A brand new location this year at the Soho Square in Sharm El Sheikh and it was one of the most luxurious venues to stage the World Open. Everyone stayed at the Savoy Hotel, a beach resort with great facilities for a proper holiday getaway. I can speak for most of the squash players that we certainly made the most of the pool, beach and food available to us!
The glass court and now two brand new permanent squash courts built specially for this event was a 5-minute walk from the hotel. During the day, we were practicing outdoors on the glass court and I was getting a slight tan while my sunglasses helped with my focus on the ball. Both Liz and I seem fine with a little extra colour from the sun throughout the week.
Round 1 with Farah
Farah Abdel Meguid from Egypt qualified after beating Amanda Sobhy so I knew this would be an interesting first round for me. This is probably her first time in the main draw of a World Open and I think she took some time to get into her game. I got good control throughout the match to win in 3 games but she showed some quality shots—as most Egyptians are known for making.
Round 2 with Raneem
Another Egyptian and this time Raneem El Weleily is up for a challenge. It was high tempo right through and I could not afford to let up an inch. I played a some tight drives down the wall and got very steady with my selection of shots. She took the ball early and made me work hard for each point but she also made a few errors that cost her the lead at times. This lead kept me going til I won the match 3-0.
Quarter finals with Wee Wern
Playing Low Wee Wern is certainly an experience especially when we’re the only other nation apart from England that has 2 players from the same country in the quarter finals. It’s also tough to play a fellow team mate but both of us went in and played a good match. I had 2 days on the glass court already and that gave me an advantage. She had to get going somehow but I wanted to keep the intensity up to eventually win it 3-0.
Semi finals with Alison
Alison Waters has had a string of matches with me recently and each one of them have always been a battle. This certainly was another one of those matches. The first game was high paced with both keeping each other out of an attacking position. We knew the next person would take it if there was a chance. I took the first game being game ball down and had a roll through the second game. It was very humid that day compared to the previous days and both of us were feeling the heat by the end of the match. A tough one to win but glad I managed it in 3 games.
Finals with Omneya
Meeting Omneya Abdel Kawy in the finals of the World Open is like going back in time when we both played in Penang for the World Junior Open title in 2001. The hype now turned around and I was in her home country instead. The atmosphere definitely filled the air and both of us were firing from the start of the match. I felt really good and focused, which got me the lead and the first game win. In the second game, Omneya just played some amazing winners in a row to take the lead. I then began to force the intensity back at her and she made a few mistakes that got me back up on the score board. In the third game, there were more errors from her while I stayed solid with my game. At match ball, I could feel her relaxing, taking every opportunity to go for a winning shot. Still determined to stay in with her, I stopped her from getting more points and won the match and the title.
It didn’t feel real when she shook my hand and we both walked out of the court together, that it was finally over. The hard work put in and everything that went in with it has paid off and I couldn’t believe that I won. Only now as I’m writing this, it’s slowly starting to sink in a bit but it’s truly the best feeling ever! I was especially glad that my parents could see me win this title here too.
I’m happy with my performance and focus last week. Just excited to bring this forward onto Delhi. Look out for the Malaysian team at the Commonwealth Games next week!
See you in Delhi!