Coll & Elshorbagy Set to Renew Rivalry At El Gouna
1 Jun 2022
World No.1 Paul Coll and world No.3 Mohamed Elshorbagy will lock horns in the semi-finals of the 2022 El Gouna International less than a fortnight after their feisty last four marathon battle at the PSA World Championships in Cairo.
The pair beat world No.6 Tarek Momen and world No.10 Fares Dessouky, respectively, at the El Gouna Conference & Culture Center to ensure they will go head-to-head in a repeat of last year's El Gouna final, which the Egyptian won to lift his second trophy in El Gouna.
Following their World Championship match, Elshorbagy - who won the fixture - criticised Coll's coach Rob Owen for his comments in an interview published prior to the event where Owen said no one would beat Coll if the Kiwi played well. Elshorbagy deemed it one of the most 'stupid' articles he had ever read and there are sure to be fireworks when the pair go head-to-head in El Gouna on Thursday evening.
"Honestly, I feel like anyone who says that Paul [Coll] was tired against me in the semi-final [of the World Championship] doesn't have any experience whatsoever," said Elshorbagy.
"When you're world No.1, you're the fittest player on tour, how many matches did I play like that when I was world No.1? If someone says that Paul maybe was shaky in the semis with the pressure of being seeded No.1 and world No.1, I understand that. Because he definitely had that."
Speaking after his win over Momen - which came less than two weeks after their 122-minute World Championship epic - Coll said: "I had to believe in my game and that what I did last week was going to be the right tactic still and not try to change anything. Last week was a brutal match, I was actually trying for 123 minutes in this match!
"It was a great battle last week and a great battle this week. The scorelines were tight, still long and tough conditions. I always enjoy playing Tarek, we always have great battles and we've had some huge ones in the past. I'm just happy not to have smashed the body after tonight."
El Tayeb has raised her game consistently since making her return to the sport last December following the birth of her daughter, and continued her progress as she dismantled world No.11 Gilis in just 26 minutes to reach the last four of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time since October 2020.
"I'm hoping to be better than I was, because I didn't want to come back just to be like I was before I stopped," El Tayeb said afterwards.
"I feel I'm getting better. Maybe my consistency is still the thing I'm not so sure about, but I was happy to have a rest day yesterday. I feel like I needed that after three hard games. I'm very happy to be in the semi-final once again. I'm very much looking forward to being hopefully back in the top four of the world."
Gohar was also in red-hot form as the World Championship runner-up dispatched world No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry in straight games on an evening which saw the temperature rise to a scorching 33 degrees Celsius.
"I always like to play in warm, hot conditions," Gohar said.
"It really suits my game, but honestly that was really warm for me. So I can't imagine for other players how bad it is, because it's usually the end of April [when El Gouna takes place]. These 30 days make a big difference. I can't really complain about it because if it suits anyone, it suits me more, so I'm happy with that."