SF: Mammoth encounter between two Talents

[5] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 2-1 [8] Joelle King (NZL)  18-20, 11-8, 11-2 (56m)

Jzzzzzz… what a semi that was. It was a beautiful two first games, with the third where Hania finally cashed on the work she had put in Joelle’s legs – and hers!!!!

What do you say from the first game… 30m… 4 game balls for Hania – 2 at 10/8, 6 for Joelle that takes it 20/18, as you do. I had personally never saw Joelle playing that well, that cleverly, that accurately. She attacked at the front, she attacked at the back, her lob defence were stunningly accurate, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her retrieving abilities, nor with her counterdropping.

In front, Hania, both boosted by the fact she is playing home but at the same time, with all the pressure in the world, produced a performance as good as the one she did against Camille during the season. And if she lost that first game, she never showed any sign of being affected by it, neither mentally nor physically.

She came back in the 2nd, and hold her place, putting Joelle under a lot of physical pressure, 5/2, 6/3. Joelle, full of confidence, and without making errors, clawed back to 6/6, 7/7. But finally, errors started to creep in, 3 tins in 6 points, Hania says thank you and equalises, 11/8 in 16 minutes.

I knew that Joelle’s brain was disconnected when she asked a review at 1/1, then, got the ball out of court in the next rally. Hania did her job, hammered it 7/1, 11/2 in 8m. For her first time in the event, Hania El Hammamy is in the final.

“Joelle is in good form.

“Until the last point, the match was so tough and hard. The first game was crucial and I didn’t want to let her win the game easily, I kept digging in and I kept fighting for each point. If she was going to win then I wanted her to be suffering. I couldn’t find my length in the first game and at the end of the match, I’m happy with my performance.

“Joelle is so tough, especially on the volley – if you give her a volley then she hits a winner, so I didn’t want to do that. I’m glad I managed to avoid those.

“I played Nour [El Tayeb] yesterday in a tough best of three and tomorrow is best of five. We play at the same club, train together and I really respect her, she is like a big sister and I hope tomorrow will be a good match.”