Momen & Coll Set Up Surprise Canary Wharf Classic Climax
15 Mar 2019
Egypt's world No.3 Tarek Momen and New Zealand's world No.7 Paul Coll will contest an unexpected Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Classic final after claiming victories over defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy and Mathieu Castagnet, respectively, at East Wintergarden in London.
Third seed Momen's win avenged the defeat to defeat to world No.2 Elshorbagy in last year's final. The 31-year-old from Cairo was in sublime form, winning 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9 to reach the final for the second time.
Momen ended a nine-match losing streak to Elshorbagy with an extraordinary triumph in the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships two weeks ago - and 'The Viper' picked up where he left off in Chicago as he came flying out of the traps to take a comfortable 11-7 victory in the opening game.
Elshorbagy, who was celebrating becoming the youngest player in the modern era to reach 500 PSA Tour matches, stepped up the 'T' in the second to level, but squandered an 8-4 lead in the third to hand the initiative back to his opponent. Momen fell 9-7 behind in the fourth, but held his nerve in front of a packed house at East Wintergarden to overturn that deficit and complete the win.
"I was having déjà vu because only two weeks ago, I was playing Mohamed in the semi-finals of the World Champs, and Raneem had just finished a five-game match, 12-10 in the fifth," Momen said afterwards.
"She lost, and it was very hard for me to go on court and play Mohamed only five minutes after it happened. Today, it was the same scenario. Literally two minutes before I started warming up, their match [El Welily and Gohar at the Black Ball Open] was over.
"I am kind of trying to get this approach where I go on and give 100%. I know I had Mohamed today, I was tired yes, but I just wanted to win and I didn't want to give it up. I want to be the best in the world, and to be the best, I have to perform at my best every single match and every single tournament."
Meanwhile, Coll overcame 2016 champion Mathieu Castagnet to reach a second successive PSA Tour final, winning 12-10, 11-5, 11-6 in 47 minutes.
Castagnet has been one of the surprise packages of this tournament - beating both No.2 seed Simon Rösner and No.7 seed Fares Dessouky - with the best of three format used in previous rounds playing into his hands.
But Coll was too strong for the world No.26 as the Kiwi matched his traditional length hitting with some fine touches at the front of the court to close out the win in straight games.
"I was watching it [Momen v ElShorbagy] while I was warming up," said Coll.
"It was incredible, such high-quality squash in that match. Both players probably deserved to win that match. I am going to have my work cut out tomorrow, but I am looking forward to the challenge against one of the top players in the world.
"I am just going to have to be really alert. He is taking it in so well, with lots of angles and lots of severity. I am going to have to really watch him and be careful where I leave the ball on the court because he can put it away. He is one of the best in the world at putting the ball away."
Coll will appear in the final of this tournament for the first time and will be aiming to win his first PSA Tour title since the 2016 Channel VAS Championships - where he beat Momen in the final.