Queen City Open 2018
15-18 Mar, Regina, Canada, $15k
Hany wins all-Egyptian final in Regina
Stephan Bardutz reports
There is excited chatter throughout the bleachers as Mayar
Hany and Nada Abbas warm up for the Queen City Open
It’s Hany to serve in game one, and we can already tell that
spectators are in for a treat. Right off the bat, the two seem
evenly matched to the untrained eye. Wicked-hard drives on both
the backhand and forehand foreshadow the rest of the match –
each individual rally is longer than any match this writer has
ever played. With a quick kill for Hany and the clearly
recognizable Abbas cross, it’s all tied up at 1-1. Hany hits the
first tin of the game, letting Abbas take a small lead; for now,
anyway. With gameplay picking up, a ‘let’ leads to an out for
Abbas and Hany is back in the lead; 3-2.
Abbas, remembering Hany’s tin earlier, is kind enough to return
the favour, and with great length from Hany in the next few
rallies, the gap between the two widens. Hany charges ahead to
7-2, but this only seems to intensify Nada’s movement. 3-7, 8-3,
4-8; the score is steadily climbing, and each rally somehow
becomes even longer than the last.
The players are moving around each other even closer now, and
with shots moving quickly, a ‘let’ is requested. Neither player
is happy with the ref’s “yes, let”; Hany thinks it should be a
stroke, Abbas thinks it should be nothing at all. After
begrudgingly accepting the call, both players, well, play. It’s
not long before Hany hits 9 points. Even with Abbas’ impressive
leap to nearly 10 points, Hany doesn’t let her get any further.
The game goes to Hany 11 – 9. With a toss of her racquet, Abbas
makes it clear that she’s not letting another game go to her
After wrapping what looks to be quite the battle wound on her
knee, Hany is up to serve in game two. Even with a bloodied
knee, Mayar shows no sign of stopping. But maybe stopping would
be a little helpful, since Hany seems to be in the way of Abbas’
shot; point to Abbas. To any passerby, this game may look like
an intense ‘rally-down-the-wall,’ with every shot being
perfectly tight to the left-hand side. Both Hany and Abbas fight
for the best length shot, and with an unforced error by Nada,
Mayar is able to catch up – it’s 2-3 Hany.
Stopping for a quick Band-Aid fix (for anyone not at the game,
Hany must have needed the whole first-aid kit to try and stop
the bleeding on her knee). The two fight to out-shoot the other,
and again the play gets too close for comfort and a let is
given. Another down-the-wall “drill” ends with Hany hitting tin,
but with the control she shows, the crowd audibly shows their
appreciation for the players attempt. Another let is given for
safety, but the players are kindly asked to “play the ball.”
In attempt to do just that, Hany has a slight mis-hit; it’s 5-2
for Abbas. While Hany may have altitude on her side, Abbas more
than makes up for the height difference in speed. She is easily
able to maneuver around Hany in the next few rallies bringing
the score to 8-4. Hany tries to crush Abbas’ chances with an
absolutely killer return – and the crowd goes wild. While
Mayar’s skill is noted, Nada is unstoppable and takes the second
Game three begins and almost suddenly it’s 3 all. When playing
at such an elite level, even players realize mistakes can be
made. Abbas is sure Hany’s ball is down, while Hany (of course)
does not agree. The lightning fast rally pace makes it so
neither can be sure, and both players ask the ref to allow a
let; he obliges. Taking space on round two of this point, Hany
fires off a perfect forehand drop and wins the redo, 3-2.
With Hany on the T, Abbas tries to run through, asking for a
let: not given. Then, it’s a stroke for Hany. A let for Hany
makes her frustrated, asking the ref “HOW” she was supposed to
play Abbas’ previous shot. The players continue, but it’s clear
that tempers are rising, and who could blame them? There’s a lot
on the line. Abbas brings it back onto her side with a killer
cross; 3-5. Closer than ever before, the players move flawlessly
around each other, almost in figure eights. With lets called on
almost every second rally, the audience is getting talkative –
hopefully no one is allergic to peanuts, because we have a
gallery of them.
It’s 5 all with a reverse boast from Hany that doesn’t quite go
as planned. A deceptive forehand from Abbas has Hany going the
other way, leaning hard left when a right-hand drive is
delivered. But Hany doesn’t let this phase her. Calm and
collected, patiently thought-out shots are made one after the
other when Abbas has a few loose drives. Another unthinkably
long rally has the crowd all excited.
Then it’s the players’ turn to make some noise when Hany thinks
a let should be a stroke. It’s Get City as each player is
somehow returning every possible attack their opponent hits. But
suddenly, Hany’s patience pays off and she takes another game
after almost an hour has gone by.
This is it, the tipping point for the Queen City Open. Game four
has the crowd anxious – it’s been a nail biter thus far, and the
players show no sign of giving in. Hany starts off on the right
foot, deceiving Abbas and starting with 1-0. Even with the
players sharing their thoughts, the referee holds his ground,
giving fair reasoning for why a requested let was denied.
