Hong Kong Home Hopes Expire As Coll & El Sherbini Advance
1 Dec 2022
World No.2s Paul Coll and Nour El Sherbini ended local hopes at the Everbright Securities International Hong Kong Open after they defeated Tsz Kwan Lau and Tsz-Wing Tong, respectively, to advance to the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Platinum event.
New Zealand's Coll has reached the event's last eight for the second time after defeating world No.60 Lau by a 12-14, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 scoreline.
Lau, appearing in the last 16 of a Platinum event for the first time, tested the former world No.1 in the first game courtesy of some sublime attacking shots. However, Coll was ultimately able to weather the storm to seal the win.
"I'm getting sick of playing the local heroes who want to play awesome against me," said Coll.
"He came out of the blocks super quick and maybe I was a fraction short on my lengths. It was a bit annoying that I couldn't squeeze the first at the end there, it was a tie-break situation and I normally back myself there. I knew I had to get it a bit deeper because anything half court was going in with quality.
"It [playing in front of a home crowd] can either relax you or make you more tense. It obviously relaxed him today and it looked like he was enjoying it out there. It's great to see these young guys coming through and enjoying their squash in front of their home crowd, it's great we've got Hong Kong back on."
Coll will take on No.5 seed Marwan ElShorbagy for a place in the semi-finals after the Egyptian defeated Frenchman Sebastien Bonmalais 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 11-1.
"Sebastien is a very good player and we played in Dutch league a few weeks ago and he was able to get the win, so I knew how dangerous this match would be," said ElShorbagy.
"He was really solid throughout. I had to win the points, he didn't give me anything, so I'm really happy to contain him. It's a tricky court as well, so I'm pleased with my overall performance."
World No.4 Mostafa Asal and world No.10 Victor Crouin will lock horns in the last eight after they achieved respective wins over Egyptians Yahya Elnawasany and Aly Abou Eleinen, with Crouin being taken the full distance.
In the women's event, El Sherbini recovered from a slow start in the event as she defeated Tong 11-1, 11-7, 11-5 in 23 minutes.
The 2017 Hong Kong Open champion uncharacteristically struggled to a 3/2 win over fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin in the previous round but put in a much more accomplished display to nullify Tong and run out a comfortable winner.
"It was definitely better than my first round," said El Sherbini.
"I think I played better. I wanted to get my confidence back and play well. I was trying to be relaxed and confident. Sometimes you need a tough match to get you back on the move and wake you up a little bit. The first round helped motivate me and make me play better today."
Gilis, who became the first Belgian woman to reach the top 10 on Monday off the back of her Malaysian Open triumph, will aim to get her first win against El Sherbini after four previous 3/0 defeats against the six-time World Champion.
"I'm very happy with how the match went," said Gilis.
"Yathreb and I have played all throughout juniors and she chopped me every single time. So to get the win today in three is a very good result. I always had to stay focused because she's one of the most talented players on tour, so I'm very happy that I managed to stay focused and finish that in three."