9:40 am
16 Jul 2024

Thrilling Comeback Sees Kiwi Coll Into World Semis

21 Jul 2021

New Zealander Paul Coll battled through to the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family after mounting a thrilling comeback from two games down to overcome 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad at the University Club of Chicago.

The 29-year-old world No.4 was the runner-up at the 2019-20 PSA World Championships in Doha back in November 2019 and will now look to become only the second Kiwi male ever to reach two World Championship finals following a 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 victory over world No.6 Gawad in 91 minutes.

Gawad's shot-making abilities were in full flow in the first two games but the Egyptian tailed off physically as Coll came back into the encounter. The New Zealander will now take on world No.2 Mohamed Elshorbagy for a place in the final.

"I actually felt good," Coll said.

"The first two I was up 7-5 or 7-6 but didn't convert and then he went up 4-0 in the third and I was thinking 'what is going on'? But I told myself to trust my game and not to get caught up in trying to change to plan B, to trust my 'A' game instead. It was working in the first two games, just not quite at the end [of them].

"He is such a classy player, I love watching him so it is a pleasure to play him, he is one of the best ball strikers on tour, so it is so difficult. I will do some recovery tonight, I train this hard back at home to prepare for these sort of matches so I can back up the next day. I'll jump in the ice bath, smash a lot of food and I'll be fine."

Elshorbagy is now just one win away from overthrowing Ali Farag as the men's world No.1 following an 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 victory over world No.7 Fares Dessouky. Elshorbagy will take the No.1 spot in the August rankings if he reaches the final, while a defeat to Coll in the semi-finals would leave Farag needing to win the event to hold onto the coveted ranking.

The form book is certainly in Elshorbagy's favour with eight wins to Coll's one, however Coll did claim his sole win over the Bristol-based Egyptian at the University Club of Chicago during the 2020 Windy City Open.

"I came here for two jobs, to get world No.1 back and to win the World Championship," said Elshorbagy.

"There is one more match for the first job and two more matches for the second job. I'm really looking forward to that. To all of my opponents, 'The Beast' is back, and I'm not going anywhere."

Nouran Gohar continued her charge to the World Championship trophy and the women's world No.1 spot as she dispatched New Zealand's world No.8 Joelle King by an 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 margin.

Gohar will take over as world No.1 spot from Nour El Sherbini if she matches or beats her compatriot's results at this tournament, meaning there is still the tantalising prospect of the pair facing off for the ranking and the World Championship crown in the final on Thursday.

"Sometimes I wasn't finding my length, but I was really happy to adapt again in the fourth game. I really enjoyed the match, it was fun to play," said Gohar, who now faces France's Camille Serme.

"I think I have played Camille in one or two World Championships quarter-finals, and I always enjoy playing against her. It is really tough and we have great battles, so I am really looking forward to it tomorrow."

World No.4 Camille Serme reached a fifth World Championship semi-final after putting in a composed performance to beat Egypt's world No.9 Salma Hany.

"I was trying use the experience more than the pressure today," Serme said.

"As you could see, she is very talented and she can hit very nice drop shots from the back. When you give her an angle she just hits the nick, so I knew there would be some. Most of the time, I was trying to play wide and tight to the wall so I could be in front of her and play my shots."