A tin for Hany brings the score to 3-2 Abbas. The players are
almost giving each other piggybacks and with more lets and
strokes given the scoreboard quickly shows 6-3 for Hany. With
play moving so fast and the athletes being as ready as they are,
you can’t help but give a stroke to Hany (7-4). Two dead drops
from Abbas in the next few rallies mean her score is 6-8; only
just tailing her fellow Egyptian competitor. The players get
more and more vocal with the referee but know that their best
bet in winning is to get on with the play.
Hany carefully puts a ball into the tin and a chance for Abbas
to take it to 5 is still alive. 8-9 for Abbas and the crowd is
on the edge of their seat. With what must have been an
incredible 5-minute rally, Hany gives a hard lunge for an Abbas
ball, but with it being just too good, her return is out of
bounds. A “no let” means that the score is now tied at 11 –
nervous sighs echo through the bleachers. Abbas grazes the tin
and it’s 11 – 12.
Not letting the pressure get to her, she nails some hard length
and brings the score to 12 all. A strange bounce off the wall
means stroke for Hany (13-12), and with tireless work from both
Nada and Mayar, another no let means Mayar takes the game 14 –
12, and the match 3-1.
Queen City Open 2018
15-18 Mar, Regina, Canada, $15k
 Nadine Shahin (Egy)
1/3 rtd (3m)
Nouran El Torky (Egy)
 Nadine Shahin
11/4, 11/7, 11/5 (34m)
 Enora Villard
 Nadine Shahin
11/7, 10/12, 11/9,
 Nada Abbas
 Nada Abbas
11/5, 5/11, 11/7, 14/12 (64m)
 Mayar Hany
 Enora Villard (Fra)
11/2, 11/8, 2/11, 11/6 (39m)
Tessa ter Sluis (Ned)
 Sarah Cardwell (Usa)
11/3, 11/7, 11/5 (22m)
Reyna Pccheco (Usa)
 Sarah Cardwell
11/7, 11/7, 11/5 (31m)
 Nada Abbas
 Nada Abbas (Egy)
11/2, 11/7, 11/4 (20m)
Sachika Ingale (Ind)
Jessica Turnbull (Aus)
11/4, 11/5, 11/4 (20m)
 Nikki Todd (Can)
 Nikki Todd
11/9, 11/8, 11/6 (30m)
 Nicole Bunyan
 Nikki Todd
11/9, 7/11, 11/7,
10/12, 11/7 (49m
 Mayar Hany
Jayce Spagrud (Can)
8/11, 13/11, 11/4, 11/7 (31m)
 Nicole Bunyan (Can)
Nadia Pfister (Sui)
11/4, 11/5, 11/3 922m)
 Catalina Pelaez (Col)
 Catalina Pelaez
11/1, 6/11, 11/4, 11/6 (31m)
 Mayar Hany
Diana Garcia (Mex)
11/6, 7/11, 11/5, 11/4 (32m)
 Mayar Hany (Egy)
It's an all-Egyptian final in Regina
Stephan Bardutz reports
Nada Abbas 3-1 Nadine Shahin
Game one begins with two unforced errors by Nadine — first, a
boast into the tin, and second, a a mishit into the ground. Nada
then gets another point, but this time with a winning backhand
drop. Over the next few rallies, Nada is really “on the ball” so
to speak, hitting beautiful shots that Nadine simply can’t
A winning boast, a tight drop, a forehand drive that dies in the
back. Now 6-1 for Nada, Nadine decides to turn things around.
She hits a volley drop into the nick, excellent cross court that
dies int he back, deep length on the forehand side. She seems to
be getting into her groove, particularly dominating with her
forehand length. At this point, Nadine has almost caught up to
Nada’s six points with five of her own… until she hits the tin.
Now 7-5 for Nada, she takes a moment to the ball back and forth
between the racquet and the ground before serving. The rally
begins, and the ball pops out to the middle.
Eventually, Nadine asks for the first let of many to come.
Although Nadine would have appreciated the stroke, she wasn’t
too upset about the ref’s decision to call it just a let. Fast
forward to 6-8 for Nadine, Nadine trips at Nada’s feet in the
middle of the court. She asks for the let, but the ref declines
her request. Eventually it gets to be 10-6 for Nada.
She hits a very tight backhand drive, but Nadine decides to give
Nada a taste of her own medicine with an equivalent shot. Nada
volleys it, but it’s simply too tight, her frame makes contact,
and the ball falls short of the front wall. At 7-10 for Nadine,
her backhand shot pops out to the middle. Nada asks for the let,
and the stroke is awarded. It’s a bit of foreshadow for the
gameplay to come, but this concludes game one. Nada wins 11-7.
Now game two, Nada earns the first point with a tight drop. In
the second rally, Nada hits what could have been a spectacular
boast, but it just kisses the top of the tin, ever so gently. A
few rallies later, at 3-1 for Nadine, both players are
stretching out to reach the ball in the front-right corner,
their shoes screeching on the floor.
At 4-1, Nadine hits the tin and it’s handout 2-4 for Nada. She
hits a low and hard shot down the forehand wall. 3-4 Nada… 4-4
Nada… 5-4 Nada… 6-4 Nada… Finally, Nadine takes her turn on the
teeter-totter as it becomes 5-6 Nadine… 6-6 Nadine… 7-6 Nadine…
8-6 Nadine… Throughout the rallies, both players are asking for
what seems to be let after let, after let.
