Coll and Dessouky reach Qatar Classic semi-finals for first time
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
New Zealand’s Paul Coll and Egypt’s Fares Dessouky will face off for a place in a maiden Qatar Classic final following respective victories over World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy and World No.41 Youssef Ibrahim earlier today at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.
Quarter-finals day of the PSA World Tour Platinum tournament saw all four matches go all the way to five games, with Coll kicking things off with an 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 victory to book his spot in the last four of this tournament for the first time.
Coll had won only one of his four previous matches against ElShorbagy, which included a loss to the eventual CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner in September, but kept on fighting to reach his first Platinum semi-final since the restart of the PSA World Tour.
“He’s an all-round quality player,” said Coll, who reached the PSA Men’s World Championship final in Qatar 12 months ago.
“He’s probably got some of the best lengths out of anyone on tour, and if you let him dominate you then you can lose seven or eight points within a matter of minutes. You’ve got to be on your mettle with everything, he gives you nothing. I always love a battle with him, he gives you nothing and it’s never easy.
“My first three tournaments have been a bit up and down, I thought I was playing well but I wasn’t really getting some of the results that I was after. I love this court here, I’ve got fantastic memories from last year, it’s a nice court to play on and I’m really looking forward to another semi-final tomorrow.”
World No.12 Dessouky stands between Coll and a place in the title decider after the 26-year-old ousted giant-killer Youssef Ibrahim 11-4, 12-14, 11-2, 10-12, 11-5 to reach his first Platinum semi since April 2019.
The 21-year-old Ibrahim caused one of the biggest shocks in the 19-year history of the Qatar Classic with victory over top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy in the previous round and took Dessouky to five games, but the older man had enough in his locker to edge the win.
“Everyone is saying he is the next Amr Shabana and I hope so – we need a Shabana back on tour,” Dessouky said.
“I have been through a lot. Many people, they say that mentally I am not very strong. Today I showed how strong I am. I have been through two surgeries and that is not easy for anyone. The other guys are playing without injuries and it is not easy to play at this level with injuries but I believe in myself and I will keep going.”
On the opposite side of the draw, reigning world champion Tarek Momen will take on defending Qatar Classic champion Ali Farag after both players came through five-game battles in today’s quarter-finals.
With a final appearance in 2017 allied to his World Championship triumph, Momen has often performed well on Qatari soil but had to hold his nerve to oust the dangerous Welshman Joel Makin, ending a two-match losing run to the World No.10.
“I’m always excited to play here,” Momen said. “I love the court conditions and I think I play my best squash here because of the set-up. I’m definitely looking forward to my match tomorrow. I’ll try to recover to the best of my ability so I can be prepared for a good match again.”
The other match of the day saw World No.1 Farag topple Peru’s Diego Elias, winning 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 to book a spot in the last four of this tournament for the second time.
Farag was pressed hard by the skills of the languid World No.7 but won the physical battle to claim victory after 69 minutes. He will go up against Momen for the second tournament in a row after defeating his fellow Egyptian in the CIB Egyptian Open final last month in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
“Tarek, his recent consistency speaks for itself,” Farag said. “I don’t have to praise him much because the way he has been playing has been amazing. I don’t know how you can play so many balls to the front and still be so consistent. He is a very unique player and is very talented, I am looking forward to a clean match, but not looking forward to how much running I will have to do tomorrow.”
The semi-finals take place tomorrow (November 6). Play starts at 16:00 (GMT+3) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV, the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (Indian subcontinent only) and beIN sports.
2020 Qatar Classic, Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha, Qatar.
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 11-4, 12-14, 11-2, 10-12, 11-5 (66m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 (75m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 (79m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (69m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA