R1: Iker on song 3-0 over Mohamed Sherbini

Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0 Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (48m)

A packed audience for that match, as usual for the Egyptian ones… Mohamed Elsherbini, training in the US under the racquet of Thierry Lincou, MIT coach and former world number 1 world champion, didn’t seem at his full potential today.

I only arrived in the second game, I have to day, and the pace – very very pace – imposed by the Spanish – didn’t seem to suit the Egyptian one bit. Plus, the court conditions, very hot and bouncy ball, not the best for an attacking Pharaoh!Iker seems to enjoy playing in Egypt – I remember him killing a few seeds in Gouna last year, and today, he was truly comfortable and at ease, controlling most of the rallies, and pushing his opponent to err again and again, making lose confidence his squash. 11/5 in the second, 2/0 up for Iker.

The third is anybody’s up to 7/7, point for point, but Iker was just too accurate, fast and energetic at the end of the games, he hit very hard, put his opponent under pressure and managed to string the last points, 11/7.

I felt perfect today both mentally and physically. I kept the pace as hard and fast as I could because he likes to take his time. The court conditions suited my game too, whereas he likes the ball cold and slow.
I tried to make it very hard for him from the start, and to move him to the front with straight drop shot, making sure my length and drop shots were good enough.

I feel I always perform better this side of the word, Asia, Egypt.. I’m not that comfortable in the US, maybe it’s the jetlag, maybe it’s because I feel there are too many people, it’s oppressing! I like Asian food, Egyptian food, and here, I feel like home, I love the atmosphere…