The World Open! This time it was held in my second home, Amsterdam. My parents, squash buddies and friends from the city came by to support me throughout the tournament. It was very comforting to know that they were around for this important event.
Below is a short summary of my matches—I hope you enjoy them.
My first round match was with a Dutch player, Orla Noom. She’s left handed and I had to readjust tactics to work with her style of play. When I won in 3 games, I was just relieved that I went through the first round.
During the second round against Camille Serme from France, I was more comfortable on the glass court. I stepped into this match completely focused and everything was going according to plan that I didn’t even realize I could come out winning the match with a 11-0 finish in the third game. That was the best I’ve ever felt in a long time.
The quarters with Jenny Duncalf was intense from the start of the first point. High tempo rallies and she kept onto the pace in the first 2 and a half games. At 1 game each and 6-1 into the third game, I knew that I had to stop giving her any room to take the lead further. I was determined to not lose a point. I won that game 11-6 and used that momentum to take me right through to win the match 3-1.
Playing Alison Waters in the semis was definitely something to remember and the crowd was well on the edge of their seats. Alison came out firing in the first game and then I came back strong to take the second. Alison had 4 game balls in the third and lost it by making two unforced errors that gave me a 2-1 lead. The third set was crucial and I think it took a lot out of her. I spurred on further into the fourth game to take the match. She was playing such consistent squash and attacking at every opportunity so I was very thankful to get through to the finals.
So it was another Natalie Grinham finals and in her “backyard”. She was on the ball right away and won the first set with ease at 11-3. The second was close up till 5-5 when I made a conscious effort to step it up a notch. I got away with a roll of points and carried it forward into the third set as well. In the fourth, she took the lead for a bit but after one particularly long rally when I was 8-6 down—I won the point and shouted out loud ‘come on!’. Then I made it clear that I’m not letting this go and brought my game up to another level again, hitting attacking shots at the right moments. At match ball, she hit this slightly higher drop shot that landed in front of her and I was given a stroke. It was match to me and the World Title was in my hands!
The feeling is indescribable the moment you win that last point and even though it has been a few days since, I still can’t believe that I’ve won this for the fourth time. Nothing can compare to this moment right now.
Thank you–everyone, for all your kind support!
Editor: Nicol’s next tournament will be in the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open, from the 12 – 18 October 2009.
Photo credit: Vincent van den Burg