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23 Jun 2024

Coll Claims 20th Tour Title With Canary Wharf Hat-Trick

18 Mar 2023

New Zealand's Paul Coll secured a third GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic title when he came from behind to defeat Welshman Joel Makin in a high-quality final of the PSA World Tour Gold event celebrating its 20th year at the iconic East Wintergarden in London. The triumph also marked the 20th Tour title of the Kiwi's career.

The pair had faced off against each other in the second round of the Black Ball Open in Cairo just 14 days earlier. On that occasion, Makin secured a surprise victory, en-route to making the semi-finals.

It was the Welshman who got off to a flying start in the opening game in London. His new brand of attacking squash was the key to that, and he won eight of the opening ten points of the match. Coll tried to fight back, making the rallies longer, with one of them being more than 150 seconds. However, the Welshman was able to win the opening 11-7 after a solid 20 minutes of action.

The Kiwi showed his fighting qualities in the second game, battling back to level the match at one game apiece. He did so by showing the capacity crowd the level of squash that took him to the summit of the world rankings, with his short play being at its best.

The former world No.1 continued to show his class in the third game, and with Makin starting to hit more errors, all Coll had to do was keep the ball in play at times. The Kiwi hit some great winners in the back half of the game to take control of the contest. Makin had some treatment in between games, and also called for a new ball at the start of the fourth.

The new ball extended proceedings in the fourth game, with the first six points lasting 20 minutes. It was Coll who won all six of them, going on to win the fourth game 11-4 to claim a third East Wintergarden title triumph.

"It's amazing," said the jubilant Kiwi afterwards. "Last week I was struggling a bit, to be honest mentally after Black Ball [and the] last five months. I haven't felt myself on court. So it was a big week for me to find myself on court and find my game that got me to No.1. This week was huge for me," Coll said.

"I owe it all to my whole team. So many people that got me going in the right direction last week. This tournament was just fully for them. Today actually, to be honest, when I woke up this morning, I thought I'm just going to do this for them. Everybody who put a lot of time in to me and made sure I was okay and picked me up [through] some dark times on tour.

"So this is one of the best feelings I've had ever, to be honest. It's a really, really cool win for me and a huge milestone. Different feeling [to winning the British Open], that are obviously pinnacles and dreams come true. This was something... a different sort of milestone in my career. It's a new thing for me.

"I rate Joel highly and how good he is and I could lose to him on any day of the week. It was how I lost [at Black Ball], how I was playing. It wasn't me on court. That's what probably got me the most. It's what pissed me off the most.

"I've got three weeks now, I've planned my whole season around, these tournaments so I've got three weeks, go back training, going to go to Birmingham early train with my coach. I'm just going to focus on myself, continue the squash that I've played here, this mindset, this brand of squash that got me to the top and got me winning the last two British Opens

"I'll give it everything. But you know, there are some quality players playing at the moment the top five, top six, I mean, Joel's ten in the world and look at what he's doing this week. Nothing's going to be easy. Nothing's going to be taken for granted. I'm going to come in with a very clear head and, very confident in my abilities and how I play squash."

Makin said: "I tried to put that match together as best I could. All credit to Paul, I came out really well, I got my tactics right and I was disrupting him but he nullified that really well in the second. He started to get into that metronomic pace he gets into. He got a better grip of that backhand side than I did, so I can't complain."