Paul Coll wins into semis at El Gouna in Egypt

Wednesday 26 May 2021, 7:04PM
By dave worsley

New Zealand’s world No.4 Paul Coll came from a game down against former world No.1 and current fifth seed, Karim Abdel Gawad to reach the semi-finals in El Gouna for the first time.

Gawad, who has been struggling with a foot injury throughout the season, was at his clinical best in the first game with the Egyptian showcasing shots to comfortably take the first game.

Coll regrouped well though and was able to get back on track to take a 2-1 lead before fully exposing Gawad’s struggling movement in the fourth to ensure he reached the last four of the PSA Platinum event with the 2-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 victory in 52 minutes.

“I started struggling to see the ball for some reason,” said Coll referring to the first agame. “Against Karim’s racket work, he just destroyed me. After the second, I started to see the ball better and dictate the pace, settle down with my movement and I started to feel quite good in the last three. It’s a real positive moving into the semi-finals.

“The first definitely suited him and then I managed to control the pace a bit more. Mixed the pace, used a bit more height and just try not to let him settle because if I did, he is a World Champion in that area, so take the game away from him as much as I could.

“I think it settled me down a little bit [the blood injury], I had four minutes to calm myself down and maybe it helped me, but it was nothing serious.”

Looking towards his semifinal opponents, 29-year-old Coll believes he needs to switch on quicker if he is to progress further.

“Tarek (Momen) and Greg (Marche) are both really talented players and if I start like I started today then I will lose badly. I need to focus on the start a bit more, settle down quicker, find my targets and focus more at the start.

“I think mental training comes with the physical training. Coming through tough sessions builds mental toughness, so I think the two go hand in hand and working with a great mental coach [Bart Wijnhoven].”

The semifinal match against second seed Tarek Momen or Gregoire Marche will be played Friday morning NZT.