Saturday, September 23, 2023

Paul Coll battles back to beat fearless Nic Mueller and now faces another momentous match with Tarek Momen

‘I’ve been busy in the gym getting my body back in top shape,’ says Coll

World No.1 Paul Coll faces another momentous clash with Tarek Momen after battling past Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller to reach the quarter finals of the 2022 El Gouna International.

As the competition moved from the club courts to the glass court set up at the El Gouna Conference and Culture Center, 2021 El Gouna runner-up Coll had to contend with an inspired performance from Mueller, who played solid, consistent squash to take a one-game lead.

Mueller has enjoyed an incredible run of results during 2022 and his fearless attacking squash is good enough to trouble the best players in the world.

Coll, who reached the semi finals of the CIB PSA World Championships last week, had to dig deep to fight back and grind out a 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 victory which will see him take on World No.6 Momen in the next round.

Momen, who ended the run of wildcard Aly Abou Eleinen in his third round tie at the El Gouna Squash Complex, lost out to Coll in a brutal 122-minute contest at the quarter finals of the World Championships.

Coll played tribute to another superb performance from Mueller, saying: “He played very well tonight and he wasn’t missing much.

“It’s quite different tonight, it is not often you come from a normal court that is colder than an outdoor court, so it definitely took some adjusting.

“It was a good match for me, I felt like I was finding my range but he kept coming at me, hitting great shot after great shot. I’m very happy with that, it’s my first match on the glass and I am very happy to be through.

“I did some stuff in the gym [since the World Champs] to get my body back in 100 per cent shape. I did a few weights, a few mobility sessions, a couple of solo hits and just some good stuff on court, nothing too intense. It was about recovering my body as quickly as possible.”

Mohamed ElShorbagy in action against veteran Borja Golan

The other match at the glass court saw defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy hold off Spanish veteran Borja Golan by an 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 scoreline.

The 39-year-old Golan was contesting his 16th PSA Tour match against the World No.3 after upsetting Miguel Rodriguez in a huge battle in the previous round and pushed ‘The Beast’ hard, but ElShorbagy held firm to come through in three.

In the last eight the World Championship runner-up ElShorbagy will play Fares Dessouky, who beat Frenchman Baptiste Masotti. ElShorbagy overcame Canary Wharf champion Dessouky in the quarter finals of the World Championships last week.

ElShorbagy told the crowd: “I was not in a very good place mentally for a big part of this season.

“I feel like I am getting my mojo back, my hunger back. Certainly, the Worlds was a good start, it is a shame because we are almost at the end of the season, and I feel like I want to start this season again.

“I just want to finish on a good note, and let’s see what I can do. I was a few points away last week, so let’s see if I can get those few more points this week.”

Nour El Tayeb sets up a forehand drive against Gina Kennedy

In the women’s event, World No.28 Nour El Tayeb has reached the quarter finals of this tournament for the first time since 2019 after she held off England’s determined Georgina Kennedy.

A strong showing from El Tayeb saw her power into a 2-0 lead and, but Kennedy, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the rankings in the past year, played superbly to win the third.

Former world No.3 El Tayeb needed to call on all her experience as she won a nailbiting fourth game to complete a 14-12, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9 victory.

“Maybe I wasn’t prepared mentally for this, but in the fourth I was thinking already about my flight back home to Farida [daughter], and I think this made me relax a bit,” El Tayeb said.

“I’m glad to be in another quarter final, I’m super happy to have a day off tomorrow, I need to relax and take some time off before I can go again in two days.

“I want to win matches like this rather than lose and go back with less confidence. Winning this match gives me a lot of confidence, even though it wasn’t the best squash in the world.”

Tinne Gilis battles on in El Gouna

El Tayeb’s quarter final opponent will be Belgium’s Tinne Gilis, who put in a superb performance to oust World No.16 Nada Abbas.

Gilis followed up her second round upset of No.4 seed Amanda Sobhy with aplomb and will attempt to reach a first ever PSA World Tour Platinum semi final when she takes on the Egyptian on Tuesday.

“I am just enjoying my squash so much,” said Gilis. “I was injured last year, I wasn’t out for too long but it just made me think a lot. I was just happy to back on court and I told myself to enjoy my time on court and enjoy every day.

“Every day is different, even if I have a bad day, I can have a good day tomorrow. I am seeing every day as a new day and a new start.”

The other two winners were World No.1 Nouran Gohar and World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry, and they will go head-to-head in the quarter finals following wins over Malaysia’s Aifa Azman and Scotland’s Lisa Aitken.

Aitken made Perry work hard for her victory, with the scoreline (11-8, 11-5, 16-14) showing how close things were.

2022 El Gouna International, El Gouna, Egypt.

Men’s Third Round (Top Half):
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (68m)
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [WC] Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-1 (27m)
[8] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 3-1: 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 (55m)
[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (46m)

Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half, May 30):
[3] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v Joel Makin (WAL)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [5] Diego Elias (PER)
[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Mahesh Mangaonkar (EGY)
Raphael Kandra (GER) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)

Men’s Quarter Finals (Top Half, May 31):
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) v [6] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[8] Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Women’s Third Round (Top Half):
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (28m)
[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 16-14 (40m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-1: 14-12, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9 (41m)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-4 (40m)

Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half, May 30):
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Rachel Arnold (MAS)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) v [5] Joelle King (NZL)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (EGY) v Donna Lobban (AUS)
Nele Gilis (BEL) v [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

Women’s Quarter Finals (Top Half, May 31):
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour 


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