SF: ‘Sometimes, it’s OK to be outplayed, you weather the storm’

[2] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 2-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)  5-11, 11-6, 11-3 (30m)

Guys, I beg of you, stop calling El Tayeb the Black Widow. She doesn’t like it, Ali doesn’t like it, nobody in her family likes it. I proposed Catwoman, which they like…
Apart from that.

First game, like El Tayeb said at the end of the match, she didn’t do much wrong, except maybe not getting the ball at the back enough. But she was getting hammered on there, 7/1 down, 8/2, 10/3. Sherbini was fluid, relaxed, quick: 11/5 in 8m, and basically, only one very hard rally at 10/5.

The second, El Tayeb came back a different player. Instead of waiting at the back and being passive, she stepped up the court, her shots stopped going in the middle, and she started dictating pace and angles. 4/1 El Tayeb, who led the whole way, 10/5, 11/6 in 10m.

The third was the mirror of the first really, 9m, with El Tayeb in complete control, and Sherbini lost at sea: 6 unforced errors, plus 3 strokes given away: El Tayeb only needed to score 2 points. Which she gadly did.

From nearly not qualifying for the semis to find herself in the final: maybe the Angels of Squash have smiled at CatWoman…

“We hear the commentary before the match. And throughout the 10 minutes before the match, I could hear how Nour El Sherbini is the favourite, how she’s unbeatable this tournament, which actually made me relax a bit and I was thinking it might put her under a little bit of pressure.

It didn’t show in the first game though as she was killing me! One thing I’ve learned from Ali and my coach, Hossam, is that you are ok to be outplayed by some players.

“I didn’t do much wrong, I just couldn’t read her, she was playing around with me and I just told myself that I wanted to hang in there and try to play as well as I can and make it a bit physical. I’m glad she changed the ball from the warm-up because it was very dead and I was thanking my lucky stars that she did.

I’m very happy with my performance, my family is here and my sister is watching me every day. I’ve never made it to any final in Egypt before, I never really play well here. And especially after yesterday, I went back to the hotel and ordered junk food because I thought I was out and then I watched Amanda and she did it.

“I’m very lucky and I’m grateful.”