Tuesday, February 7, 2023

ToC Squash 2023: Paul Coll leads seeds through in New York

Three-time J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winner Nour El Sherbini ended home hopes, as she got the better of US No.1 Amanda Sobhy in a four-game, semi-final battle in New York.

The six-time World Champion showed her class in the opening two games of the contest, keeping the American in the back two corners, and not allowing her to attack like she can.

The third game saw Sobhy fight back, and with the boisterous home crowd getting behind their No.1, she was able to take the third game. El Sherbini saved game ball at 10-9 down, but was unable to do the same in the tie-break, with Sobhy winning it 13-11.

The energy from the crowd was unable to keep Sobhy going into the fourth game though, as the three-time TOC winner started the fourth game in rapid fashion. El Sherbini went on to win the fourth 11-5 to secure victory, and to continue her incredible run of reaching the semi-final every time she plays in New York City.

“It was a very tough game. Amanda was playing amazing in the third and she came back, she was 2-0 down, to come back fighting and wanted to win the game and the match,” the Egyptian said.

“I was very frustrated to lose the third game but Greg [Gaultier, El Sherbini’s coach] told me to forget this game and focus on the fourth and to think point by point, and I think the start of the fourth was important and I got a big lead and that made the difference.

“I’m still playing, of course I want another title. The ToC is a special tournament for me. I play my best squash here, it was my first ever Platinum event win and it’s a lucky place for me, so hopefully I can get another one.”

El Sherbini will take on compatriot Hania El Hammamy for the seventh time in the last twelve months, after the World No.3 defeated England’s Georgina Kennedy in straight games in the opening match of the evening’s play.

Diego Elias
Diego Elias took another step towards the final

In the men’s draw, top seed Paul Coll was in imperious form to get the better of Egyptian Fares Dessouky, and to book his spot in the semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

Dessouky had taken victory in their last meeting, at the Grasshopper Cup in a best-of-three contest, but in this battle under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal, Coll was on form. He took a 6-0 lead in both of the opening two games, and although the World No.8 fought back to a tie-break in the first it did not stop the Kiwi.

Coll won the second to double his advantage, and despite a stoppage in play early in the second, when Dessouky had to go off court for a blood injury, the Kiwi could not be stopped. He went on to win the third game 11-6 to secure the win in straight games and to move into the last four.

“I did all my preparations, mentally and physically so I was bang up for this match and feeling good.”said Coll.

“He can hit a nick or an amazing shot at any stage so my accuracy was crucial and I was very happy with that tonight. I was happy with my front and back court game, I’m really enjoying the court, so it felt good tonight.

“I believe it’s my first semi-final at ToC, so pumped for that tomorrow. I’m playing my good friend Diego [Elias], we won’t be friends on court tomorrow but we’ll play it in the right spirit, it’ll be hard and tough and a good one for the crowd.”

He will now face good friend and No.4 seed Diego Elias in the last four of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, after last year’s runner-up defeated former World Champion Tarek Momen in their quarter final contest.

Men’s Quarter Final (Bottom Half) Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[4] Diego Elias (PER) bt [6] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (49m)
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [8] Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-3, 11-6 (50m)
Men’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Wednesday, January 25
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
[4] Diego Elias (PER) v [1] Paul Coll (NZL)
Women’s Quarter Final (Bottom Half) Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-3 (33m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [5] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 11-8, 11-3, 11-13, 11-5 (47m)
Women’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Wednesday, January 25
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [4] Joelle King (NZL)
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

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