Sunday, July 14, 2024

Kiwi double as Paul Coll and Joelle King win Australian Open titles

Joelle King and Paul Coll make it a New Zealand double at the Australian Open
Joelle King and Paul Coll make it a New Zealand double at the Australian Open

Joelle King and Paul Coll take out top seeds in Melbourne
By ROSS SOLLY – Squash Mad Reporter in Melbourne

New Zealand took the honours with a day of double glory in the Australian Open, with Joelle King beating Annie of Hong Kong and Paul Coll achieving a stunning victory over Cameron Pilley,  the Australian number one.

Both Kiwis celebrated after beating the tournament top seeds. The tall King is clearly back on top form after a long spell being out of the game following an operation, winning the final in straight games, while Coll will have received a huge boost to his confidence after a thrilling victory.

The unseeded Coll caused a massive upset by beating Pilley as New Zealand stole the show on finals day in Melbourne.

So convinced was 23-year-old Coll that he couldn’t win the Australian Open, he booked a flight back to New Zealand for Saturday afternoon.

His 11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5 victory is also the first time a New Zealander has won the Australian men’s title.


“I never even imagined being here,” Coll said. “There was massive butterflies before I even started, but as soon as I walked in here I saw the crowd, I knew it was something special.

“But I had nothing to lose, my coach just told me to relax. I’d already done well, so I played with a bit of freedom tonight.”

Pilley, who lost his only other Australian Open final in five games, recently invited Coll to train with him in The Netherlands.

Coll said he hopes the training relationship will continue. “He’s a great guy, and we have some great training sessions together,” Coll said.

“We get on well, I hope he keeps on with me, he’s a really experienced player and I can still learn a hell of a lot from him.”

It was an emotional Joelle King who claimed the women’s title, in just her second tournament back after a serious Achilles injury.

“As soon as I finished the match I got quite emotional,” King said.

“You just remember all the work you’ve done leading up to that moment. It’s been a long ride.”

King is setting her sights on climbing back up the world rankings, after slipping into the 50s since her injury.

She believes her win in Melbourne shows getting back to number four is achievable.

“Definitely, there’s no reason why not,” she said. “Anything is possible, especially when I think back to where I was eight or nine months ago, and where I am now.

“I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement, I’m still not exactly where I want to be – so look out top ten!”


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2015 Australian Open, Melbourne.

Women’s Final: Joelle King [2] (NZL) def Annie Au [1] (HKG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-9.
Men’s Final: Paul Coll (NZL) def Cameron Pilley [1] (AUS) 11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5.


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