For the first time in a while it felt like everything came together at the right time. I landed in Hong Kong where I was sharing a small room with three other girls, and even though only one of us could open our bags or stand at a time, we had a blast! We spent our first day training and getting used to the venue.
First round of qualifying started and I was up against local player Ho Ka Wing. Going into the match I felt prepared and in the right mind set. We played the first game and I won it comfortably 11-3. Between the first and second game, a male spectator was angry that I was wearing shorts (even though they are allowed by PSA). There was some confusion among the referees and they wanted to make me wear a skirt over top of my shorts. After some debate and discussion, play was allowed to continue as normal and I was allowed to wear shorts. I won’t lie though, it through me for a loop and I felt self conscious about the whole debacle. However, it didn’t show in my squash. I managed to stay process oriented and won the next two games comfortably.
Onto the second round of qualifying against Jenny Duncalf (ENG). I had hit with her once or twice in practice, but never in a match. Going into the game I expected her to hit accurate shots and have strong deception from the front of the court. After a long warm up and mental prep I felt ready to compete. Everything came together in this match and I felt very relaxed and focused, fast and balanced, and comfortable attacking. It was an incredible feeling and I am ecstatic to have won that match in three games and to qualify for my first World Series event.
Due to the split first round I enjoyed a day off from competition. I went to the club and had a light practice, then watched some other first round matches.
For my first round match I played Nicol David (MAL). Going into the match, I was nervous because there were new obstacles to overcome and I wanted to play well. After a long warm up I felt ready to play, but was shocked in the first game. Her pace of play was higher, and the court took a lot of getting used to; it bounced fast off the front wall, but didn’t bounce high off the ground. I lost the first game 11-2. In the second game I felt I adjusted better and sped up my movement and reacted quicker. While we stayed close for the first half of the game, she pulled away winning it 11-6. I felt great in the third and fourth games. I pushed myself further up on the T and tried to attack more, and had better racket preparation. It enabled me to hit my attacking shots, instead of hitting the tin, and to react quicker to her pace. While I lost the match, it was a very positive experience for me. Nicol has always been one of my favourite players on tour and someone I’ve always looked up to. I really enjoyed playing against her and felt I learned a lot about my own game.