At 7-6, Nada visually admits that the let she asked for, which
turned into a stroke, was a bit more generous than she expected.
By visually admits, I mean that she very subtly smirked in
celebration. The crowd picked up on that one. Now it’s Nada’s
turn in this teeter-totter match as she brings it from 7-8 to
8-8… to 9-8. Fast forward a few rallies, and it’s now 10-10 for
A let is awarded in this rally, but in the next rally, the ref
says no let for Nada as she was running the wrong way. Now 11-10
for Nadine, the two competitors are hitting patient length down
the wall, avoiding any unforced errors.
Nadine eventually goes for an attacking crosscourt that dies —
or shall we say, passes away — in the back corner. Very close
game. Nadine wins 12-10.
Just as the ref calls, “Time,” Nadine walks onto the court. With
a match score of one all, game three begins. Nada earns the
first point of the game, followed by another point awarded by a
stroke. Nadine doesn’t dispute this one, though.
A few rallies later, at 2-2, Nadine lifts her racquet in
preparation to ask for the let (and get the stroke) but sees the
opportunity to win the rally with a low and hard drive, which
she capitalizes on. 3-2 for Nadine… 4-2 for Nadine… 5-2 for
Nadine… Nada’s back in it though, and she gets the next few
Quite a few lets are called during this time. At 6-6, Nada
serves it up and the two play a patient rally down the backhand
wall until Nada boasts it. The two players get caught in a tango
in the middle of the court yet again, and many more lets are
At 8-8, the ref awarded a let that caused the crowd to let out
a, “Hmm…” as they could tell the lets were getting to be a bit
much. At 9-8 for Nada, she asks for yet another let, but the ref
has seen enough and says, “No. There was minimal interference.”
This is Nadine’s chance, but she hits the tin in the next two
rallies, and Nada wins game three 11-9.
Before game four begins, the ref warns the players that they
must put more effort into clearing. Nada wins the first and
second rallies with drops into the nick. At 2-0, Nada flies
through the air to retrieve a ball in the front of the court,
scraping her knee as she lands. The two players take a moment to
The points then go back and forth for a while. At 3-4, Nadine
serves it up. Just when you think the two players are making
more of an effort to run around each other, instead of asking
for lets, a stroke is awarded to Nadine. The crowd seems to be
in disbelief, as they think this may not have been the right
call, and it should have only been a let. At 5-4, the two
players collide quite powerfully, and Nada gets winded by
She falls to the floor, and has to take a minute to catch her
breath. At 5-5 for Nada, a let is awarded to Nada, followed by a
winning drive by Nadine. Now 6-5 for Nadine, Nada asks for
another let. The ref pauses to say, “A little more effort to the
ball please…” and Nadine replies with, “I’m doing my best.”
At 6-7, another let. At 7-7, Nada asks for another let but
doesn’t get it this time. At 8-7 for Nada, she hits a fantastic
deceptive crosscourt. At 8-7, a tight drop. Eventually, at 9-8
for Nada, she hits another deceptive crosscourt — deja vu!
At 10-8, she goes for yet one more, but Nadine has learned her
lesson and gets to this one. The rally continues, and Nadine’s
shot almost goes out on the left wall. Nadine tries to cut off
Nada’s drive with a drop, but it goes straight into the tin,
resulting in an 11-8 win for Nada. Three games Nada; one game
Mayar Hany 3-2 Nikki Todd
The stands are packed full for this Saturday afternoon match.
Hometown hero Nikki Todd is all set to play Egypt’s own Mayar
Hany. Todd to serve, and if the rally to follow is any
indication, the spectators are in for one battle of a match.
With a heartbreaking tin for Hany, Todd takes the lead. But Hany
has some tricks up her metaphorical sleeve (she’s not wearing
long sleeves cause in a game this heated, that would be insane)
and hits a clearly well-practiced cross: Todd unable to return.
Focusing in, Todd is ready to come back with the perfect reverse
boast – the kind with a sound so nice you’d want it as your
Stroke, let, stroke results in a game tied at 5 all. Hany,
reading Todd’s movements with ease, is able to put the ball
where Nikki isn’t, hitting cross after cross. But with
well-rehearsed footwork paying off, Nikki is able to make cut
offs all around and get her score up to 7. All limbs, the
Egyptian is able to get even the farthest of lengths, Mayar is
able to close the first game with a win.
Game two starts off with great shots from both Hany and Todd
resulting in a lightning fast 1 all. Both have very clearly been
in similar situations before, finding it easy to make the
‘longer than it looks’ run from front-wall left to back-wall
Todd pulls ahead with a tin from Hany and a nick from Todd; a
surprise look crosses Mayar’s face as she is caught off guard by
those Queen City nicks – the kind with depth many players before
have had nightmares about. 6-1 for Hany with a let called, and
the gameplay is at another level; junior player, Ethan
Sutherland, confirms this, letting out a, “That was INSANE,”
following Hany’s lunge to reach a ball most players would deem
unreachable. But with a quick kill, a wide cross, and a deep
drive, Nikki Todd comes away from game two as the winner. The
crowd goes wild.
