Thursday, July 25, 2024

Farag conquers Coll in Qatar final

Ali Farag celebrates his victory in Qatar

Farag conquers Coll in Qatar final
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent

Egyptian World No.1 Ali Farag has retained his Qatar Classic title after beating World No.5 Paul Coll earlier today in the final of the PSA World Tour Platinum tournament held in Doha, Qatar.

Farag, 28, has now lifted his 21st PSA title following an 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9 victory over the Kiwi in 61 minutes, extending his winning run over Coll to 13 matches.

Farag’s retrieval skills and graceful movement around court was breathtaking as he picked up the majority of what Coll threw at him and counterattacked superbly. Coll did manage to equalise after dropping the first game, but Farag recovered from a 4-0 deficit to take the third. Coll then battled back from 9-5 down to draw level in the final game, however Farag moved up a gear to seal the victory in four.

He has now become only the fourth man in Qatar Classic history to win the title twice, following in the footsteps of current World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy and the now retired Karim Darwish and Peter Nicol. It’s his second PSA World Tour title after the tour’s restart following the six-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Coll, it marks a second year of frustration in Qatar following his defeat to World No.3 Tarek Momen in the PSA Men’s World Championship final here 12 months ago. It was his second Platinum final appearance, with his first at the Windy City Open back in March, 2020 also ending in a defeat to Farag.

“The first time I couldn’t believe it and this time around I can’t believe it even more,” said Farag following the match.

“When I was younger, I used to watch the Qatar Classic and see all the great names of our sport lifting that trophy and I could only imagine standing there one day. To do it twice is an amazing feeling. We’ve been playing with each other for a good few years now, he wasn’t necessarily a very good junior or the most talented, but he’s a living example of inspiration.

Ali Farag (left) and Paul Coll battle it out in the Qatar final

“”If you put your head down, go on with your business and work hard, you can achieve everything you want in life. I have no doubt he will reach even higher levels than he’s already reached and I have a lot of admiration for him.

“We couldn’t be happier to be here (in Qatar). Everyone takes good care of us and I’d like to thank His Excellency Mr [Tamim bin] Hamad Al Thani and His Excellency Mr Nasser Al-Khelaifi for bringing this here year after year.”

Coll said: “It’s a tough feeling at the moment. I’m obviously very happy to reach another final here in Qatar, it’s a great tournament and a fantastic location.

“I always love coming here and I’ve played well here year in, year out. I wanted it pretty bad today but fell short. It’s a tough one to swallow, but Ali is World No.1 for a reason and he played the end of every game very well, so well done to Ali.”

Farag takes home over $26,000 for his title win and also strengthens his lead on the men’s CIB Road to Egypt Standings. Platinum tournament winners will qualify for the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals as well as the top eight players on the standings. Farag is currently the only man to qualify following wins at both the CIB Egyptian Open last month and today in Qatar.

Results 2020 Qatar Classic Final, Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha, Qatar.

(2) Ali Farag (EGY) bt (4) Paul Coll (NZL) 3 -1: 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9 (61m) 

Pictures courtesy of PSA  


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