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New Zealand squash player Paul Coll is set to make an impact in the prestigious British Squash Open played in Hull, England this week.
Last year Coll came through qualify to make the main draw before falling in five games to Australian Ryan Cuskelly in the first round.
This time he is in the main draw as a result of his ranking of 16 in the world after great results over the past four months including winning the big Channel VAS Championship in England. He’s challenging and sometimes beating the world’s best.
Coll, 24 who hails from Greymouth will face British qualifier Declan James ranked 36th in a first up contest at the British Open which the Kiwis says will be tough.
“I played him (James) about two or three years ago in New Zealand and he beat me so I’ll be looking forward to beating him this time on his soil. I’m really excited to play this one. I think it will be Tuesday my time I’m really looking forward to it. People will be able to see I on Squash TV as well and be able to tune in and see how I get on. The British Open is a very prestigious event for us, apart from the world open it’s the best tournament to win.”
If Coll gets through his first round encounter he is likely to face eighth seed Tarek Momen from Egypt in the second round and he’s aware of how difficult his draw could be.
“I definitely look ahead, but I’ll take it from my first match and see how it goes and after that who knows”
The New Zealander has seen has ranking cut in half since December and gain respect on the tour as well as in his bank account too.
“I was in the mid 30’s in December and had some good tournaments in December and January and have improved from there it’s been a good couple of months for me. It was a hard road when I wasn’t winning any tournaments it’s a good feeling to have some money coming it. It all makes it a bit easier.”
Also competing in the British Open is Joelle King from the Waikato. King ranked nine in the world has a rich history in the tournament having been a quarter-finalist for four consecutive years 2012-15 and being a fourth see on a number of occasions. The 28-year-old missed the 2016 Open through injury and is pleased to be back at the tournament.
King will face a yet-to-be confirmed qualifier in her first round match.
It is the first time there is equal prizemoney for the women’s event. A total prizepool of US$150,000 is on offer for both the men’s and women’s draws.