12:34 am
23 Feb 2024

Mueller Tests Coll As Kiwi Makes El Gouna Quarters

30 May 2022

World No.1 Paul Coll reached the quarter finals of the 2022 El Gouna International after narrowly overcoming Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller on the glass court at the El Gouna Conference & Culture Center in the Egyptian Red Sea resort.

2021 El Gouna runner-up Coll, who reached last week's PSA World Championships semi-finals, looked out of sorts and had to contend with an inspired performance from Mueller, who played solid, consistent squash to take a one-game lead.

However, Coll had enough to come back and grind out a 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 victory which will see him take on world No.6 Tarek Momen in the next round. Momen, who ended the run of wildcard Aly Abou Eleinen in his third round fixture at the El Gouna Squash Complex, lost out to Coll in a brutal 122-minute contest at the quarter finals of the World Championships.

"He played very well tonight and he wasn't missing much," said Coll.

"It's quite different tonight, it is not often you come from a normal court that is colder than an outdoor court, so it definitely took some adjusting. It was a good match for me, I felt like I was finding my range but he kept coming at me, hitting great shot after great shot. I'm very happy with that, it's my first match on the glass and I am very happy to be through.

"I did some stuff in the gym [since World Champs] to get my body back in 100 per cent shape. I did a few weights, a few mobility sessions, a couple of solo hits and just some good stuff on court, nothing too intense. It was about recovering my body as quickly as possible."

The other match at the glass court saw defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy hold off Spanish veteran Borja Golan by an 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 scoreline. 39-year-old Golan was contesting his 16th PSA Tour match against the world No.3 after upsetting Miguel Rodriguez in a huge battle in the previous round. The Spaniard pushed 'The Beast' hard, but Elshorbagy held firm to come through in three.

The World Championship runner-up will play Fares Dessouky in the last eight after the No.8 seed beat Frenchman Baptiste Masotti. Elshorbagy overcame Dessouky in the quarter finals of the World Championships last week.

"I was not in a very good place mentally for a big part of this season," said Elshorbagy.

"I feel like I am getting my mojo back, my hunger back. Certainly, the Worlds was a good start, it is a shame because we are almost at the end of the season, and I feel like I want to start this season again. I just want to finish on a good note, and let's see what I can do. I was a few points away last week, so let's see if I can get those few more points this week."

In the women's event, world No.28 Nour El Tayeb reached the quarter finals of the event for the first time since 2019 after holding off England's Georgina Kennedy.

A strong showing from El Tayeb saw her power into a 2/0 lead and, while Kennedy was able to reduce the deficit, the former world No.3 scrapped to victory in a nail-biting fourth game to complete a 14-12, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9 victory.

"Maybe I wasn't prepared mentally for this, but in the fourth I was thinking already about my flight back home to Farida [daughter], and I think this made me relax a bit," El Tayeb said.

"I'm glad to be in another quarter final, I'm super happy to have a day off tomorrow, I need to relax and take some time off before I can go again in two days. I want to win matches like this rather than lose and go back with less confidence. Winning this match gives me a lot of confidence, even though it wasn't the best squash in the world."

El Tayeb's quarter final opponent will be Belgium's Tinne Gilis, who put in another superb performance to oust world No.16 Nada Abbas.

Gilis followed up her second round upset of No.4 seed Amanda Sobhy with aplomb and will attempt to reach a first ever PSA World Tour Platinum semi final when she takes on the Egyptian on Tuesday.

"I am just enjoying my squash so much," said Gilis.

"I was injured last year, I wasn't out for too long but it just made me think a lot. I was just happy to back on court and I told myself to enjoy my time on court and enjoy every day. Every day is different, even if I have a bad day, I can have a good day tomorrow. I am seeing every day as a new day and a new start."

The other two women's winners were world No.1 Nouran Gohar and world No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry, and they will go head-to-head in the quarter finals following respective wins over Malaysia's Aifa Azman and Scotland's Lisa Aitken.