James Willstrop (ENG) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 14-12, 12-10, 11-8 (58m)
Four-time tournament champion James Willstrop, the former World No.1 from Yorkshire, came through a thrilling 59 minute first round encounter at the 2016 Canary Wharf Classic to defeat New Zealand's Paul Coll and move into the quarter-finals of the tournament taking place inside London's East Wintergarden.
While the scoreboard read 3-0 in favour of the current World No.13 it was anything but plain sailing as he had to fend off ferocious resistance from the World No.41 from start-to-finish – none more so than when he saved game ball in the second to turn the tide, after requiring five game-balls to shake off Coll in the opener.
The third, which Willstrop took 11-8, was similarly competitive as Coll continued to play with incredible athleticism but it was Willstrop's precise attacking play that made the difference in the end – while Coll staked his claim as winner of the most incredible squash rally ever after an period of play saw him put together two back-to-back full length dives to win a point during the second game.
While the second game will forever be remembered for Coll's dive it was Willstrop's ability to overturn the deficit he faced in the latter stages, saving game ball to turn the momentum around, the was crucial in the outcome of the match.
Shot of the match
Paul Coll's back-to-back dives in the second game – just watch:
James Willstrop: “It's a cliche but there aren't easy matches.
“You can play anyone inside the top fifty and it's brutal squash – he pushed me very hard. I didn't know how I was going to get the ball to slow down and even when I did he was still getting everything – he had some excellent retrieving and I think we'll all be seeing more of him in future.
“He just doesn’t stop running. Squash wise, I thought I could move him around, but I tried to brake him down and I just couldn’t except at the very end.
“I will never forget what he did – it could be as big as Castagnet's dive. If we keep delivering action like that and we can't get into the Olympics then what can we do.”
Paul Coll: “He played such a tight squash, I’m not used to that kind of tight squash, I mean, normally I can counterattack, but because his shots were so tight I just couldn’t get in the first game.
“To be honest, I’m really gutted about it all. I’m going to go and watch the match now, try to see what I could have done better and I hope I’m going to get a win soon, because it’s tough to keep losing like that.”