8:50 am
16 Jul 2024

Kiwis King & Coll Make Windy City Semis

1 Mar 2022

New Zealand duo Joelle King and Paul Coll booked their places in the semi finals of the Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family after a day of drama at the University Club of Chicago.

King, the world No.6, will take on world No.2 Nouran Gohar in the last four of the women's event after she battled to a 12-10, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6 victory over No.4 seed Amanda Sobhy of the USA after 66 minutes of exciting squash.

The 33-year-old was returning to the scene of her first PSA World Tour Platinum final, where she finished as a runner-up in 2018, and she had won eight of her nine matches with Sobhy on the tour. Buoyed by her home crowd, USA No.1 Sobhy fought back from a game down to take the lead, but was unable to press home her advantage as King fought back to make it five wins on the bounce against Sobhy.

"I think I'm loving five-setters, every match this week has gone to five games," said King.

"I've had lapses of concentration. Obviously playing against a class opponent like Amanda, she just never gave it to me, the last part of that fifth was just a blur and I just thought if I'm going to go down, then go down swinging, and it just went my way today.

"I love the Sobhy family, I stay with their dad when I got to Cairo, they're like a second family to me, and unfortunately someone has to lose, so next time who knows?"

King and Gohar will go head-to-head for the 10th time on the PSA World Tour. Gohar has won five of their nine matches so far and will look to make it three in a row following her dominant 11-4, 11-9, 11-1 win against England's Georgina Kennedy, who was appearing in her maiden PSA Platinum quarter final.

"To beat Georgina 3/0, you definitely have to be at your best," said Gohar.

"She's the one to watch right now. Thankfully I've played her a few times now, we played last month and it's never easy, even if it's 3/0. The second game was crucial for me to close it and have a big lead because she's always pushing, even when she's down. I have lots of respect for her, but I'm glad I had a game plan, I executed it pretty well and I'm looking forward to the semi final match."

In the men's event, Coll will take on former World Champion Tarek Momen in the last four following their respective wins against Welshman Joel Makin and world No.9 Fares Dessouky.

Coll, who will become the first male Kiwi to go to world No.1 today (March 1), was immaculate against Makin as he achieved an 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 victory. Their previous encounter saw Makin hold a 2/1 lead before sadly retiring from the match due to injury, but an upset was never on the cards today in Chicago as a focused Coll went about his work with the minimum of fuss.

"It's [becoming world No.1] a dream come true, it's going to be a great day," said Coll, who was runner up at the 2020 edition of the Windy City Open.

"I can't wait to wake up but I have a job to do, we'll enjoy it as a team tomorrow and then quickly focus on the match tomorrow night. It's going to be a battle, he [Momen] looked like he was playing well tonight, so I'll have to be on my game. I'll enjoy the win tonight, have some dinner and relax and focus on that match tomorrow, it's going to be a big match, but I'll be ready."

World No.5 Momen ground out a five-game victory over Dessouky by an 11-2, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7 scoreline. There were plenty of traffic issues and arguments with the referee throughout the 75-minute contest, but Momen rose above all of that and kept his head well to seal a place in the semi finals of the Windy City Open for the third time.

"I always like to play free-flowing matches and today I got sucked into a game I'm not comfortable with,' Momen said.

"Fares is such a good friend of mine and such a good player, the artillery he has is unreal and unfortunately sometimes when we have to have discussions with the referee, it's not how I want to play. I'm not blaming him for it, but I felt like we both were not comfortable with it. Seeing that I was almost knocked out first round, I'm very happy to be here. I've brought my family all the way from Egypt, so I didn't want it to be an early week.