Now it’s one all, game three. Hany nails down two quick points,
then it’s Todd’s turn. Hany taking control again, the score is
now 3-1. Nikki hitting a drop that’s just a bit too low, tins
the ball, giving Hany a 4-1 lead. Coming back after two small
errors, Todd is in the zone and with a cross drop, a perfect lob
(giving Hany the signature YQR weird bounce), and an out for
Mayar, Todd is closing the game; 4-5.
Smoking the ball just above the tin with a dead bounce to
follow, the game is tied again. It’s 5 all and the crowd is
hooked – following the ball like loyal retrievers – both the dog
kind and the kind that grab loose balls at tennis games. With an
incredible cutoff by Todd and a given let that Mayar is
convinced should be a stroke, the fire is stoked. Hany is
clearly here to win, with nothing but focus covering her face.
With a few small mistakes Todd has words with herself and that
little pep talk seemed to do the trick.
Nikki executes one planned and patient drop after another, but
it’s not quite enough to quench the Egyptian’s thirst for the W:
Mayar takes game three.
Game four is the game changer, for lack of a better word. It’s
here that Nikki needs to pull out a win to stay in the running.
Hany takes the first point, and even with Todd taking the
second, a gentle drop allows Hany to take two. Tensions are
high, both on and off the court. 2-3, 4-2, 3-4: It’s back and
forth between Todd and Hany, the players trading points like
A rally at 6-4 ands in a nick and it’s Todd to serve. With a let
given and the play redone, it ends in a classic perfect boast
for Hany. Hany’s aforementioned height allows her to dig deep
but Todd is ready on the T, crushing a forehand drive right down
the wall. Encountering the Canadian’s perfect boast, Hany allows
Todd to take another point making it 7-9 for Todd.
Play intensifies – both players know it’s now or never. Their
even matching takes the game to a tie at 10 all. Suddenly, with
a few quick shots it’s over. Todd takes it, 12 – 10.
In this fifth and final instalment of the Hany and Todd series,
a deceptive start from Todd has Hany going the wrong way.
Breathing down each others neck, Hany gets a little too close
and it’s a S to Todd. Showcasing her boast again, Hany
flawlessly uses it to earn another point.
Todd makes some hard runs for Hany’s balls and the players are
once again neck in neck. Each rally is longer, and somehow more
impressive than the last. At 9-7 for Hany, Todd hits a tin. Only
one point left for the Egyptian. Shot after shot, each player
gives it their all and with a mishit for Todd, it’s over. 10-7
for Hany in the fifth.
The two players give a sigh (of maybe relief/exhaustion) and end
it in a sweaty yet sportsmanlike hug. Nikki, representing
Canada, refuses to leave the court before her equally tired
Slinking to the floor, for laughs (and maybe for a little rest?)
Nikki takes a seat and Hany laughs, walking off the court as the
Todd and Egyptian trio advance to semis
The inaugural Regina Open continued with
the top four seeds, winning through to the semis.
Stephan Bardutz reports
Mayar Hany 3-1 Catalina Pelaez
Game one of the Quarter Final match starts with Catalina to
serve. The first few rallies consist of patient length down the
wall as Mayar and Catalina get into the groove. Both competitors
are playing well, but Mayar capitalizes on any and every
opportunity to win a rally. At 5-0 for Mayar, Catalina needs to
start increasing the intensity, so she throws in a drop from the
back of the court, but it hits the top of the tin. Next rally,
Catalina finally manages to get on the scoreboard by cutting off
Mayar’s shot with a low and hard cross court.
The momentum for Mayar does not stop, though. Now at 6-1 for
Mayar, she drills a shot into the nick, then another, and then a
winning drive down the forehand. Mayar, on a rampage, is not
stopping now. 10-1, Mayar puts the game away with one more drop
shot into the nick (11-1 Mayar).
Game two. With some time reflect between games, Catalina comes
back with greater intensity. The first rally ends with
Catalina’s deceptive crosscourt drop from the back of the court
into the nick. Next rally, Catalina reads Mayar’s next shot
perfectly, running up to cut off a cross court from the front of
the court. However, Mayar’s power is too much, and Catalina
fails to place her racquet in the right place at the right time.
The points go back and forth through the middle of the game,
with a few unforced errors and tins. At 6-4 for Catalina, she
takes a deep breath, knowing that she must continue this
momentum. She wins the rally with a crosscourt drop. Then,
Mayar’s return of serve doesn’t quite make it to the front wall
as she frames it. Now at 8-4, Mayar manages to turn things
around with a perfectly executed drop shot. At 9-5 for Catalina,
the ball bounces off the back wall and into the middle, so a let
Then, Mayar hits yet another drop shot into the tin. Now at 10-6
for Catalina, she bounces the ball three times before serving it
up. Mayar’s shot pops out into the middle, and Catalina
deceptively fakes a deep length shot, followed by a beautiful
backhand drop into the nick to win the second game (11-6
Mayar spends some time alone on the court between games to get
her head back in the game. It’s love all, and Catalina begins
the game with a great serve. Next rally, she reads another one
of Mayar’s cross courts perfectly to cut it off but doesn’t
manage to get her racquet in the right spot again.
