10:09 pm
24 May 2024

Crouin Crowns Coll At Canary Wharf Classic

15 Mar 2022

France's Victor Crouin claimed the biggest win of his career when he sent world No.1 Paul Coll out of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic in the second round at London's East Wintergarden.

The world No.21 had never before taken a game off the New Zealander, but the best-of-three format - which is used at this PSA World Tour Gold event up to and including the quarter finals - worked to his advantage as he caught the defending champion off guard.

22-year-old Crouin started well, finding aggressive lines and taking his opportunities going short and coupled with some uncharacteristic errors from Coll was able to take the first game, 11-7.

The confidence stayed with Crouin in the second as he moved Coll, who beat Ali Farag in last year's final, into all four corners of the court to rattle off six successive points to come from behind to win 11-7, 11-7 in 36 minutes.

The win makes Crouin the first player outside the world top 20 to beat Coll since England's Chris Simpson in 2016.

"My game plan was just to win one game," said Crouin in his post-match interview. "We played four times last season and I didn't get one game. After yesterday, it was the first time I'd played best of three and I didn't like it as it takes away the endurance of the game, but today I just beat Paul Coll in two games, so I think I like it now!

"Paul's No.1 because of his consistency, so I'm glad I could break that today but he's world No.1 and I'm sure he'll stay there for a while and everyone is chasing him. I was just trying to improve my game and be more consistent competing against these players and get some results this season so I can be among them to get to top 15, top 10 and someday world No.1."

Crouin will face Egypt's Mazen Hesham for a place in the last four after he defeated England's Patrick Rooney 11-9, 11-9 in the last match of the day.

The Englishman gave a good account of himself in his first year at the event, but ultimately fine margins proved the difference with Hesham dangerous as always with his shot making to reach the last eight.

"Today was really difficult. I've never felt that drained mentally just to come and play," admitted Hesham. "I wasn't going to come and play today, I felt a massive setback after my match against Diego [Elias] in Wimbledon. I'm glad of how I came back today, even with all the nerves I can win, it's my first win on this court actually.

"With best of three, you can see it's very intense. It's better for some players than others, you can play a bit down, even the last few shots here I was shaky, I wouldn't go for winners. We saw it today with Paul, but Victor is playing amazingly well, he's up and coming, the same as Patrick, and it's only a matter of time before they're challenging us."

Meanwhile, it will be an all-Egyptian affair in the other quarter-final from the top half of the draw after former World Champion Tarek Momen and world No.10 Fares Dessouky claimed respective wins over England's Adrian Waller and Colombia's Miguel Rodriguez.

Momen was put to the test against an accurate Waller, who took the first game 14-12 on the tie-break. However, the 2019 runner-up was able to get his accuracy back in the next two games to adapt and come out on top in the unpredictable best-of-three format.

"Adrian played really well today, he was really sharp apart from a few errors here and there," said Momen.

"I, on the other hand, couldn't get the ball to the back of the court for some reason, it's no excuse for a professional player to not be able to adapt for three games but I think I got better in the end. He helped me a little bit with some errors at crucial times but overall, I think he played well, and I kept improving which is a good thing.

"It's always tough to play best of three, there's a lot of pressure on me being the higher seed but I'm happy that I handled my nerves and eventually got to sneak the win in the end."

Dessouky, meanwhile, was in dazzling form against Rodriguez, who enjoyed a good win over England's former world No.1 James Willstrop in the previous round.

The Egyptian moved around the court with ease, showing off his spectacular array of shots much to the delight of the crowd inside East Wintergarden as he secured an 11-7, 11-9 victory in 30 minutes.

"Miguel played very well, he's very entertaining," said Dessouky afterwards. "I always enjoy playing him and he's a good friend of mine and it's always nice to play a very clean match.

"I'm feeling very well, I started moving really well and smooth so I'm happy. I'm still gaining confidence throughout the matches, so this is the best thing. I'm very happy to be here, I always enjoy this tournament. I've been in the final before and I'm hoping to be there again."