Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 3-0  Joel Makin (Wal) 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 (52m)
Far from me to want to take anything away from my compatriot Baptiste Masotti who played an excellent/superb/solid/exceptional match today, but I could see from the start of the match completely uncharacteristic errors coming from the Viking’s racquet, along with a few inaccurate length, again, unusual for him.
Since the 14th Feb, Joel played in the Canadian Open 4 matches, beating Crouin in the final, went straight to Cairo for the BlackBall Open, played another 4 matches (including 2 over 90m), then zoom to Canary Wharf, three quick BO3 matches, then a lovely 96m battle with Asal, bowing in 4 and 82m against Paul Coll in the final, 2 days rest and back in Optasia, another 3 matches. Total 16 matches and 14h spent on court.
And he was “gutted” with his performance today. No excuses. Only praises for his opponent. Whoever thinks that Joel is creating trouble on court hasn’t really analysed the data correctly in my opinion…
First game is the key. The Frenchman made 6 unforced errors, but 7 winners. Joel gave away 5 points, but made only 4 winners. 18m first game and despite a good start from the Viking, 4/1, the Frenchman was just a bit ahead, 7/5, 9/8, 10/9, and finally 12/10.
In the next two games, they were close up to mid game – 5/5, 6/6 in the second, 11/7 to Baptiste, 17 very long minutes again. The third, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 7/8, but it’s again the Frenchman at the end of the game, 13m and 11/8.
Baptiste “a appuyé là où ça faisait mal”, found the weakness, and pressed on. Clever. Intense yet calme and contained. Is Baptiste finally coming out of age?
Superb atmosphere of respect yet fighting spirit from both. That’s squash people. Great match. Great Gladiators.
I’m gutted. It was a big opportunity this week. The squash I have been playing just wasn’t there tonight. I tried to go back in the same way, I started from the start, I was putting it in with purpose and I was just missing.
Then I tried to elongate, to make long rallies in particular in the second, to get back into the match et reestablish myself, because on those court conditions, if anybody getting a grip of it, they are flying!
Baptiste is a great character, he is playing so well, despite the fact he had a pretty hard time this week, he nearly didn’t come and play… He was quality on the backhand side, I was expecting to do all my beating on that side, but I was beaten down there.
He is one of those players who feed off the energy, if he is up and he is positive, he’s going to be flying. And that’s why I knew the start would be crucial, so disappointed to lose that first game.
It’s not coming together for me this week, a freezing cold court, not the conditions for me, but I feel I’m still extremely hard to beat, and no discussion, he was better today, I’ll come back to do better, he put a hell of a match together today, he was match ball down in the first round, took out Marwan, in the second, but I’m still extremely disappointed, I’m gutted but I couldn’t do anything better.
As I said to Joel at the end, my defensive game was good today and I finally understand that my attacking game was sharper when I was putting the ball in to the back first.
“So yeah, it’s an interesting game for me. And I need to keep this game in my mind, to improve my game and to try to do it more often. And every time I step on the court, I want to be top ten. So if I want to be top ten, I need to do this kind of match every time I step on the court.
“I knew that from the beginning that Joel was playing a lot of tournaments in the last month, so maybe he was a bit tired or I needed to, to show him that I was going to fight in every rally and that I was going to be consistent today.
“I feel a bit tired now because to play this kind of game is very difficult for me, but I enjoy playing like that. So I will do it for sure tomorrow and in the future.”