Early on, Catalina retrieves the ball in the back-right corner,
but it bounces out in a peculiar manner, causing Catalina to
mishit the ball. Luckily for her, though, her frame sends the
ball right to the front of the court, just millimetres above the
At 2-2, the tables turn, and Mayar comes back for a powerful
winning streak. Partly due to her own great shots, but also as a
result of Catalina’s unforced errors, Mayar steals the next
eight points in a matter of minutes. At 10-2 for Mayar, she
eases the pressure a bit and Catalina gets a few points.
Ultimately, though, Catalina hits the ball out on a tight
backhand drive, resulting in an 11-4 win for Mayar.
Mayar is now up 2-1 in games and maintains the pressure. Mayar
goes on to earn five points to Catalina’s one before an
incredibly long rally begins. At 5-1, the two competitors go
head-to-head in what seems like a competition to see whose
endurance is greater. Eventually, Catalina simply cannot take
one more run and allows Mayar to win with a drive down the wall.
It’s clear at this point that Mayar is exhausted but the show
must go on.
At 10-5 — match ball — for Mayar, Catalina gets a second wind
and makes some exceptional gets. At one point, she even dives
for the ball, flying through the air, and retrieves it, but
Mayar wins the match with a backhand drive (11-6).
Nikki Todd 3-0 Nicole Bunyan
It’s Canada versus Canada, Nicole versus Nikole. First serve of
the match starts with Bunyan, who closes the first rally with a
share forehand cross. The two players seem to be giving each
other the run around, but this is quickly finished when Todd
kills it on the left side; it’s Nick for Nik. Hitting textbook
length, Todd brings the score to 6-1. With seemingly countless
rallies down the wall (crushing any doubt that either player
trained as juniors), the two Nic/kole’s battle for the winning
Bunyan nails a forehand cross, coming straight for Todd. Not
able to avoid the ball, Todd flashes a smile and Bunyan takes a
point; maybe the epitome of friendly competition. As game one
comes to a close, Todd is able to pull ahead, winning 11-9.
The beginning of game two Todd catches Bunyan off-guard with a
cheeky forehand kill. But the Victoria-born player is able to
get her head in the game coming back strong for two points. With
a nice touch here and a strong length there, Bunyan isn’t
letting Todd win on home soil without a fair fight.
Alas, we can’t forget about, nor deny, the YQR side nick. Big
enough for a small child to get lost in, the ball is pulled in
off a boast from Todd and Bunyan isn’t expecting it (any Regina
Squash League member would attest that Bunyan isn’t the first to
have been bested by the trench-like nick).
After intense gameplay stopped for a ‘let’ Todd isn’t afraid to
vocalize when she thinks it should have been a ‘stroke’:
“What?!” she asks the ref, but with a smile that says “I think
you’re wrong but I’m a professional” Nikki keeps gameplay
running smoothly and ends game two 11-8 in her favour.
Bunyan takes the first point yet again in game three. These two
players sure love down-the-wall play, as another ultramarathon
(like a marathon, but drastically – and some may say even
grossly – longer) of a rally ends in a 2-1 for Todd. Despite the
impressive page, the gameplay somehow intensifies, and a stroke
to Bunyan, followed by a forehand kill has Todd going the other
way. Todd is still leading the charge 7-3 but with a flawless
boast from Bunyan, she secures a solid 4 points.
Even while she is slightly behind Todd, Bunyan has to take the
time to audibly acknowledge the Saskatchewanian’s length: an
appreciative “ooooooh” from Bunyan let’s Todd know she hit quite
an impressive shot. The crowd agrees, as echos of “good shot”
can be heard outside court 2. Both players give their absolute
all on the Queen City court, but it’s Todd to take her third win
in this match.
Ending by confirming a Canadian stereotype, both gesture to the
other to “go ahead” when leaving the court; even competition
can’t stop these two from holding the door – that instinctual
Nada Abbas 3-0 Sarah Cardwell
We’re off to the races with the start of game one. Cardwell to
serve, she is must be a Dixie Chicks fan cause she is ready to
run. With every shot Abbas fires off, Cardwell is there. Despite
not being the tallest of players, Sarah’s near-splits lunge
brings her to control most of the first few rallies. We can’t
forget about Abbas, who – with a ready boast – secures a point.
Cardwell isn’t ready to let Abbas take the first W, with feet
constantly moving and ready on the ‘T’.
The game is heating up as each player gives the other less and
less space to return resulting in some controversial ‘lets’. The
powerful Abbas backhand is followed by a killer wingspan follow
through; a trait Cardwell finds it hard to avoid in a few
rallies. With a stroke to Abbas, followed by some exhaustive
game play (for players and spectators who are on the edge of
their seats), Abbas has Cardwell running the opposite way; Nada
perfectly crafts the perfect reverse boast to win the game.
