QF: Olivia Weaver 3-1 Fayrouz Aboelkheir

[8] Olivia Weaver (USA) 3-1 Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY)  11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 11-3 (40m)

Next Opponent : Nour El Sherbini

Have a thought for coach Rodney Martin, who was coaching Olivia at the Museum while Paul Coll was facing Mohamed ElShorbagy – Rod is also advising Paul in the absence of his main coach, Rob Owen – at Palm Hills. It should have been simple, as they were both supposed to play at the Museum, but as we now know, sh happens…

I feel that the first game is the key of the match.

It was the first time those two played together, ten years separate them. The American was controlling most of the rallies at the start of the opener. 5/2 Olivia. But as she did with Nele, Fayrouz calmly, patiently, I was going to say discreetly as there is no flamboyant shots, no shouts, no discussions, levelled 6/6 then kept the momentum going to 8/6, as in 5 points with two hands.

8/8, 8/9 – Fayrouz making her first error of the match, 9/9. Some lovely rallies, but the American has the sharpness and dictates the rallies, 11/9 in 10m.

10 winners for Olivia, 0 error, didn’t concede a stroke. 9 winners for Fayrouz, no stroke conceded either and only one error. High, very high quality squash.

What stroke me in that second game was how easily Fayrouz seemed to read Olivia’s game, and how she sneaked in two trickle boasts! Also, she was using a bit of all the junior tricks to get some resting time between the points, up to the moment the ref went “Miss Aboelghar, please get the ball in play quicker”, to which Rod and his girlfriend Martine responded by discrete applause.

Close scores up to 7/6, but again, the experience and a good game plan for the American, and it’s 11/6 in another 10m.

Still 10 winners for Olivia, still no errors, and no stroke conceded. Still only one error for Fayrouz, no stroke conceded, and 6 winners.

Out of the blue, the Egyptian seems to get out of a bit of a passive attitude, attacks everything under the sun and steals the show, 9/2, 11/3 in 7m. A blitz of winners from the Egyptian’s racquet, 10, conceding one stroke and still a single error… Olivia finally made her first error at the start of the game, no stroke conceded…

The American turned the tables very quickly, 9/2, 11/3, Fayrouz’ attacks ending all in the tin.

I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of those battles in the coming weeks, months, and years.



Fayrouz : She kept me at the back of the court, and I couldn’t play my shots. The court was a bit bouncy as well, more than the other days. I kept moving and moving but it was not good enough.

In the third, the ball got a bit softer, and was not bouncing as much.

In the fourth, I just couldn’t carry on with the pace, I guess both mental and physical. And she got in the game with so much more aggression, I was a bit too passive. I tried to go for my shots, but found the tin too many times.

I have learned a lot of this event, I improved a lot. I’m still hungry for me, we have one more tournament in the season, and I want to end it on high note, and not lose all the work I have produced up to now.

Olivia :  “Being in my first world semis feels great.

“That was a huge match and a huge opportunity for both of us – our first time in the quarter-finals. It’s funny as the first time I met Fayrouz was during 2020 in covid and I was training in Alexandria for a few days and they asked me if I wanted to get on court with a 15-year-old who was No.1 in the 17s and I could tell very quickly that she was going to get to this top level at a very young age.

“All credit to her for coming out and playing aggressively and to perform like that under these circumstances is very impressive, she’s had a great run this week and she’s got a bright future.

“Rod [Martin] has been in my corner all week which has been incredible and I’ve been working so hard with all my team and my family has been backing me with all the work we’ve been putting in for all these years.

“It was obvious I needed to come back out in the fourth and change some things and find my game again. It was a combination of her skill and hold but I lost my accuracy and my length a bit. It was about going back to doing what I’ve been doing well this season which is getting the ball into the back corners and being aggressive around the middle. I try not to panic in those moments and me and my team do a lot of work to prepare for moments like that, don’t go how you plan but how you respond is being able to bounce back.

“Not much needs to be said about Nour as she’s won this title seven times which is crazy and arguably the best player of all time and Tinne has been in such good form and it’s always a good match between them so anything can happen and I’ll be excited to play either of them.”