Finals: Victor takes it 12-10 in the fifth !

[4] Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-2 [1] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10 (72m)

Trying to stay calm and composed in a French crowd when Victor is playing is nearly as difficult as to play the bleeping match. Poor Fayrouz, God Love Her, only voice trying to support Marwan…

My money was on Victor tonight. Not because I believe him to be the better player, but because I knew there were both tired, but that for Victor, wining the Nantes Open was probably a dream, not to mention a goal. For Marwan it was probably a good tournament to win…. But what do I know.

It looked like I was right at the start, as Marwan seems a bit “not that bothered” to be honest. Up 6/2, he allowed his opponent to score 9 points in a row. 9 points. When was the last time that happened to Marwan? In a final.

Not a single error in the 14m opener for Victor. 2 for Marwan. No strokes.

But it would seem I was wrong. Marwan did matter. Very much. 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4. A gigantic rally at that point, won eventually by the Iron Marshall, but he did a lot of work there. One error will creep in at the business end of the game for the French, and a little drop of energy, while Marwan takes his space with his streetwise knowhow, can’t beat that one, three no lets against Victor in 6 points, and although he saved a game ball, the young Frenchman bows 11/9 in 15m.

And Marwan, doing what he does best. I remember Mohamed (Big Brother) telling me that his brother on court knew exactly how to push his buttons. And I saw it happening to Victor. The Egyptian managed to get under his skin, even pushing his opponent out of frustration, that resulted into another no let. Head was gone, 9/3, 11/6 in 12m for Marwan.

How on EARTH did Victor come back in the 4th, Gods of Squash only  know. 4/1 Marwan, Victor making a couple of errors right at the start. Fast points from the Controller, 6/3, 7/4.

Did the Egyptian relaxed juuuust a little bit? Did Victor give it the desperate Last Push? 7/7 we are very quickly. 8/8, and Victor closes that incredible come back, 11/8 in 11m, on his first attempt.

The crowd. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. I was trying to stay focus on my page, on my analysis, je t’en fiche! Everybody around me shouting, clapping, tapping their feet, the noise was INCREDIBLE. And was going to stay at that level the whole of the 5th game. Poor Marwan!

And here we are, in a decider. 2/0 Victor, cue crowd. 2/2, 3/3, 5/3 Victor, cue crowd. 5/5. From that point on, it was obvious to me that Victor was running with the grace of French Adrenaline pumping through his veins: he was not going to be denied in front of his crowd.

7/7. 8/8. A tin and a stroke, 9/9. A three shot rally and a winner for Victor, match ball. Cue crowd. A lovely taking of space/no let, and we are level, 10/10.

Cue crowd.

A volley crosscourt nick for Victor, second match ball, 11/10. Don’t ask me what the last point was, people were jumping out of their seat, I could only see a Victor in tears, 12/10, and a Marwan, saluting his opponent with grace and class.

It took several minutes to Victor to recover, letting the emotions out/enjoying the moment. “There are moment  you remember all your life. This is one of those moments.”

Peut être une image de 2 personnes

Marwan

“First, I’d like to congratulate Victor for a great three weeks. He’s been playing incredible squash, reaching two finals and now winning this one. I want to congratulate him for this win and I’m sure we’ll be playing a lot more in the future.

“I would like to thank the sponsors and the whole team for putting this together. This is my first time playing this event and I really loved every single second of it. It’s such an amazing atmosphere and more importantly I want to thank everyone who came today, even though you weren’t here to support me!

“As a player, this atmosphere is what we want and hopefully this event keeps getting bigger and better and hopefully I’ll see you next year!”

Victor

“Marwan’s been World No.3 and has been trying to get back to the top of the rankings and is always trying to find ways to improve. He loves this game and that’s why he keeps going. We’re going to play in the future again, next week at the Egyptian Open possibly. I’m going to celebrate this win and then get ready for the next one.

“Thanks to Marwan, hats off to him because it’s definitely tough to play in front of a French crowd. You guys have been tough, although I heard some ‘Come on Marwan’ which I didn’t really like, it pissed me off and helped me to keep going!

“It’s been an incredible atmosphere during the whole week, from the very first matches. Thank you for your work through the whole week, you’re really helping to make this event even better, improving every year. The English is improving during the event, which is great!

“I want to thank the organisation, everyone behind this event, the volunteers, the sponsors, the directors, it was my first time playing in the main venue as I’ve always played at the squash club, which is great, but I’m happy to play in this kind of venue and with you all supporting me on court.

“I want to thank all the people watching on SQUASHTV and all of the SQUASHTV crew who are doing an amazing job through the whole week, from morning until the end of the matches! Thank you for trying to improve the game and making sure that everyone can watch our sport from anywhere in the world.

“Thanks Dad for everything you do for me. He’s been watching matches whether it’s 8am or 2am, he’s always there behind the screen watching me and preparing me for matches the whole day. He’s very tough during my training blocks and we often argue, but that’s a dad-son relationship I guess!

“This season is off to a great start and I hope we can keep this relationship going and he can move me to the World No.1 spot one day!”