Tuesday, February 7, 2023

World no.2 Paul Coll ‘sick of home heroes’ after tricky Hong Kong Open progress

By MIKE DALE and SEAN REUTHE (PSA) in Hong Kong

World no.2 Paul Coll joked he was “sick of home heroes” after weathering a storm against crowd favourite Tsz Kwan Lau in the third round of the Hong Kong Open on Thursday.

Lau, appearing in the last 16 of a Platinum event for the first time, tested the New Zealander in a lengthy first game courtesy of some sublime attacking shots. However, Coll was ultimately able to dig out a 12-14, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 victory over the world no.60 to reach the last eight of this tournament for the second time.

On a day when all eight matches went the way of the higher seeds, Hong Kong’s sole remaining representative in the women’s draw, Tsz-Wing Tong, also went out – to world no.2 Nour El Sherbini in rapid fashion.

No doubt referring to his September defeat to another home favourite, Abdulla Al-Tamimi, at the Qatar Classic, Coll said: “I’m getting sick of playing the local heroes who want to play awesome against me!

“He came out of the blocks super quick and maybe I was a fraction short on my lengths. It was a bit annoying that I couldn’t squeeze the first at the end there. It was a tie-break situation and I normally back myself there. I knew I had to get it a bit deeper because anything half court was going in with quality.

“It [playing in front of a home crowd] can either relax you or make you more tense. It obviously relaxed him today and it looked like he was enjoying it out there. It’s great to see these young guys coming through and enjoying their squash in front of their home crowd. It’s great we’ve got Hong Kong back on.”

Marwan ElShorbagy overcomes ‘dangerous’ Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais

Coll will take on fifth seed Marwan ElShorbagy for a place in the semi-finals after the Egyptian defeated Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 11-1.

“Sebastien is a very good player,” said ElShorbagy. “We played in Dutch league a few weeks ago and he was able to get the win, so I knew how dangerous this match would be.

“He was really solid throughout. I had to win the points, he didn’t give me anything, so I’m really happy to contain him. It’s a tricky court as well, so I’m pleased with my overall performance.”

World no.4 Mostafa Asal and World no.10 Victor Crouin will go up against each other after they achieved respective wins against Yahya Elnawasany and Aly Abou Eleinen. Egypt’s Eleinen took in-form Crouin into a fifth after the Frenchman clipped the tin repeatedly in a marathon fourth, before Eleinen succumbed to cramp in the decider.

Nour El Sherbini is back into her stride in round three

In the women’s event, El Sherbini recovered from a slow start to the tournament as she defeated Tong 11-1, 11-7, 11-5 in 23 minutes.

The 2017 Hong Kong Open champion uncharacteristically struggled to a 3-2 win over fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin in the previous round, but put in a much more accomplished display here. She said: “Sometimes you need a tough match to get you back on the move and wake you up a little bit. The first round helped motivate me and make me play better today.”

Nele Gilis has found real momentum in the PSA Tour’s ‘Asian swing’

Belgium’s Nele Gilis will be her quarter-final opponent after she comfortably overcame Egypt’s Yathreb Adel. Gilis, who became the first Belgian woman to reach the top 10 on Monday off the back of her Malaysian Open triumph, will aim to get her first win against El Sherbini after four previous 3-0 defeats against the six-time world champion.

Gilis said: “Yathreb and I have played all throughout juniors and she chopped me every single time. So to get the win today in three is a very good result. I always had to stay focused because she’s one of the most talented players on tour.”

Elsewhere, there were wins for New Zealand’s Joelle King and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry. King ended world no.64 Katie Malliff’s excellent run, while Perry survived a third-game comeback from Scotland’s world no.31 Lisa Aitken to progress in four.

2022 EVERBRIGHT SECURITIES INTERNATIONAL HONG KONG SQUASH OPEN

Men’s Third Round results (Bottom Half):

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 (34m)

[7] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 3-2: 6-11, 11-9, 11-3, 13-15, 11-2 (76m)

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 11-1 (43m)

[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 3-1: 12-14, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (49m)

Men’s Quarter-Final draw (2 December)

[2] Diego Elias (PER) v [8] Youssef Soliman (EGY)

[6] Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG)

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [7] Victor Crouin (FRA)

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [1] Paul Coll (NZL)

Women’s Third Round results (bottom half)

[4] Joelle King (NZL) bt Katie Malliff (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-4, 11-5 (32m)

[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-1: 11-8, 11-5, 3-11, 11-9 (37m)

Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (30m)

[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-0: 11-1, 11-7, 11-5 (23m)

Women’s Quarter-Final draw (2 December)

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Satomi Watanabe (JPN)

[5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)

[4] Joelle King (NZL) v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)

Nele Gilis (BEL) v [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

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