University of Johannesburg student Alexa Pienaar overcame a nervous period to win the University Sport South Africa women’s squash tournament for the second year in a row in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old defeated the experienced Lauren Siddall, from Tshwane University of Technology, 3-2 in a well-contested final at the Nelson Mandela University north campus courts.
It was a courageous performance by the chiropractic student, who shrugged off the loss of the fourth game when she seemed in control at 7-4 up.
Pienaar later admitted that nerves had kicked in as she closed in on victory against the 33-year-old Siddall, whom she had always struggled to beat.
After the TUT player fought back to make it 2-2, Pienaar said she was still reasonably confident of victory.
“I just said to myself ‘OK, it’s back to square one; just get in there play some long rallies’.
“I was still feeling strong and I knew I could keep the pressure on if I just kept the rallies going.”
Pienaar, who won the final game 11-8, said it was a big breakthrough for her to finally beat Siddall, who has played on the professional circuit.
“Having lost to her on a number of occasions, it was a real boost to get past that hurdle.
“I know Lauren has not been playing much and I hoped I could use that to my advantage. I knew it would not be easy, but I felt I could give her a good run.”