Coll & El Hammamy Capture Hong Kong Open Crowns
3 Dec 2023
Paul Coll and Hania El Hammamy were crowned the 2023 TTI Milwaukee Hong Kong Open champions after defeating Ali Farag and Amanda Sobhy, respectively, to secure the PSA World Tour Platinum titles at the Cultural Plaza.
Coll defeated Farag in an epic five-game battle to become the first male New Zealander to be victorious in Hong Kong, which was his second major title of the season having defeated the Egyptian at the US Open.
It was the third time this campaign that Coll and Farag went head-to-head and the quality from both has been of the highest order. Both players were pushing high up the court from the off, with Farag drawing first blood by taking the opening game 12-10.
Coll found great success with the forehand drop in the front right corner as he levelled the match before going 2/1 up by clinching the third 11-8.
Having been under huge pressure from Coll in the third, Farag roared back as he held his nerve to level the match and send the epic encounter into a decider. Both players were going point for point right up to 9-9 when a no let decision went in Coll's favour to give him championship ball. The Kiwi converted following an error from Farag to score the 22nd Tour title of his career.
"I'm stoked," said Coll afterwards. "After US Open I was preparing for this one - I had Singapore as well but this was my main target. I really wanted to target the Platinums this year and I've got my team with me to try and win that.
"I'm happy with my performances - not just tonight but all week. I've really tried to play some aggressive squash and this brand that I'm going for.
"To get a second Platinum of the season is very good for my confidence with the way that I'm playing. I want to keep that going for the rest of the season."
In the women's final, El Hammamy retained her crown in circumstances she wouldn't have wanted after Sobhy was forced to retire in the first game due to injury.
The score was locked at 5-5 when the US No.1 went down and was unable to continue.
It's the 13th title of El Hammamy's career and her second Platinum title of the season, having scooped the Qatar Classic back in September.
When asked how she was feeling after the final, Hammamy replied; "Not great. I've never defended a title before and I've always wanted to do that, but I never got the chance. This is definitely not the way I wanted it to be, defending my title.
"It's devastating what happened on court - we were midway through the first game, it was very close and all of a sudden I see her on the floor crying.
"It's very sad, I feel bad and I don't feel great, to be honest. It's not a title I want to celebrate, but I want to wish her a speedy recovery."