R3: Hania El Hammamy 3-0 Siva Subramaniam

[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0 [14] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)  15-13, 11-6, 11-5 (44m)

Next opponent : Rowan Elaraby

It has been very well documented, the incredible run Siva got in London, crowned by an incredible victory over the world number 2 at the time (3 now). It appeared that Hania got injured during the event – I don’t have the exact moment where she actually sustained that injury.

Today, Hania arrived on court with a bazooka, a tank and a few missiles for good measure. In my mind, with all the respect I owe to Siva, Hania was never going to lose that battle. I didn’t expect a three-love, though. Pride gave the extra adrenaline to the Gazelle today, although she showed some lack of match fitness – not exactly surprising as she has been away from the competition for several weeks. A few logical errors crept in the match, in particular in the opener, 5 unforced errors, but balanced with 11 winners.

That opener is the key to the match in my opinion. 21m incredible battle. Reminded me of the Camille Serme/Hania huge memorable encounters spread over several years. Intense, fair, flamboyant squash.

The Egyptian was in control 6/1, but as I mentioned, a bit of lack of match fitness, and Siva is back on top, scoring 5 points from 5/8 to 10/8.

Siva had 3 game balls in that first game, 10/8, 9/10 and 13/12, and those rallies will haunt her for a few nights. But Hania wanted that victory more than Siva I feel today, and on her third attempt, she clinched that opener to the delight of the crowd and supporters.

The second sees Hania again ahead, 5/2, but as previously, the Malaysian claws back, 5/5, 6/6. But it’s now Siva’s turn to make a few errors at the end of long rallies and the Egyptian smoothly closes the second game, 11/6, scoring 5 points in a reow.

The writing was on the wall in the last game, only 7m duration, 2/0, 6/2, 11/5. Hania, today coached by Karim Darwish and not her usual Omar Abdel Aziz, had her revenge.

Rowan awaits.

Hania : “It was definitely very tough playing against her today, especially after losing the last time in five. It was a brutal match and she performed really well that week. It was very tough mentally me playing her today – I watched her match and I think I had a better plan tonight. It was definitely very tough, but all credit to her – she’s a challenging player and I’m glad I managed to get through.

“I’ve been working on sticking to the game plan even if I make an error or hit the tin. I just try to stay positive and affirm to myself that it’s the right shot so I don’t go for a different shot and play safe. At this stage it’s more about the one who’s a bit braver on court and I had to be the braver tonight. I learned from last match and I had to change that tonight.

“It’s amazing having my family and the team. I have so many people here tonight and they’re all supporting me.”