R1: Paul never showed up, Marwan clinical

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-0 [3] Paul Coll (NZL) 11-6, 11-5 (43m)

A bit of a strange match, with Paul seeming to revert to his game of two years’ back, when he was only retrieving and not attacking at  all.

Maybe it was the style of game that Marwan played tonight that had that effect? I’m not technical enough to determine it. One thing is sure: the “New Marwan” is on fire.

Why new Marwan you might ask? Because Marwan left the UK, and is now based in Egypt, and will even change his base as he’ll be in Cairo and not in his beloved Alexandria.

Working full time with Haitham Effat – coach to Hania as well, needless to say his blood pressure might have been high tonight, bless him, I feel that Marwan has finally taken the stepts to reach the top of the rankings….

It’s not like Paul made a lot of errors, one in the first game, so why was he so conservative? His drop shots were very high, and it seemed from where I sat that he was returning the shots really, not actually having a true incidence on the match.

Marwan, as clever as usual, managed to get under his opponent skin, took him to the throat, and never let go. Although the rallies were very long – 25m just for the first one – I never felt that Marwan was going to lose that encounter. Especially in the BO3 format.

“Every match you play in this event is really hard.

“I played Paul in the semi-finals of the World Championship last November, so I knew it was going to be a tough match. The conditions were really tough, it was really bouncy which could suit both of us but maybe I dealt with it a little bit better than him today.

“But I’m really happy overall with the way I played. There are maybe a couple of things I need to improve but I’m really looking forward to my match tomorrow. You can always get better, maybe I was a little bit edgy at the beginning of the first game.

“I’ll watch the match and I’ll decide what was wrong, but overall I would say I’m happy because I won in two games which hopefully will help me in the next match.”