Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 2-0  Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 11-7, 11-9 (30m)
I remember Hania’s words when she lost 11/9 in the final of Black Ball in December from 2/0 up. “I learned my lesson”. And I guess she did.
After winning the first game – a slow start from the English Gladiator – 8/3, 9/4, 11/7 in 12m, Hania didn’t relaxed for a second.
And “bien lui en a pris”, she was so right not to. Up 7/4, 8/5, the Gazelle couldn’t contain her opponent’s relentless attacks and found back in level terms, 8/8, 9/9.
A stroke confirmed by the video ref offered the Egyptian a match ball, and a tin from the English girl gave Hania the match, it was a long second game though, 17m, 11/9…
Hania : “I am definitely really happy with the performance tonight. I was a little bit nervous before the match. The first pool match, I have to be sharp from the beginning and it’s best-of-three. It is never easy against SJ, she is a very tricky player and she likes to play some tricky stuff. I am really pleased and happy with tonight,” the Egyptian said.
“This tournament, I try as much as I can not to think about being defending champion, because last time, when I thought about it, it gave me a little bit of extra pressure on myself. I tried, this time, to just focus on the game and I am glad that it worked.”
Sarah-Jane: Well, you say I’m starting slow every time this season Fram! At midnight, I might be a bit slow yes!
I wasn’t far off, I just didn’t put my shots in, that’s all. There wasn’t much in it. She just scrapped a few balls back, that what she does.
It’s hard because you practice on a completely different court, the conditions are completely different, it’s the difficulty of playing somewhere like this. The ball was so much deader than the one I practiced with, as well as being much cooler.
I didn’t play badly, I didn’t take the opportunities when I needed to. I played perfect rally in rally one, so you say I’m starting slowly…. A beautiful forehand volley drop, perfect, and then didn’t play another one in the first game!!
I should have played a volley drop on the last shot and that’s 10/10, and you are back in. Instead, I slashed at the bottom of the tin.