I cannot believe the holidays are upon us, and that Christmas (and 2018!) is in only a week or so. Time flies when you’re training, working, traveling, and competing!
It was a busy first half of the season, and while I didn’t get too many great results, I learned and improved with (nearly) every match. In 10 weeks I competed in 7 tournaments. It sounds like quit a lot, which it is, but keep in mind that some of these were only one-match tourneys. In professional squash, as soon as you lose, you’re out of the tournament. Yep, that means you could fly all the way across the world for one match. Multiple times a year. It happens.
Here’s a little recap of the last 3 tournaments, which took place in Sarnia ON, London UK, and Monaco!
Sarnia Simon Warder Memorial Tournament
Last time I blogged, I was in Sarnia but had not yet played any matches. I won my first match against a top Canadian junior, Emma Jinks, putting me in the quarters against Micaala Seth, another fellow Canadian. I played pretty well against Micaala and managed to pull out a strong 3-0 win.
My third match was against Diana Garica (MEX), whom I’ve played twice before in PSA. The first time we played was early 2016, and I played quite poorly and lost 3-0. I managed to get some revenge a couple months later when I beat her 3-1 in Seattle.
Diana is a hard-hitting opponent, with a bit of deception if you leave the ball short and loose. Unfortunately, my accuracy was completely off, and while I almost got the second game, I went down 3-0 in the Semis. As the number 2 seed, this was a disappointing loss for me, but proved to be a good lesson. Despite being pretty out of whack physically, I should have better prepared myself mentally to go toe-to-toe with Diana. There are no easy matches in the pro leagues, and while I wouldn’t say I underestimated my opponent, I did not come out firing the way I had in my previous two matches.
After Sarnia, I had a week in NYC to recuperate and tune up for my next two events, both of which would take place in Europe!
I flew to London on a Sunday night red eye, arriving Monday morning in Gatwick. Since I was scheduled to compete Tuesday, this was a bit of a risky choice on my part. However, when I’d booked my flight, I hadn’t figured out where I was going to stay yet, and I didn’t feel like shelling out an extra $50-100 for a hotel, so I took the chance.
In the end, no hotel was necessary, as I ended up staying at Ally’s house, along with 5 other girls in the tournament. It was a bit of a commute to the club every day, but the price was right, and the company couldn’t be beat. There was always someone around to chat, hang out, or hit with. Plus, our daily “team” breakfasts of scrambled egg + avocado toast was worthy of 5 stars.
As for the squash, I dodged a bit of a bullet on Tuesday morning. I woke up to find I had been slotted into the main draw, as one of the Egyptian girls pulled out, allowing me to bypass all of qualification. I now had a couple extra days to acclimate and rest, before playing Amanda Landers-Murphy in the first round.
I played Amanda a month prior in the Granite tournament in Toronto, going down 3-0. Towards the end of the match I started to find my range, and honestly wished the match could have either continued or just started over! Needless to say, I was excited for the opportunity to play Amanda again, this time starting off with a bit more confidence.
Physically, I felt pretty good on court. I covered the court well, and found a decent length on the dead-as-a-graveyard court. However, my short game was absolutely non-existent. I must have hit 11 points worth of tins on volley drops- a shot which I usually enjoy hitting (much more often than normal drops). This tin-fest, combined with rollercoaster-like focus made it tough to win big points. I ended up losing in 11-9 in the 4th- a close result with lots to learn from, but I’m still kicking myself for losing focus at the end of the fourth. Amanda is quite experienced, and plays a solid, mature game, which stood up well in the crucial points. She also did a good job of punishing my weaker areas, and then using those lose shots to put the ball away.
Overall, I was pleased that I had played better than in Toronto (and of course, Sarnia), and was excited to get a bit more training in before flying down to the Cote d’Azur for my next event.
Monte Carlo Squash Classic
Saturday night I flew from London to Nice, where I’d be competing in the Monte Carlo Squash classic. Yes, Monte Carlo, Monaco!
I’d never been to the south of France before, let alone Monaco, and was pumped to finish my Eurotrip in such an iconic place. Our hotel was amazing, overlooking a marina with yachts and sailboats, and a 2-minute walk from the squash venue. Plus, we had the most amazing breakfast included with our stay. Since Monaco is ridiculously expensive, we tried to cut corners with money as best we could, which meant making sandwiches for lunch out of breakfast food!
Although it wasn’t very good squash, I won my first round qualifying match 3-1, which put me up against Julianne Courtice later that day. I felt much better technically against Julianne than I had in my first round match, but felt tactically lost. Despite feeling pretty comfortable on court, I lost 3-0. Julianne played a very smart game, and didn’t give me much to work with. I hope I get the chance to play her again in the new year, because I’d like the chance to go toe-to-toe with her.
Next Up: Tournament of Champions, NYC
Now I’ve got a little break until my next tournament, which will be held here in NYC. I’m looking forward to some time away from competition, so that I can reset my mind and body before the second half of the season starts up.