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Paul Coll makes British Squash Open semis but King falls in quarters

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A win and a loss for the two Kiwis in the quarter-finals of the prestigious British Squash Open in Hull this morning.

Paul Coll played out a five game thriller to become the first Kiwi male to make the semis of the tournament since Ross Norman in 1989, but Joelle King was beaten in straight games in her match.

For fourth seed Coll the match against Egypt’s World No.34 Mazen Hesham was everything the large crowd wanted to see.

The pair had never played each other on the PSA Tour before with Coll dominant in the first game to take the lead by an 11-3 margin, before Hesham hit his stride in the second to flip the momentum and level the scores.

The Kiwi was soon back ahead as he extended the rallies to test the physicality of the Egyptian, who has struggled with a series of injuries the past few years that has seen his ranking drop, to take the third.

However, the Egyptian soon battled back to show his shot-making to once again put the two players on level terms.

In the fifth, 27-year-old Coll reverted back to the tactics that served him well in the first game as he kept his composure to close out an 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 victory in 74 minutes and will now face world No.1 Ali Farag (Egypt) for a spot in the final.

"It was interesting," said Coll afterwards. "We have played a couple of times in League and he’s very hard to read and makes you very unsettled on court. I was fighting myself a bit in the head, almost seeing the finishing line too soon and got caught up in a bit too much frantic stuff up front, where he thrives.

"Once I stuck to my game plan and sorted myself out in the head then I was alright, but there was too many lapses for a player of his calibre.

"I thought I was going to close out the fourth but I got too ahead of myself and he is such a talented player, he can hit shots out of nowhere, so credit to him for fighting. Everyone sees the fancy stuff, but the dug in deep today, credit to him because he has had a good tournament.

"Physically I’m feeling good and it was more in the head today. Coming towards the end of the season and my body is one piece and feeling match fit and so taking each day as it comes"

The contest against Farag in the semi will certainly not be easy. Coll won their first match in 2017 but since then has lost the next seven contests.

"I have massive respect for Ali, he has achieved so much, on and off court he is a deserving No.1 but that doesn’t mean tomorrow that I’m not going to come out and try and smash him."

The match is scheduled for 3.30am Sunday NZT.

Meanwhile in women’s quarters the world No.3 Nour El Tayeb was too consistent for King finding the groove of her game quickly to make the semis and follow her husband Ali Farag into the semis.

"Joelle has been playing really well recently," said 26-year-old El Tayeb. "That’s why I went into the match with no pressure. I think she has been playing better than I have throughout the whole season and only Raneem and Nour have done that this season.

"I thought that I had to keep it simple and not over complicate things. The last few times I have been 2-0 up I have lost and so I needed to not see the finish line too soon. Throughout the third game I kept trying to look at Ali to relax, you’re playing against one of the best players in the world and I just needed to relax. Thankfully I was able to hold onto my level, I don’t think Joelle was playing at her best today and I took full advantage of that."

Eventually the Egyptian was able to come away with a 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 win in 28 minutes.

Although there was disappointment for King she can still look at an improved result from 2018 where she lost in the second round.

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