Mariam Metwally 3-1 Zeina Mickawy / Kenzy Ayman 3-2  Salma Eltayeb

Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-1 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (45m)

Next opponent: Nour El Tayeb or Tomato Ho

We had two derbies today to start the second day: the Alexandria Derby, with Mariam and Zeina, and on the other court, the Cairo Derby, with Kenzy and Salma ET.

Both were very disputed, and both refereed by Egyptian refs – the no coaching rule being easier I guess if you actually understand what is said by coaches and parents!

Mariam body is now fully fit it seems. She is lean, she moves extremely well, and have her racquet skills as sharp as ever. If she had a few drops of energy during the match, she looked the more solid of the two today. Zeina, moving well as well, made a few too many errors at crucial points, allowing Mariam to settle in the game and being confident about her squash.

Mariam : “Zeina is a good friend of mine, so it’s always tough to play a good friend on court. We played at ToC and it was 3-0 and I guess the pressure was more on me. I just want to do the best I can in the Worlds because in the last two I lost in the first round and today I really wanted to change that. In the first game I played really well but in the second I felt a bit relaxed, so in the third I came back on court and started to stick to my game plan as much as I can and it worked well. Today I was trying to stay mentally tough and I’m glad it worked.

“There’s a lot of respect between us on and off court. It was very close today and everyone wants to win when they’re on court and today we were both good on court.

“When it was match ball she started to play drop shots from everywhere and I felt she had no pressure so she started to play everywhere. I felt the pressure but I tried to keep pushing and I’m glad I did that.”

Kenzy Ayman (EGY) 3-2  Salma Eltayeb (EGY) 12-10, 6-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8 (42m)

Next opponent: Sabrina Sobhy

Great battle today, well kept under control by Nasser Zaman, nice to see him back to the referee seat! As I mentioned, this was a Cairo derby, with both girls bein 20 and close in the WR! If I had some reservations about Kenzy’s movement about 3 years ago, she has made superb changes to her technique and movement to and off the ball. Her improvement is remarquable. I’m also very impressed by Salma, who plays a great and fun squash to watch, very far as well.

Nothing between the two the whole match to be honest and maybe just a bit of fitness difference at the end, Kenzy having found her second wind at the perfect time, the end of the 5th!

Kenzy : “I’m really happy to win today. Salma is a really tough opponent, we played a lot at the juniors and we have a lot of history together. She knows me and I know her. It was really hard and tough, I won 3-2 and it was a close match. I’m really happy with my performance and I’m really excited to play the second round at the World Championships.

“I just focused point by point and didn’t focus on it being a big tournament. I relaxed because if I thought about winning I would get confused and lose every point easy.”