SF: Paul Coll 3-2 Marwan ElShorbagy

[4] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-2 [9] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy)    9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 (84m)

Kiwi Coll beats Marwan in five …

Squash matches are the most interesting when two squash style clash. And today, we had the Controller vs Superman. If one knows how to get his opponents on a string and make them visit the four corners, with business class tickets, the other one is just “increvable”, tireless, nearly impossible to pass, so fit it’s unreal, and with an improved short game benefiting immensely from those cold conditions.

But it looked that it was the Controller that was going to win a quick match today, as he went 7/1 within seconds. “I thought I had him maybe” he confessed after the match. “But it’s all credit to him, he played just great squash from that point on”. And if Marwan managed to stay on top a while longer, 8/4, 9/5, Paul levelled, 9/9. A big push at the end, a volley drop shot and a tin from Paul, 11/9 in 18m.

Same start in the second, 2/0, but at that point, a contact that hurt the right leg inside quad (vaste interne in French) and a 15m contributed injury time. Back with a blue taping, a bit weary for a while…

Didn’t prevent him to take again a great lead, 5/1, 7/2, 8/3, with again Paul levelling 8/8; 9/9, (with two strokes at such a crucial time) and it’s 11/9 this time for Paul, in 12m (27m official with the stoppage).

And it’s not like Marwan didn’t play well or rushed things, not a single error in that game and 7 winners (2 errors and 8 winners for the Kiwi)

Third, why stop the habit of a life time, another great lead for Junior, 7/2, and this time, at 7/8, Marwan finds lovely winners and clinches that one, 11/8, 14m and looking like booking his seat in the final….

For the first time of the match in the 4th, Paul won’t let his opponent run away with the score, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 6/6. And Marwan, looking a bit tired, cannot contain Superman, 11/6 in short 8m….

Not much left in the Egyptian tank – not really surprising, the work produced for 4 games was just astonishing – 6/2. Playing extremely quickly – why? – he will take the next three points, 5/6, but three errors in a row give a decisive advantage to the Kiwi, 9/5, another one at 6/9, match ball, and 11/7 in 9m.

Not a single error from Paul in the last one, but only 5 winners against 7 winners for Marwan, but 5 errors….

Another All Black Roar to finish, and it’s a Kiwi in the final for the first time since 1986, Toulouse, when Ross Norman created history by beating JK…. I was there… Let’s see if he can reiterate the exploit…

Paul:

I feel over the moon, it is a pretty surreal feeling…

I had to stay focused today at all times. As he showed in the third game, he can win quick points so quickly, so I just have to keep believing in my game plan and that I was doing the right thing.

He is so clever, so smart, he got the better of me twice, I just came back in that 4th, and stay up on the court as much as I could. I felt good, I felt I had feeling the ball good, and I was able to up the pace in the last two, it seemed to work in my favour.

At the start of those three games, I was playing some wrong shots, and that’s all it takes against Marwan. One wrong shot and he can win the point straight away, he is probably the best on the tour winning quick points. I don’t think I was playing badly, it was just a bad shot selection at the front, playing a boast too early at the wrong time, one or two false angles maybe, that gave him the opening. I felt I was doing the right thing, but just forced one too many shots. My coach Rob Owen gave me a great game plan before the match, and I just had to keep believe in it and stick to it.

So I had to keep doing the right thing and believing in my game plan which was trying to twist and turn him as much as possible, but at the same time, I had to be careful I didn’t put it onto his racquet. Also, trying to limit the opportunities he had on his forehand, because his forehand is so dangerous. So I was trying to shift the ball crosscourt, but at the right time.

So I tried to really step up the court and take it early, twisting and turning him but it had to be at the right time, and with the right shot, otherwise I would get hurt.

During the break, I changed my shirt and tried to keep my body warm, because it’s quite cold out there. So I kept moving, kept focusing, hitting the ball, and stay very alert for the next three points because I didn’t him to string those points easily.

At the end, I was trying not to think and just play squash, keep the pace up and chase absolutely everything. I wasn’t even thinking at the end there, I was just trying to run my backside off and trying to volley as much as possible and push up the court. I had to make him work and I tried to put the pace through the roof.

I didn’t feel nervous at all, I was loving it really, I just kept on flying around that court and pick up absolutely everything. I felt great today. Nearly tore my hamstring in the last points, but I think I can be proud of my performance today.

My goal is number 1, that’s exactly where I want to be. Tomorrow is a stepping stone, so I’m just going to enjoy the occasion tomorrow, try to put my best squash out there. It’s such a special occasion to be part of, because tomorrow is the biggest match possible. I want to soak up everything. Winning tomorrow would be unreal.

I feel over the moon, it is a pretty surreal feeling…

I had to stay focused today at all times. As he showed in the third game, he can win quick points so quickly, so I just have to keep believing in my game plan and that I was doing the right thing.

He is so clever, so smart, he got the better of me twice, I just came back in that 4th, and stay up on the court as much as I could. I felt good, I felt I had feeling the ball good, and I was able to up the pace in the last two, it seemed to work in my favour.

At the start of those three games, I was playing some wrong shots, and that’s all it takes against Marwan. One wrong shot and he can win the point straight away, he is probably the best on the tour winning quick points. I don’t think I was playing badly, it was just a bad shot selection at the front, playing a boast too early at the wrong time, one or two false angles maybe, that gave him the opening. I felt I was doing the right thing, but just forced one too many shots. My coach Rob Owen gave me a great game plan before the match, and I just had to keep believe in it and stick to it.

So I had to keep doing the right thing and believing in my game plan which was trying to twist and turn him as much as possible, but at the same time, I had to be careful I didn’t put it onto his racquet. Also, trying to limit the opportunities he had on his forehand, because his forehand is so dangerous. So I was trying to shift the ball crosscourt, but at the right time.

So I tried to really step up the court and take it early, twisting and turning him but it had to be at the right time, and with the right shot, otherwise I would get hurt.

During the break, I changed my shirt and tried to keep my body warm, because it’s quite cold out there. So I kept moving, kept focusing, hitting the ball, and stay very alert for the next three points because I didn’t want him to string those points easily.

At the end, I was trying not to think and just play squash, keep the pace up and chase absolutely everything. I wasn’t even thinking at the end there, I was just trying to run my backside off and trying to volley as much as possible and push up the court. I had to make him work and I tried to put the pace through the roof.

I didn’t feel nervous at all, I was loving it really, I just kept on flying around that court and pick up absolutely everything. I felt great today. Nearly tore my hamstring in the last points, but I think I can be proud of my performance today.

My goal is number 1, that’s exactly where I want to be. Tomorrow is a stepping stone, so I’m just going to enjoy the occasion tomorrow, try to put my best squash out there. It’s such a special occasion to be part of, because tomorrow is the biggest match possible. I want to soak up everything. Winning tomorrow would be unreal.

Marwan:

My victory and match against my brother was a bit emotional yes, but nothing out of the ordinary, we are both used to it by now, and actually I felt good at the start of the match.

I was up in the games, then lost a bit of concentration. Not sure I can actually say that I lost concentration because all credit to him, he upped his pace and just played very well and made me do a lot of work.

The leg was bothering me a bit, now it’s cold I really feel it but honestly I don’t think it played a big role tonight. Maybe I was a bit heavier on the forehand side..

It happened so quick at the end, I felt it a bit physically at the end, again, all credit to Paul.