R3: Paul Coll 3-2 Omar Mosaad

[4] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-2 [12] Omar Mosaad (Egy)       9-11, 14-12, 11-9, 6-11, 16-14 (119m)

Coll survives marathon encounter to deny Mosaad

Mammoth of a match. No other way to describe it.

When we started, the score board showed 5m and we were still at 1/0… I thought for a moment, Geoff Hunt and Jahangir were back on court….

Seriously, lengthy, truly gruelling rallies, with Omar sticking to Paul’s relentless pace/intensity. 4/1 to Paul, 5/5, then Omar’s turn to lead, 7/5, 9/6, taking the game 11/9 on his third game ball. 25 m… Yop, that was the opener…

The second is probably the crucial one. Close, very close the whole way, and nothing between them at the business end, 6/6, 8/8, 9/9. Game ball for Omar, tin. Another game ball for Omar, tin. Game ball to Paul, tin. Nobody wanted that game. There will be another game ball opportunity for Omar, 12/11, but no dice and it’s the New Zealander, with a huuuuge shout that takes it 14/12, 24m…

If Omar is hurting mentally at the start of the third, 4/1 down, 7/3, he just recovers and claws back to 7/8. But game ball to Paul, 10/7, and a little clipping of the tin allowing the Kiwi to lead 2/1, 11/9 in 16m.

The fourth is the quickest, 11m, with Omar flying off the whole game, 4/0, 6/2, 8/4, 11/6. “0/0 Balle au centre” as we say in French…

The fifth is epic. 36m. Seriously, after the games they played, they had energy to fight 36m more minutes… lunatics, both of them I tell you…

3/1 for Omar, playing the best squash he’s played for year, patient, yet positive, attacking and retrieving beautifully, and Paul, being Paul, you have to win the point around 15 times to close the rally. Incredible show out there.

3/3, 8/5 for the Kiwi, the crowd is chanting Omar’s name, it’s surreal really, 10/7 match ball. A video decision gives the Egyptian a life line, 8/10. But he is cramping, the left quad. How he wins the next two points, we’ll never know!!!! 10/10, the crowd is chanting again!!!

Video decisions galore – the ref doesn’t want to take the risk to get it wrong, and that’s good – also, video challenges from the players, it’s all happening, while both of them fly and dive all over the court, finding winners that are saved, then counterattacks that make the court soo big.

Omar will have two chances, 13/12, 14/13 – Paul sees that one down, but the ref calls it good – but it’s finally the All Black that gets the quarters spot on his 6th match ball on a video referee no let for Omar.

Extraordinary to see that battle, I feel privileged, and I know Omar will be awfully disappointed but seeing him play that well is for the highlight of the week so far.

Welcome back Hammer, squash missed you.

 

Paul

“I am very relieved because it was really scrappy squash there at the end. There wasn’t many flowing rallies so it became tough mentally and the ball was getting soft, so I just had to keep it together and I am happy that I came through out the other side.

“I knew I just had to keep on it mentally and I always thought that I should have closed it out earlier. It got a bit scrappy and I lost my squash and I lost what I was doing. In the end, I got a bit more positive, a bit more aggressive and I took the game to him and I was happy to close it out on that final match ball.

“I had to just survive. I had to chase down everything and do whatever I can do, making sure the ball was never going to bounce twice. I nearly let it slip, he had cramps and still managed to save two match balls, which was quite annoying!

“I have two hours sessions work at home, I was fine physically at the end, I will be fine tomorrow, that’s not an issue for me. I need to go and see the physio now, get some food in me and maybe go to the pool. I need to recover as much as I can. Physically I was feeling alright, it was just mentally that it was tiring.”