Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6 (61m)
If the first time those two played in the US Open last year was not plain sailing, this time, we were served with a super fluid yet intense match, extremely entertaining.
Mathieu mentioned that the birth of his daughter took a lot out of him from an emotional point and I guess his training must have suffered as well. But there is nothing wrong with his fighting spirit…
Eight winners for Joel in the first game against 5 for the Frenchman, 19m of hard work, both pushing the other one in the front and back corners, retrieving superb could have been winners! from 3/3, Joel will be ahead, 6/3, 8/4, 10/6, 11/7.
The second will end with the same score, shorter though, 12m only, same number of winners for both, again from 3/3, Joel ahead 8/3, 9/4, 10/5. A nice pride push from Mat, but it’s still Joel in control 11/7.
A much more assertive Frenchman in the third, taking the game to the front and finding some exquisite winners, balancing well the length with attacking game, complete reverse from the two previous games, 6/1 Mathieu, 8/3, 9/4. Joel will come back very close 8/9, but Mathieu takes that one, 11/8 in 15m, 8 winners for 7 Joel. High quality game…
The fourth is very close up to 6/6, a few errors creeping in the French racquet – hard work produced starting to take its toll, and it’s 11/7 for the Welsh in 11m…
He likes to put a lot of pace on the ball, and as I’m not as strong physically as I normally am, it’s hard and I was a bit passive. But in the third, I think I just relaxed because I told myself I had to be more pro active if I wanted any kind of result today.
Unfortunately, I got a bit lost at the end of the 4th, and I couldn’t sustain the pace but it’s nice to realise that I can find solutions when I’m not 100%.
Now, the World Teams in 3 weeks, I’m going to try and regenerate myself for that event…
I’ve tried to add a bit more variation to my game and be a bit more severe on the short balls. Like Mathieu started to do to me today, he slowed the pace down and really got control of the game to get me stuck behind, so I had to get back in front and inject a bit more pace and be a bit more severe going short.
In the third, I think he changed his game.
The first two games suited me fine. We have a similar type of game, as in we like to work the ball hard, take the middle and volley.
First game I managed to play the way I wanted, he was staying with me but maybe I was a bit more solid and severe.
The ball softened quite a lot in the 3rd and he took full advantage of it, using his skills that I couldn’t match at that point. Got back to controlling it in the fourth.
I always like fluid hard rallies. If others will want to break the pace up, talking with the referee, asking for the court to be clean, I’m like to keep it going. And today, it was a great fluid match, and I think that’s what people want to see.
I played and lost against Paul a couple of times, in the BO first round long hard match. We played a fair amount at the amount, and if I want to reach the top 8, that’s the kind of matches I will need to start winning.