Game two hits the ground running for the Egyptian player
crushing drops from corner to corner. This brings up a quick
lead for Abbas: 3-0. In her element, she continues to play
rally-ending straight and cross drops. You can see Cardwell
thinking about how she can shut down this point-winning streak
for Abbas. The Australian’s hustle soon pays off as Abbas hits a
few too many tins, bringing the score to 5-8 for Cardwell.
The atmosphere changes when a “let” is given that both players
believe should have been a stroke; each flash a smile is
disbelief – one in frustration, one in relief. With the players
giving it their all, Sarah loses her footing, giving Abbas a
‘let’. The replayed rally results in a handout to Abbas: 9-5.
While Cardwell is able to come back for two more well-earned
points, it’s Nada who closes game two.
It’s déjà vu when game three opens up with a signature drop from
Abbas. With a cross drop that needs to be seen to be believed,
Abbas pulls into an early lead. This doesn’t let the Australian
become deterred and being at the right place at the right time
allows Cardwell to hold her own. It’s mirror image on the court
as both competitors are putting in work, running down every
ball. Though she’s down in points, Sarah is not to be undermined
as two rallies in a row end with a dead nick at the back. With a
marathon final rally, Abbas takes game three leading 11 points
Nadine Shahin 3-0 Enora Villard
Nadine, the top ranked player in the tournament, starts the
match with two quick points. Both competitors are making great
shots, but when it comes right down to it, Nadine is finishing
every rally with a point. It eventually gets to be 10-3 for
Nadine and she hits an attacking drop into the tin. Enora serves
it up, goes for a winning boast, but it hits the tin (11-4
Nadine is back on the court and hits a few shots to keep warm
while Enora talks strategy with her coach between games. Enora
gets the second point of the game with Nadine hitting mishitting
the ball into the floor. After that, though, Nadine begins a
winning streak, bringing the score up to an impressive 7-1. Over
the next few rallies, Enora gets a few points of her own with a
winning cross court that catches Nadine running the wrong way as
well as a shot of Nadine’s that hits the tin.
Then, Enora hits a boast into the tin and it becomes 10-4 for
Nadine. She serves it out, though, and Enora takes the point. At
5-10 for Enora — game point — she goes for a fairly risky drop
from the back of the court, but it pays dividends as it hits
just millimetres above the tin. 6-10 for Enora, 7-10 for Enora…
But then, Nadine hits a powerful drive, unretrievable by Enora,
to win the game 11-7.
Now, game three. The first rally begins with Enora hitting the
tin, then hitting a shot out. The points continue to rise for
Nadine until it gets to 6-0. Enora finally gets a point to her
name with a drop shot. At 1-6, Nadine’s shot hits the front
corner, causing the ball to pop out right to the middle. Enora
can’t quite get out of the way in time, and the ball goes right
past her. At 8-1 for Nadine, Enora wins with an excellent drop
shot. Now 2-8 for Enora, Nadine hits a volley from the front of
the court to relieve the pressure.
Enora jumps up to volley it as it closes in on the back-right
corner, as she can tell that it won’t be bouncing back out for
another chance. However, she doesn’t quite get to the ball, and
as she already knew, the ball dies in the back. Enora manages to
get one more point, bringing her score up to 3 vs Nadine’s 10.
Nadine returns the serve into the tin. Now 4-10, Enora hits an
absolutely flawless backhand volley drop to win the rally. Now
5-10, though, Nadine hits a powerful drop that Enora just barely
gets to, the ball pops out, and Nadine secures the match with a
crosscourt drive too deep and wide for Enora to retrieve.
15-Mar, Round One:
Egyptian trio advance to quarters in Regina
The inaugural Regina Open kicked
off with all eight seeds, including the top three Egyptians,
winning through to the quarters.
Stephan Bardutz reports
Nicole Bunyan 3-1 Jaycee Spagrud
Local player, Jaycee Spagrud, took on a last-minute position in
the Queen City Open, filling in for a player who was unable to
make it due to bad weather. She takes an early lead in the first
game, capitalizing on the first few rallies on her home court.
Maintaining the pressure, Jaycee manages to pull off an
impressive win in the first game of the tournament (11-8).
Opening up the second game, Jaycee fires off a low and hard
forehand drive to win the first point. This game involves more
lets called as the rallies increase in length and pressure. With
time, however, Nicole pulls off a tight win in game two (13-11).
Both women enter the court with a look of determination and
focus as game three commences. Nicole takes a dominant lead,
though, bringing the score up to 8-2. Not willing to give up
quite yet, Jaycee fights for a few more points. However, at 9-4,
Nicole delivers a lethal cross-court shot into the nick followed
by yet another crosscourt drop to secure the win (11-4).
Coming back onto the court after 90 seconds of intense focus,
Jaycee hastily acquires the first four points. However, Nicole
retaliates over the next five rallies, bringing the score back
to a more even 5-4. The pressure increases, not only on the
courts but also in the crowd. Down 6-8, Jaycee hits a deceptive
trickle boast, leaving Nicole running the wrong way. At 9-7,
Nicole puts the pressure on with a powerful forehand drive,
winning the game 11-7, and securing the match.
