Update: October-December

While these past three months have been a rollercoaster, I sure have learned a lot! To anyone who reads my updates thanks for being patient because it has taken a while to update my blog. It’s taken longer than normal because I have been trying to reflect upon my last four tournaments and learn what I need to work on to improve my performance and become more consistent.

After my win at Nash Cup and great performance at Trials, I hit an emotional and physical wall. In the past, after a couple of big events, I have felt tired for a week, but then I’ve bounced back. However, throughout the entire month of October, I struggled to get myself energized and excited to compete. While I tried my hardest at both the Granite Open and the Nicola Wealth Open in Toronto and Vancouver respectively, I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked and was outplayed by two tough competitors (Hollie Naughton and Zeina Mickawy). While I was disappointed with those two tournaments, they helped me find large gaps in my game that I have been working on since then.

After a couple weeks of training with Jon and playing practice matches in Calgary, I felt ready for my next two, larger events. The first tournament was the Monte Carlo Open in Monaco, and the second was World Team Championships in Paris. Before the tournament started, I spent a day exploring Monaco! While I will never be able to afford to live there, (let alone do laundry….learned through mistake), I definitely want to go back! It was absolutely incredible!

In Monaco and I played against Maria Toorpakai in the first round of qualifying and managed to win 3-0. I felt great on court and was able to attack the ball and keep control of the T. Later that evening, I played my second round qualifying match against Hania El Hammamy. I had a rough start to the match and couldn’t figure out which game plan to use against her, but partway through the second game I used a different tactic that was working well. Even though I lost in 4 games, I was proud of my ability to relax, change my game plan, and fight hard. I felt that the main issue was execution and consistency.

The following week I met up with Nikki Todd, Sam Cornett and Hollie Naughton in Paris for World Team Championships. In our preliminary pool, we competed against England, Whales, and the USA.

In the England matchup,Sam and Nikki both had some close games against Laura Massaro and Sarah Jane Perry respectively. They set up the rallies well and it was exciting to watch! After their games, I played Alison Waters and boy was it eye opening! She was consistently attacking and applying pressure against me. Despite my best efforts to contain her strengths and attack back, she was too experienced and tough. However, since my goal is to reach the top 10 one day, it was a great to play against her and see what level I need to reach.

The following day, we played Whales. Sam and I were able to attack and move the ball around the court. We both won our matches fairly comfortably. In the third match, Hollie played incredibly and gained a 2-0 lead against Tesni Evans, but unfortunately wasn’t able to maintain her lead and lost in 5.

After the win against Whales, our team was feeling confident and ready to compete against the USA for a place in the top-8 draw. Sam played against Olivia Blatchford and pulled off a massive win! She had great length and stayed focused throughout the entire game. It was really motivating and inspiring! Hollie then played Amanda Sohby and lost in 3. Amanda applied a lot of pressure and didn’t give Hollie and openings to work with. The overall match was then tied 1-1, and it came down to my match against Sabrina Sohby. To this day, my match against Sabrina hits a nerve. Throughout the match I struggled to overcome my nerves, relax and just enjoy the match and the pressure. She was attacking, hitting great shots, and retrieving every ball I hit and it rattled me. In the third game I managed to turn the match around, change my game plan and win that game. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep my momentum going into the fourth game. It was frustrating to be in that situation and not perform to the best of my ability and to let down my team. Wish I could go back and play that match again.

However, despite that loss, the tournament was far from over. Our team was placed into a 9-12 round robin against Japan, the Netherlands, and India.

We played Japan first. Sam won her match in 4 games and then Hollie lost hers in 4 against Misaki Kobayashi. Once again I was playing the deciding match. However, after reflecting and learning from my match against Sabrina and realizing that I needed to relax to play well, I went into this match much more calm and ready to compete. We played four tough games and fortunately, I managed to come out on top. While I am still replaying my match against Sabrina in my head, I am happy that I could bounce back quickly and play with confidence the following day.

I sat out in our match against the Netherlands, but I think I was more nervous than I had been throughout the entire event! Hollie, Nikki, and Sam all played close, intense five game matches, and I think each one ended 11-9 or 11-8 in the fifth! Good news! They all won their matches and put us into the 9/10 playoff against India.

Hollie played against Joshna Chinappa first. She fought hard, winning the third game after being down 2-0. Unfortunately she couldn’t win the fourth and our team went down 1-0. Sam was up next against Dipika Pallikal and, while she tried her hardest, her body wasn’t cooperating with her and she lost 3-0.

While we didn’t meet our teams goal for the event, we all learned a lot from the event and had a blast competing alongside one another and also exploring Paris! We were able to check out the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notredame, and a Christmas market along the Champs d’Elysees. If you ask Nikki and Sam, I also had a great view of them riding away in the Subway during rush hour when they managed to get on the train and I did not.

Since those tournaments I have been working hard on specific areas of my game, and reflecting upon my experience so I can perform better in my upcoming events in January.

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Canadian Professional Squash Player, Cornell '15

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