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Anna Serme (CZE)
19:15 – Enora Villard (FRA) v Farida Mohamed (EGY)
20:00 – Nicole Bunyan (CAN) v Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
Whitlock Downs Merlo In Four
Welshwoman Emily Whitlock got the better of Switzerland’s Cindy Merlo in the first match of the day, and she knows she has more to come.
“I felt very fresh in the first game, but in the second, I served out, and that seemed to change the momentum, she played a few nice shots, and was able to express herself more on court,” Whitlock said.
“But I didn’t panic after losing the second, I came out strong in the third, and it was more comfortable after that. Cindy was suffering from the court conditions, she was slipping and I felt for her as it’s how I got injured slipping on a sandy court.
“But today for some reason, I didn’t feel too bad on there, the court was ok, much better than it was two days ago, where is was barely playable. Normally I’m the one getting really worried with slippery conditions.”
Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-1: 11-2, 12-14, 11-3, 11-6 (36m)
Letourneau Cruises Into Round 2
Canadian No.2 Danielle Letourneau made her way through to the last 32 of the Platinum level event in Cairo after a confident performance against England’s Jasmine Hutton.
Danielle Letourneau (fore) in action against Jasmine Hutton (back)
“I had a pretty nervous start in both the first and second game. I know that she is an up and coming player, I have a lot of respect for her, and that if she’s got time on the ball, she is very dangerous.,” Letourneau explained.
“But I told myself that I had done the work, that I could do the job, that I was playing well at the moment, and I managed to settle down.
“I had a strong start in the third, hitting my targets, and I think at that point she just relaxed, had nothing to lose and played some amazing shots. And when you are trying to close the match down, you sometimes go for shots that are just not there and rush things a bit.”
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (28m)
Metwally Mauls Mackevica
After suffering with injuries for the last few seasons, Egypt’s Mariam Metwally believes she is getting back to her best, and to full fitness.
Mariam Metwally on court in Cairo
She is into the second round of the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, after a victory over Latvian No.1 Ineta Mackevica on the opening day.
“Physically, I feel fine. I have worked hard on my fitness since Black Ball, where I was not physically strong enough, recovering from my left knee surgery. But now, I feel that I’m strong, and I can trust my body to go for a five-setter if needed, which was not the case for three years. I never knew how my body would react, and my squash game suffered,” she admitted.
“I had a lot of people coming to me before my surgery and telling me there was nothing wrong with my squash skills, but that I needed to be fitter. And I’m happy that I’m finally back to my best form.
“I keep remembering the juniors years, I used to battle in the finals against Nour El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar, who are now World No.1 and No.2. I feel I’m not too far off. I’m still there, and I just need to give it a big push, and hopefully, aim for the top twenty.”
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6,11-7 (23m)
Subramanium Wins First Match In Over Twelve Months
Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramanium was the last player to make it through from the side court matches in the early session on day one, as she got the better of South African No.1 Alexandra Fuller, in what was her first match on the PSA World Tour for over twelve months.
The youngster didn’t start brightly, but she was able to fight her way back into the match before taking the victory, something she puts down to a new coach, former World Champion David Palmer.
Sivasangari Subramanium in action in Cairo
“I haven’t played for so long! And I was very, very nervous to start with, I was down 8-3 in the first game, and I knew how quick and how good a player she is. I managed to calm myself down, and played each point, one at a time,” the Malaysian explained.
“The fact that she was struggling with the court conditions was helping me, and if I was frustrated as well, I managed not to show it cause I didn’t want her to feed off it.
“I am so happy to be training with David Palmer, we have a good connection, and everybody there makes me feel very special, and I really appreciate it.”
Sivasangari Subramanium (MAS) bt Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 3-1: 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 (40m)