Tuesday, July 23, 2024

US Open Squash 2023: Paul Coll and Nour El Sherbini claim titles

World No.5 Paul Coll admitted to seeing the finishing line too early as he overcame a two-game comeback from defending champion Ali Farag to become the first New Zealander since 1986 to land the US Open title in Philadelphia.

Coll followed in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi Stuart Davenport as he completed an 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10 victory to end Farag’s run of four straight PSA World Tour Platinum titles and 14-match winning run.

Coll hadn’t beaten Farag in his previous three attempts – including a five game, 96-minute battle in last month’s Paris Squash semi-finals – but produced his finest performance of the season to capture his 21st PSA title and first Platinum silverware since the 2022 British Open.

Farag didn’t make it easy for him, with the Egyptian fighting back from two games down to force a decider – just 24 hours after he overturned a match ball against 2021 runner-up Tarek Momen in the semis – which went all the way to a tie-break.

But Coll wasn’t to be denied as he battled hard to win the next point, before Farag slammed his return of serve into the tin, resulting in jubilant celebrations from the Kiwi.

“I thought he was struggling, but he came back at me and his mentality is a joke. I couldn’t believe the way he reset, I needed to be more solid and I needed to finish him. I’m very happy to close the fifth out like that, my legs felt like concrete.”

Meanwhile, women’s top seed Nour El Sherbini finally got her hands on the US Open trophy after four previous final defeats following a masterclass performance to oust World No.3 Hania El Hammamy by an 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 scoreline.

El Sherbini lost out to El Hammamy in the QTerminals Qatar Classic final last month but got her revenge in Philadelphia to lift her 36th PSA title and her second of the 2023-24 season following her win at the Paris Squash in September.

“Hania wasn’t playing her best, but I had my chances and I didn’t want to give her any cheap points,” said El Sherbini afterwards.

“I think I played well and maybe that’s why she wasn’t at her best, but she kept fighting until the last point. I felt she wanted to win so much, and I have a little bit more experience than her, so I was more relaxed.”

Result – Men’s Final: 2023 U.S. Open presented by TRUIST

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10 (98m)

Result – Women’s Final: 2023 U.S. Open presented by TRUIST

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (35m)

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