‘Paul’s had a long and hard season and I didn’t want to let it go,’ says Elias
By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
Paul Coll’s end-of-season woes continued as he lost in straight games to Peru’s World No.5 Diego Elias in the semi-finals of the Necker Mauritius Open, Presented by Beachcombers Resorts & Hotels.
In front of a packed crowd at the RM Club, Elias won 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 in 52 minutes to win through to the final against Mohamed ElShorbagy, now playing under the English flag, who overcame Tarek Momen 11-7, 11-5, 14-12 in a match of similar length.
Elias dominated much of the first game, dropping just four points, and pulled through from 8-8 to win the second, to the World No.2’s visible fury.
Elias, who defeated the New Zealander in the final of the Qatar QTerminals Classic in November, charged into a 6-2 lead in the third and although Coll saved two match balls at 10-6 down World No.5 Elias produced the perfect crosscourt winner to reach the final.
Elias said: “I think I played one of the best matches I’ve ever played, so I’m supposed to be happy.
“Paul’s had a long and very hard season, with lots of big matches, so I thought I had a big opportunity today. He was, I guess, tired mentally from the whole season, so I just didn’t want to let it go today and I’m very happy that I played like this.
“I’m working right now with a few people. I’ve had my dad since forever, Jonathon Power, Wael El Hindi. We just all talk and find a good plan for every match. Greg [Gaultier] has helped me a lot. He’s always here helping me and giving me all the advice he can. So I’m just very happy that I could win this and this is because of all of them.”
Elias will now face England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final on Saturday evening at the RM Club in Grand Bay, after the World No.3 defeated Egypt’s Tarek Momen in a tight three-game battle, the last of which went deep into a tiebreak.
ElShorbagy, who switched his allegiance to England at the start of the week, is featuring in his first tournament under his new flag.
He started strongly, with some power hitting pushing Momen further back in the court, while his position on the ’T’ was high, meaning he could retrieve the majority of ‘the Viper’s’ short attacks.
World No.3 ElShorbagy dominated the second game, but it was Momen who led throughout the third. ElShorbagy had to save several game balls and Momen fell twice in the latter stages as the court began to get slippery, and ElShorbagy finished strongly to win 14-12.
ElShorbagy, who now hoplds British citizenship, said: “Once you get to the semi-final, you’ve got the best four players in the tournament there in the semis, which is what the tournament wants.
“You had two great matches today. Anyone could have made the final, any of us, to be honest. Diego played fantastically today and I think I played well today as well.
“We’re both really good friends. We both actually travelled together from Egypt on a long flight to come here and we get along really well. I think this is our first final together, so I think we’re hopefully going to give each other a good match and may the best man win.”
In the RMCLUB Women’s Open, presented by Expression Networks, top seed Tinne Gilis continued her progress to reach a third Challenger 30 level final in as many months, as she overcame the challenge of France’s Enora Villard. She will now face Egypt’s Farida Mohamed for the title.
Gilis took just 27 minutes to beat Villard 11-4, 11-1, 11-8. Despite the crushing nature of a five-minute second game, Villard was able to trouble the World No.15 in the third. But from 7-7 Gilis pulled clear to reach the final without dropping a game.
Gilis said: “I feel amazing, actually. I took some rest this morning but as soon as I arrived at the club I was excited and ready to play and was going to give it my all on court for sure.
“Even the days where you don’t feel 100 percent, you can still find a way through and that’s what I did today so I’m happy and proud of myself.”
Egypt’s Mohamed beat another Frenchwoman, the No.2 seed Melissa Alves, in four games to reach her first Challenger 30 level final.
The 20-year-old Egyptian started strongly, with her power hitting working well, but a slew of errors in the second game allowed Alves to draw level.
However, Mohamed regained control to win the next two games to advance to a first final on Tour since 2019.
Mohamed said: “Melissa’s a very good player – she has so much experience and when I played her about four or five years ago, I got killed on court! I expected her to be very strong today and I’m very happy to be through.”
Today’s finals begin at 17:30 local time (GMT+4), with both matches streamed live on SQUASHTV.
PSA Gold $110k Men’s Necker Mauritius Open – Presented by Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mauritius.
 Diego Elias (PER) bt  Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (52m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 14-12 (54m)
 Diego Elias (PER) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG)
RMCLUB Women’s Open, presented by Expression Networks.
 Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt  Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-1, 11-8 (27m)
 Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt  Melissa Alves (FRA) 3-1: 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 (34m)
 Tinne Gilis (BEL) v  Farida Mohamed (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour