Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1 Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 11-3, 12-14, 11-8, 11-2 (57m)
Baptiste Masotti can be extremely proud of his event. If his win against Miguel was more of a mental victory than a real squash performance, as Miguel was just back from injury, his match against the young Smiling Ninja proved he deserved his place in the quarters.
And we were all impressed today by his performance against the Man in form Golden Tiger, he took the game to the Welsh and was anything but ridiculous.
OK, first game, of his own admittance, “j’étais impressionné”, “I was overwhelmed” he confessed at the end of the match. Yes, 4/1, 11/3 in 11m still, work produced there.
Funny detail, he came back on court with a white shirt. “Mr Masotti, you need to keep the same colour tee-shirt”. Off he went again, and put a blue shirt.. Not that used to SquashTV yet, bless him. It will come.
The second is simply stunning from the French. Joel has no answer to his game plan and his shots, and quickly, it’s 7/1, 8/3, 10/4 ball. And that’s when the nerves kicked in… it took “only” 8 game ball to the French to conclude that one. Not possible at that level and that’s the energy that he’ll miss in the 4th…. 22m game…
Third, same start, Joel a bit on the backfoot, 4/1 to Baptiste, but a few gruelling rallies, and the Welsh claws back 6/6… Nailbitting 7/7, 8/8… and on a error, it’s 11/8 for the Golden Tiger, 13m.
Fourth, the French just never showed up, and Joel will be very happy with that ending, 7m game, 11/2…
It was my first Platinium event. Actually, I was proposed to go to the US Open as I was first reserve but I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to do a Platinium just for the sake of it. I wanted to do a Platinium to do something nice of it. And I think that’s what I managed to do today. I was given an opportunity, I’m fully conscious of it, and I think I seized it.
On the first game, I was a bit overwhelmed, and it took me a while to get into it. I should have taken the second quicker, not wasting that much energy closing it and actually saving game balls!
Then, down 2/1, I didn’t have the maturity/experience mental resources to come back into the match. It’s a shame, I’m disappointed not to have been able to give it a push, I think I had a chance there.
But hopefully, what I learned today will help me not only to get into more platinium evens but also to take the game when I need to clinch them.
“Credit to him in the middle, the first two games he was clinical in the middle. The third game was crucial, I had to get the length across the backhand and once I did that it took the middle away and I had a few more chances.
“It was about lengthening the rallies out at times, but it was also about setting a pace and getting across the middle to force him back. He’s a good strong mover and from the middle of the match they compete really well, so I was really pleased to pull away in the end.
“It’s my first semi-final in a Platinum tournament and I had only played one quarter final before, so it was massive for me. Gawad and Marwan both had a tough match earlier, so I’m looking forward to playing Gawad.”