Nikki Todd 3-0 Jessica Turnbull
Australian competitor Turnbull takes the serve in the first
game, and with a forehand drop, secures the first point. But
losing one right off the bat doesn’t affect Nikki Todd. With a
quick reverse boast here, and a backhand drive there, the
Canadian takes the lead; 3-1. With a lightning quick game pace,
Todd is able to dominate the court, forcing Turnbull to make a
few forced errors. Nikki nicks out, with a drop as dead as a
nightclub on a Monday, winning the game 11-4.
In game two, Turnbull is ready to compete as she battles for
every shot the game one winner hits. Pulling out front with a
1-0 lead, Turnbull isn’t quite able to hold on to the top spot,
as Todd comes back with textbook kill shots to secure a strong
6-1 lead. With some daring drops, nearly at the tin, Turnbull is
able to come back with a hard fought 4 points. The crowd goes
wild as the two players hurry hard, running down each and every
ball. Suddenly, Todd leads 10-5 and when the pressure is on
Turnbull isn’t able to keep the ball in play. Nikki wins 11-5
with an above the line shot by Jessica.
In game three, Todd is in her element. Quickly nailing down 3
points, her quick move to the lead isn’t enough to deter the
Australian. Turnbull is a trooper, refusing to let any ball not
be chased and working her hardest for every return. Though she
digs deep, hitting laser sharp volleys and immaculate drops,
Turnbull isn’t able to score more than 4 total points before
Todd takes the W. With a final tin from Turnbull, the match is
over; Nikki Todd takes a first-round win on her home court.
Catalina Pelaez 3-0 Nadia Pfister
Catalina of Colombia takes two quick points off of Nadia of
Switzerland in the first game. However, she then makes a few
unforced errors as the game continues. Reading what seems to be
every one of Nadia’s shots, Catalina steps up to attack
immediately, and wins the game in only a few minutes (11-4).
In game two, Catalina patiently sets up her winning shots with
deep, steady length. While Nadia manages to hammer several
powerful drives into the nick and gain a few points, she cannot
maintain the momentum. At 8-5, Catalina takes the game back into
her own hands and finishes it off (11-5).
Game three starts off with three quick points for Catalina, but
Nadia is determined to put up a fight and wins the next two
rallies. At 6-2, Nadia makes a seemingly impossible get at the
front of the court, but the shot pops out resulting in a stroke
awarded to Catalina. At 11-3, Catalina wins the game and match.
Mayar Hany 3-1 Diana Garcia
Right from her serve, Hany is here to win. With an outstretched
body, she hammers the forehand taking the first point in this
4-game battle. With a no-let, Hany takes the second point, but
Garcia makes it clear she isn’t going to make this match an easy
one. With a killer backhand drive followed by a sharp forehand
cutoff, Garcia comes back with 2 well-deserved points. A few
misread crosses by Garcia, and a stroke to Hany lets the
Egyptian player take the lead. With her eye on the prize, Hany
closes the game, 11 – 6.
From serve to a perfect third rally boast lets the game one
winner hit the ground running for a 3-0 lead. Garcia has
practiced under pressure, staying calm and collected, hitting
drop after drop and giving Hany no chance to recoup those shots.
Gameplay intensifies as the players raise the pace with every
shot. Garcia hammering away, kills each cross and brings the
score to 7-5. Proving the squash phrase of length beats
strength, Diana Garcia forces Hany to tin out in the game point;
game to Garcia (11-7).
Hany starts the game off with a vengeance, garnering a stroke
from Garcia. Seemingly practicing a boast/cross-drive drill,
Hany’s consistency brings her a few winning rallies – the score
is now 5-2. Garcia feels the pressure and tins a few too many
shots. Battle after battle players sprint from corner to corner
and a stroke for Hany brings the score to 8-2. Hany is finally
able to close the game 11-5, but don’t let the score fool you;
Garcia’s tenacity was clearly demonstrated with each ball as she
ran down each shot Hany fired off.
In game four, Hany dominates the T, and with three games already
fought, Hany is in her element. Her length shots getting longer
and her drop getting lower, Hany steals the win from Garcia with
a final score of 11-4.
Nada Abbas 3-0 Sachika Ingale
The first game between Egyptian Abbas and Indian Ingale started
off with Sachika to serve. Taking the first point with a
textbook backhand drop into the left corner, Sachika went from
service to securing a quick lead. Coming back with a deep lunge,
Abbas takes the next rally, tying the opponents at one all. Not
soon after, Abbas moves away from Ingale with 3 more points
locked in. Only just getting familiar with “Court 2”, Ingale
falls behind Abbas with a few errors. Suddenly, it’s game ball
for Abbas and with a deceptive backhand drop and Ingale going to
opposite way, the Egyptian player comes away with a win.
