Asal and Coll fashion a rematch of a recent shirty encounter
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
Egypt’s Mostafa Asal and New Zealand’s Paul Coll have set up a mouthwatering second round clash at the men’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open after they came through their first round fixtures at the PSA World Tour Gold tournament earlier today in Cairo, Egypt.
It will be a rematch of their dramatic clash in the quarter-finals of the CIB Egyptian Open in October, where Asal got the better of Coll in a nailbiting five-game battle in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza to reach his maiden PSA Platinum semi-final.
That match was notable for Asal’s wild celebration, which saw him rip off his shirt in celebration and throw it into the crowd. He will now look to make it back-to-back wins over Coll after claiming a 3-2 victory over India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar.
It was a scrappy 82-minute affair, which saw Asal win the physical battle to complete a 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-1 win to reach the last 16.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” Asal said afterwards. “Mahesh surprised me today. I didn’t think that he would play like that. I wasn’t ready for that type of match, a 3-2.
“I am happy to go through and maybe I am thinking about the next round, and hopefully we can do good things today. In the end, I am thankful to go through, and I am ready for the next match.”
Coll, meanwhile, booked his second round spot after beating Frenchman Victor Crouin 11-5, 11-7, 11-2 in his first appearance since falling to World No.1 Ali Farag in last month’s Qatar Classic final.
“I was trying to come out a bit more aggressive than I have done in the previous couple of tournaments,” Coll said.
“I thought I was a bit passive in the early rounds, so I wanted to start today, try to dominate the middle and take the ball in short when it was there and just play some more proactive squash. “
Farag, the 2018 Black Ball Open runner-up, was tested by Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu in his match, but eventually came back from a game down to win 11-13, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 in 55 minutes.
The Egyptian – who will become a father in 2021 after wife and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb announced her pregnancy on the eve of the women’s tournament last week – was ruthless after dropping the first game, while Pajares battled on through injury and required treatment after the third game.
“It felt good to win for sure, but at the beginning, I felt a bit subdued,” Farag said.
“He surprised me with his tactics, we have never played before and that is rare seeing as I have been on the tour six years now.I watched a few matches including against Greg [Gaultier] in Qatar and [Karim Abdel] Gawad at the ToC [Tournament of Champions] and he has never played that slow. He held the ball and played a lot of lobs. It wasn’t what I was planning so it caught me off-guard.”
Meanwhile, Colombia’s World No.10 Miguel Rodriguez required five games to get the win over Egypt’s Youssef Soliman in the longest match of the day at 84 minutes.
“All of the first rounds are very challenging nowadays,” said Rodriguez. “I had to fight in my head to keep playing and do my best and it went all the way to the fifth game. I didn’t have time to play on the glass court and, for me, it’s always hard to play in the first round, especially travelling from Colombia. It wasn’t my best match or performance, but I’m taking this as a positive thing to play better in the next round.”
Rodriguez will line up against Egypt’s Zahed Salem in the next round, with Salem beating Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller by a 3-1 scoreline.
World No.17 Omar Mosaad claimed victory over Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng, and he will take on Farag in the last 16. France’s Gregoire Marche and Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar were the other winners on day one.
The first round continues tomorrow (December 14) and play begins at 11:00 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan).
Men’s 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open, Black Ball Club, Cairo, Egypt.
First Round (Top Half):
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-1: 11-13, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (55m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (43m)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-1: 11-2, 15-13, 7-11, 11-2 (64m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 12-10 (50m)
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9 (84m)
 Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-8, 14-12, 6-11, 11-6 (48m)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-2: 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-1 (82m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-2 (34m)
First Round (Bottom Half, December 14):
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
Declan James (ENG) v  Diego Elias (PER)
 Joel Makin (WAL) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
[WC] Ahmed Wael (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Second Round (Top Half, December 15):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v  Zahed Salem (EGY)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Pictures courtesy of PSA