Belgium’s World No.12 Nele Gilis got her CIB Black Ball Open campaign up and running with a 3-0 victory over Egypt’s Nada Abbas in Cairo, Egypt.
Gilis had lost her previous two matches against the World No.19, with their last match coming at the 2018 U.S. Open and Abbas, who reached the quarter finals of this event in March, showed her strength on home soil by taking the lead in the first game.
However, good tactics from Gilis saw her lengthen out the rallies and begin to put a lot of work into the legs of Abbas, which she was rewarded for as she saved game ball to take the first, 13-11, on the tie break.
Great work from Belgium's— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 7, 2020
NeleGilis</a> who managed to stay in this rally despite everything <a href="https://twitter.com/nadaabbass_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">nadaabbass_ threw at her
The World No.12 then was able to use her own power to slot home the winner #BlackBallOpen pic.twitter.com/BcZSbj3dQB
The first game proved to be crucial for Gilis as Abbas was left struggling to find a way back into the match as the Belgian put pressure on at the right times to get onto the ball early and take a 13-11, 11-6, 11-5 victory in 38 minutes.
Up next for Gilis will either be defending champion Hania El Hammamy or Canada’s Danielle Letourneau.
“I didn’t realise the first game was that long,” said Gilis following her win.
“To be honest, I felt a little unsettled on there. At the start I was a bit nervous, but I tried to make it as physical as possible because I knew she would get tired quicker than me. We don’t get a lot of opportunities to play, so I just tried to enjoy every minute of it.
“I tried to take the pace off and not get into a hard-hitting battle with her because I was never going to win that. I tried to use lobs and height and get her stuck behind me.”
 Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-0: 13-11, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)