R1: Mathieu 3-1 Iker

Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1 Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)  11-2, 4-11, 12-10, 11-5 (62m)

Two first games a bit shorter than we expected between those two players with similar games: hit straight lines, play as fast as possible, hit the front corners, find lovely angles, and run, run run….

Both first two games very onesided, 11/2 for Mat in 12m, then 11m for Iker 11/4….

The third is THE game: 23minutes, high-quality squash, not a single error from either of them in that one, and believe me, the pace was pretty amazing.

3/0 start for Iker, 4/4, 5/5, then a good push from the Spanish, thanks to four no let in a row against Mathieu. Let’s that sink in for a minute: one of the players the most famous on the tour to get to every single shot being penalised with 4 no lets in a row. Interesting.

Mind you, that p. off the Frenchman big time, allowing him to actually get into another gear thanks to adrenaline, and from 6/9, straight to 10/9, despite not a foot wrong from the Fighting Iker who produced some amazing/ridiculous attacking squash today.

Another no let against Mathieu, 10/10. But a stroke and a winner end the game for the French, crucial, crucial 12/10.

The fourth sees a very good start from the French, 4/1, 5/2, 9/4, 11/5, with the only error at 10/5 in the last two games from Iker: just to show the high quality of the squash he produced today….


I am a bit mentally tired because I had such a great event a few weeks ago. My daughter was born on the 27th October and I have had to wake up every three hours during the night. That’s something I want to do for her, it’s very important for me.

I’m mentally a bit flat, and physically very tired, so I’m ecstatic to manage a win again a player as good as Iker while not being at my 100%.

I tried to be focused on my game and I think the third game was crucial for me because he was 9-6 up. I was a bit passive up to that point I feel, so I really kicked myself from then on, and that’s the turning point. Had he taken the third, it could have gone to 5, or even to 4 for him. That was crucial. So to win it in four was great!

We have the same style of game, maybe he’s got a sharper hitting of the ball, and me a bit more powerful. But his best areas are mine too, like he is good in the front left, so am I….

Yesterday was the first night that I slept pretty well, and I’m happy to have another two good night sleep before my match with Makin.

Taking that much is very important for me, Iker has had some great results, he is threatening the top 20, pushing them in 5, and in the 4th, I just took a good start, he made a few errors, so I think what make the difference today is just a bit more experience on my side…