Youssef Ibrahim (Egy) 3-1 Sebastien Bonmalais (Fra) 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-2 (45m)
Those two had played once, in the British Open 2021, with the same result as today, to the minute (3/1, 46m).
I’ve been watching Youssef play for a few years now, Golden Boy, but today, I was not too sure of the game plan he chose. Ok it did work in the end because Seb got a bit tired in the end, but Youssef was making so many errors, playing at such a fast pace he couldn’t really find any accuracy.
Well, that said, the first game was “quite comprehensive” as commented the gentleman sitting next to me. Yes, 10/1, 11/4 in 10m, that’s quite a statement from the Egyptian Prince Charming.
Maybe because it was a bit too easy scorewise in the first game, the Egyptian went too short too quickly, hitting an extremely fast pace, a lot of weight in his shots, making 6 errors int hat game alone (only 2 for Seb). Very close game, with the French his nose in front at time during the game, but close most of it, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 6/4 Seb, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9. Two fast winners from Youssef and it’s 11/9 to close the 12m second game.
Third is about the same story up to 7/7, Youssef making too many errors – by now, Seb joining him bless him (6 errors from Youss, and 4 from Seb), and this time, it’s the French that gets the game, 11/7 in 11m.
Sebastien will only score two more points in the match, 6m last game, 3/0, 6/1, 11/2 for Youssef, attacking and taking no prisoners…
🗣 "I thought I played really well and stayed solid throughout the whole match and I'm just happy to be through"
Reaction from @Yousseefibrahim as he booked his RD2 place at the @OPTASIAsquash Championships 2023 👏#OptasiaChamps pic.twitter.com/VaS289PApW
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 21, 2023
We were actually talking about my tactic with the boys (Victor/Baptiste) and we were saying I should have played a more normal game, and not put everything on his backhand. Because as I was doing too much, he knew what I was doing and was waiting for me.
He was able to anticipate all my shots, which made me cover far too much ground and I lost my accuracy.
I was suffering at the end of the match, because of the hard work he made me produce, but it was a shame as I felt he was a bit tired too, starting to give me a few errors. I should have varied my game more, and not systematically played on his backhand.
He took a good lead in the 4th, and by then I had lost my accuracy….
“The court is very tricky. If it’s dead or if it’s lively – sometimes the ball bounces too quickly or dies in the back. Overall I’m happy, it’s definitely not a bouncy court but it’s very tricky to play. I’ve watched a lot of matches on this court before in the golden era and it’s good to play on this court and I’m happy to win on it.
“I don’t care about the rankings right now. I’ve been out for six months and I’m just trying to build myself back up again. I don’t look at the rankings as long as I’m playing – I’m just hoping to play as pain-free as possible and play more squash.
“It’s enjoyable to be back and I’m not worrying about the rankings for now. Hopefully I can get some good wins this year and I can worry about the rankings next year.”