Game two starts off with a killer back wall nick at the glass
for Ingale, whose backhand proves to be nothing short of
incredible; Sachika quickly takes ownership of a second point,
making the score 2-0. Abbas doesn’t let that stop her, catching
Ingale off guard and putting herself on the board. That dreaded
tin was a bit too high for Ingale’s next shot, and Abbas ties it
up at 2-2. Ingale keeps her cool, returning the next serve with
a flawless reverse boast. Not to be outplayed, Abbas plays a
killer cross, nicking out at the left corner glass. It’s a
nail-biter as the players inch closer to 11; a forehand nick for
Ingale who hits perfect length, a gentle drop from Abbas, Ingale
hits the nick from the serve – it’s suddenly 10 – 7. Abbas shuts
it down and takes her second win.
In game 3 starts out with an unconventional tension-breaker;
Abbas to serve, Ingale thinks it’s out (it’s not) and with a
laugh and a smile, the players take a let and Abbas reserves.
Ingale takes hold of her mistake, channeling it into a 3-0 lead.
After what looks to be the most perfectly executed
boast/cross-drive drill, Abbas takes a point – and the points
start rolling in. With a stroke here and an unexpected backhand
drop there, Abbas closes the game with a hard left kill shot as
Ingale is leading hard the other way. Game, set, match for Abbas.
Sarah Cardwell 3-0 Reyna Pacheco
Game one begins with neither players willing to give up the
first point, resulting in an incredibly long rally. However,
Sarah takes the first hard-earned point, followed by the second,
with an aggressive drop from the back of the court. Early in the
game, the ball pops out into the middle of the court, bouncing
off the black glass. Reyna attempts a straight drive but sends
the ball straight into Sarah’s right leg in what seemed to have
been a painful encounter. Unaffected, though, Sarah manages to
win the first game in just five minutes (11-3).
Game two begins with a trickle boast by Reyna, sending Sarah in
the complete wrong direction. Then, Reyna pulls off a perfect
drop shot into the nick to capture the second point. After that,
though, Sarah regroups and returns Reyna’s serve with a flawless
drop shot. At 3-1, just when things seem to be going exactly as
planned for Sarah, her racquet strings break, and she has to run
off the court to grab a replacement. This new racquet seems to
be just as good, if not better, than the first, though, as Sarah
hits winner after winner. In the last rally, Reyna gives it
everything she has, getting to every shot, but she couldn’t
quite hold on. Sarah wins game two (11-7).
Game three begins with Sarah earning the first two points. After
conceding the third point to Reyna, though, Sarah dominates the
match bringing it the score to 7-1. In what likely should have
been a stroke awarded to Sarah, the referee made a questionable
— or what some may call generous — call for it to be a let.
Reyna was polite enough to thank the referee for the call,
though, causing Sarah to crack a reluctant smile at the
situation. A few points go back and forth, but Sarah eventually
wins the final game after hitting a backhand drive with more
force than that of the dark side (11-5).
Enora Villard 3-1 Tessa ter Sluis
French player Villard is the first to serve in her match against
the Dutch Tessa ter Sluis. Taking an early lead from a Villard
tin, ter Sluis is nice enough to give those points back to her
opponent; Enora Villard now leads 3-1. It doesn’t seem like
Tessa knows how to give anything less than 100%, truly pushing
the pedal to the metal for each return she hits. With one of her
signature backhand kills, ter Sluis ties up game one at 6-6. The
competitors fight for every rally, and with an unparalleled
backhand (think canons firing. Yes, not one canon, but many),
Tessa takes the lead. But with a stroke for Villard and ter
Sluis being out shot, Enora wins game one. But rest assured, the
battle is far from over.
In game two, it’s clear that both players are having trouble
adjusting to the differences of the YQR homecourt walls and
bounces. However, with a few errors out of the way, they’re both
back on their A-game. Hitting short a little early, ter Sluis
loses a few points. Villard, like a bloodhound, hunts down every
loose shot, pulling out a win for game 2 (11-8).
While Villard leads 2-0 in games, ter Sluis isn’t discouraged.
The Dutch player is back with a vengeance and refuses to let
Villard take any point without giving it her all. Tessa hits
drops that the judges score a perfect 10. Paired with her
backhand drive, ter Sluis is hitting rally-winning shots left,
right, and centre (well…not centre because that would be a bad
shot. But it’s a turn of phrase, okay?). Out playing Enora in
this third game, Tessa wins 11-2.
Tessa is on a roll, pulling out an early 2-1 lead over Villard.
But things heat up when Villard calls and stroke and it’s given.
Temperatures rise on court 2 – but who can blame them when the
stakes are high and the competition is fierce. With a no-let and
a quick tin, the game is all tied at 5-5. The game speed
increases noticeably as both players are willing to do what it
takes to come out with a win. At 6-6, it’s handout for ter Sluis.
“Aller, encore!” are the only things Enora needs to hear to
close this match for France. With the vocal support of her
coach, Villard ends the game 10-6.
If this outline wasn’t enough to make you feel like you were
there, if you ask Enora nicely, she may share her GoPro footage.
Nadine Shahin 3-0 Nouran El Torky
Although Nouran is feeling ill, she decides to go out give this
match everything she can. However, after struggling through just
a few rallies, Nouran realizes that she will not be able to
continue. With Nouran leading 3-1, she makes the tough decision
to retire from the Queen City Open. The Egyptian players shake
each other's hand and walk off the court.
Previous Events | Search