Friday, February 23, 2024

Family and friends join the fun as home stars Paul Coll and Joelle King launch New Zealand Open title bids

By DAVE WORSLEY (Squash Mad Correspondent in Tauranga)

Paul Coll and Joelle King delighted a packed home crowd by winning through to the quarter-finals of the New Zealand Open as they entered the competition at the second round stage.

Both players have played their full part in promoting the tournament and last week’s Nations Cup, and both were proud to invite travelling players to enjoy cultural experiences to mark the return of the New Zealand Open to the PSA World Tour after a wait of many years.

Their love for their homeland was reflected by the passion of the audience at the Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga.

Coll won his opening match in straight games over American Timothy Brownell (world 59) but only after an initial battle.

Coll, the world No 2, won 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 in 42 minutes to progress to the quarter-finals where he will face sixth seed Adrian Waller (England) at 6.45pm tomorrow (Thursday).

The 30-year-old from Greymouth, who had a large number of family members in the crowd, said: “I missed my targets in the first couple of games, but I was enjoying it, the crowd was enjoying. He’s a character, yeah, I enjoyed the match and looking forward to the match tomorrow.

“It’s amazing to see so many faces, not just my immediate family, people who have helped me, played and coached me and got me to where I am. It was amazing.”

The last time Coll met Waller was during the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games in August, when Coll won in three tough games as he homed in on the men’s singles gold medal in Birmingham.

Joelle King on her way to the quarter-finals in Tauranga

Women’s top seed and world No.5 Joelle King got her tournament off to a winning start as she got the better of Australia’s Jessica Turnbull, winning 11-3, 11-9, 11-6 in 28 minutes to set up a last eight meeting with USA’s Sabrina Sobhy.

Sobhy came back from two games down to avoid an upset against Hong Kong’s Ka Yi Lee.

“There are so many people in here that follow myself and Paul very closely,” said King, discussing the home support at the Trustpower Baypark Arena.

“We’re a very proud nation, and to see faces that only get to see us online, you don’t get a true sense of how fast and athletic the players are until you see it in real life.

“I’ve been really impressed, I’ve seen lots of juniors and schools here too, when they see it they can hopefully aspire to be like the players here.”

Turnbull, ranked 70 in the world, showed some resolve and variety in her game in the second and third games.

The 34-year-old King, who was unbeaten during the Nations Cup team event and is feeling positive going into the NZ Open, added: “I was five-love up in the first. It took me by surprise how well I was hitting the ball.

“She’s a tricky opponent and ranked a lot lower than me, but I feel she has good skills. She’s one of those players that if you’re not accurate enough she’ll put the ball away. But I’m happy to come away with a win.

“It’s a new tournament. Last week (in the Nations Cup) I felt like I was on a roll, but last week is gone. You have to come out and expect the lower ranked players to come out and have a go at you.

“Being here at home there’s a lot of expectation. People want to see us in the final and go through the draw. I’m just trying to do everything right.

“Sometimes you’re beaten by a better player on the day, that’s just sport in general, but I’m going to be doing everything I can to stop that happening.”

Looking ahead to King’s meeting with Sobhy in the quarters tomorrow, the stats show that King has beaten Sobhy on all seven occasions they have played, including three times this year.

However Sobhy is known for her speed around the court and running every shot down, and she has begun the season with some outstanding performances, beating world No.2 Hania El Hammamy in the last 16 of the U.S. Open before losing to King in the quarters.

Trio of shocks in New Zealand Open second round: report


2022 Robertson Lodges Men’s New Zealand Open

Second Round:
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (42m)
[6] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 11-8, 6-11, 11-3, 11-7 (43m)
[7] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Balazs Farkas (HUN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (27m)
David Baillargeon (CAN) bt. [4] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 16-14, 12-10, 16-14 (63m)
[3] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt. Henry Leung (HKG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 (28m)
Andrew Douglas (USA) bt [8] Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (39m)
Leandro Romiglio (ARG) bt [5] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7 (67m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt Charlie Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 12-10 (36m)

Quarter-Finals (Top Half, November 10):
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) v [6] Adrian Waller (ENG)
[7] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v David Baillargeon (CAN)

Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, November 11):
[3] Victor Crouin (FRA) v Andrew Douglas (USA)
Leandro Romiglio (ARG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG)

2022 Barfoot & Thompson Women’s New Zealand Open
Second Round:
[1] Joelle King (NZL) bt Jessica Turnbull (AUS)3-0: 11-3, 11-9, 11-6 (28m)
[8] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Ka Yi Lee (HKG) 3-2: 8-11, 13-15, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7 (49m)
[5] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 12-10, 11-5 (33m)
Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [3] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 (48m)
[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 (27m)
[7] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Malak Khafagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4 (37m)
[6] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [WC] Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-5 (28m)
[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Tomato Ho (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (27m)

Quarter-Finals (Top Half, November 10):
[1] Joelle King (NZL) v [8] Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
[5] Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Satomi Watanabe (JPN)

Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, November 11):
[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) v [7] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[6] Tesni Evans (WAL) v [2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour


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