Sports Monks

Coll of New Zealand in Qatar Classic quarters

New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll was forced to come from 2-1 down against France’s World No.17 Gregoire Marche to book his place in the Qatar Classic quarter finals in Doha.

Coll is no stranger to the glass court in Qatar, having reached the PSA World Championship final on this court 12 months ago. However, the Kiwi was out of sorts in the first game with Marche punishing Coll with his accuracy to open up a one game lead.

The second proved vital for Coll as he looked down and out with Marche on course to take a two game advantage after holding an 8-4 lead, but the 30-year-old started to lose his length and Coll was able to make the most of the drop off in quality, letting out a huge roar to fire himself up after taking the second.

Marche refused to go away though and regained the lead with a high-quality battle between the two players in the third.

Faitgue looked to have set in for Marche though with Coll putting a lot of work into the legs of ‘the Acrobat’ coupled with finding his range at the front of the court to draw level once again.

The New Zealander really came into his own in the fifth to stop Marche’s rhythm and see out the 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 victory in 83 minutes.

Coll will face World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy for a place in the semi-finals.

“He came out very aggressive and I was a bit passive in my hitting,” said Coll afterwards.

“He actually didn’t miss much the first set, rolled a few. The second and third, I think I made a few mistakes at the start of each which gave him a lead. In the fourth and fifth I just wanted to cut those out because I was winning the back end of the games and I thought that if I got a lead at the start then I could hold that through each set.

“It’s going to be tough against Marwan. The body is feeling fine, it was more of a mental battle today to get myself focused and cut out those mistakes. Energy wise I will be fine tomorrow, he’s playing some of his best squash and has been very impressive, so it’s going to be a challenge. He pipped me in the last tournament, so I’d like to get my revenge.”

Result: [4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 (83m

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