Egypt’s World No.41 Mayar Hany and France’s World No.37 Melissa Alves both got their CIB Black Ball Squash Open campaigns off to winning starts as they conquered Switzerland’s Nadia Pfister and France’s Enora Villard, respectively.
World No.87 Pfister came into the draw for the tournament late due to withdrawals and made the most of her opportunity in her first appearance in a main draw at a Platinum event as she put on a spirited performance to take a game off the higher-ranked Egyptian. The Swiss player, after going a game down, began to step higher up the court and take the ball early to put Hany under pressure and draw level in the second.
However, the experience of Hany was able to shine through after the second game as she settled back into her rhythm to take an 11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5 win in 30 minutes and set up a second round tie with World Junior Champion and World No.10 Hania El Hammamy.
“I think the second game, I lost my length and my game plan,” said Hany.
“I felt like she was playing really well, she found her shots and was taking it in at the front and hitting to the back and I didn’t know what I should do. I had to talk to my coaches to get my game plan back and started to feel more comfortable.
“I want to thank my coach, Amr Khaled, and I’m so happy that he’s here coaching me and my fitness coach, I started with him a few months back and I think I’m getting on the right track.
“I have a day off tomorrow, so I will relax and talk about my game plan with my coaches for the next match and make sure I’m ready.”
Meanwhile, in the all-French battle on the traditional courts at the Black Ball Sporting Club it was Melissa Alves who prevailed comfortably against Enora Villard to set up another French tie in the second round against compatriot Camille Serme.
“It’s so hard to play a team mate, and a good friend, as we are more than just sparring partners,” said Alves.
“You think about it with every single shot. You can anticipate her shots as you know her game, but she knows yours as well, so you try new things hoping she won’t guess them.
“I don’t want to talk for her but it looked like she lost her game plan today, whereas I think I managed to stick to the game plan that know works with her: I know she can retrieve nearly everything, so I had to play very fast, very hard and sharp attacks. It worked for me today.
“I’m feeling quite optimistic about the next two years. I had a good start of the season, only to get a little injury at the end of the year, an adductor tear, which took me out of action for six-seven weeks. And of course, the physical side is the first thing to go, the racket stays normally but the physical side of things just goes.
“But I’m happy, I’m coming back nicely I feel, and I feel quite positive, both from an individual point of view than from a team one. We are pretty strong at the moment, and I am confident for the coming months.”
Mayar Hany (EGY) bt Nadia Pfister (SUI) 3-1: 11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5 (30m)
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-1 (27m)