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Channel VAS Championship - Day One: As it Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George's Hill begins in Weybridge.

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy begins his title campaign against last year's runner up Daryl Selby, with Selby in fine form after reaching three semi-finals in a row.

'Colombian Cannonball' Miguel Angel Rodriguez will clash with Frenchman Gregoire Marche in another of the day's stand out fixtures. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Max Lee meets New Zealand's Paul Coll in a mouthwatering clash, while Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal takes on Spain's Borja Golan in the day's other match.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT)
17:30 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [7] Borja Golan (ESP)
18:30 [8] Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Paul Coll (NZL)
20:00 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
21:00 [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)

Ghosal Defeats Golan to Reach Quarter-Finals

Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal ended a seven-match losing streak to Spain’s Borja Golan in the opening round of the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill to secure his place in the last eight.

Golan was making his return to action after spending three months on the sidelines due to a herniated disc and Ghosal capitalised on the former World No.5’s lack of match fitness as he stormed to victory in the opening game for the loss of five points.

The second game was a lot tighter as Golan began to find his range, but Ghosal’s superior speed around court enabled the World No.22 to pounce on any loose shots from the Spaniard, and he duly doubled his lead after pulling away towards the back end of the game.

Golan responded in the third as the experienced 33-year-old pushed up the court and tried to extend the rallies, but a number of unforced errors saw him relinquish a 4-1 lead as Ghosal reestablished himself on the encounter to build up a match ball. But Golan dug in his heels and reeled his opponent back in, eventually taking it on the tie-break.

Ghosal managed to get himself back on top though in the fourth as he built on a fast start to see out an 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8 victory that will see him take on either World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy or England’s Daryl Selby in the quarter-finals.

“His game in the front, his touch game, is very, very good, so you have to attack him to make him move,” said Ghosal.

“But you still have to be careful that you don't go too soon, and that you create the right opening. You have to push him to the back before you can take him to the front. I tried to do that, I fell I played pretty well throughout the match, except maybe two or three phases where my accuracy levels dropped a little bit.

“In my head, I've been working really hard, but the results haven't shown the work that I've put in, and it gets to you mentally, no matter how long you've been on the Tour.

“We all want to win, and we all want to prove ourselves to get higher in the rankings. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out for me the way I would have liked this year, but I just have to keep working, which is in my control.

“If I keep doing that then hopefully the results will go my way.”

Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [7] Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8 (64m)

Coll Battles to Huge Five-Game Victory Over Lee

Kiwi qualifier Paul Coll came back from 2-1 down against World No.18 Max Lee to claim one of the biggest wins of his career and book his place in a first ever PSA M100 quarter-final.

Coll battled through qualification to reach the main draw, but his tournament looked to be coming to an end after he fell 2-1 behind to an experienced Lee. But he responded brilliantly to force errors from his opponent and, with cramp beginning to take hold of Lee in the latter stages of the decider, Coll pressed on to close out a superb 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4 victory to claim his next round berth.

“I'm very happy, Max is a quality player, I've been watching him for a few years and I've always thought he had the potential to get into the top 10,” said Coll.

“I'm very happy with the win and with the way I stuck in the game. It's one of my best wins for sure, he's in the top 20 and he's been there for a while.

“I think I lost my length completely in the third and he took advantage of that. But I knew what I had to do, it was just a case of executing it. 

“I had to get him behind me and get the ball a lot deeper. The ball broke [in the fourth game] and then we got a hotter ball, which I think helped me as well.

“I was just happy to make the main draw, so everything is just a bonus from now on. It's a good Christmas present already and hopefully I can get better.”

The duo were meeting for the first time on the PSA World Tour, with Lee ranked 15 places above Coll in the World Rankings, and it was the higher-ranked player who took the opening game.

Coll was much improved in the second game and surged into a 4-1 lead, but Lee rattled off a succession of winners to battle back. Errors began to creep into Lee’s game though and Coll took full advantage to draw level, taking the second game 11-7, only to see Lee emerge victorious in the third to restore his lead.

A resurgent Coll came out fighting in the fourth though to restore parity to proceedings once more, before dropping just four points in the fifth to wrap up a landmark victory for the 24-year-old.

[Q] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [8] Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4 (75m)

Stunning Selby Display Vanquishes ElShorbagy in 400th Tour Match

England’s Daryl Selby came up with a magnificent display on his 400th PSA World Tour appearance to shock World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in five and send the Egyptian crashing out at the first round stage.

The 34-year-old had lost his last five matches against ElShorbagy and looked to be heading to a sixth successive defeat after falling 2-1 behind. Selby showed nerves of steel though to halt his opponent’s momentum in the fourth and draw level, and he followed that up by edging the fifth to wrap up a fantastic win by a 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 margin.

“It's about confidence and belief,” said Selby.

“I’ve always believed I was a top 10 player, but having the confidence to believe that I can play a top five player and win is a whole different kettle of fish.

“It's like a progressive thing, confidence builds up slowly, but I've had good results. That was an extremely tough match physically for both of us.

“It took me a few years to realise that I could use the front of the court, that I could use my hands and my head, and that against top players, a retrieving game was just not going to be good enough. That I had to add something. And this summer, I had an epiphany, I realised that I have very little time left, only a few years on the tour, and that I had to work on my attack and enjoy it.

“I played well and I really am delighted to beat Mohamed because he deserves that World No.1 status. His consistency is without a doubt the best on Tour, and to beat the World No.1 is a special feeling.”

Selby had been in superb form of late, reaching three semi-finals in a row, including a first World Series last four finish since 2012 in November’s Qatar Classic, while ElShorbagy had won seven Tour titles over the past seven months.

It was the man from Essex who took the opening game on a tie-break, but ElShorbagy found his length in the second as he rattled off some devastating drives to move Selby away from the ’T’ and out of position, building on a 5-1 lead to level, before coming back from 8-6 behind in the third game to take the lead.

An all-out blitz from Selby saw him power ahead in the fourth, and he clung onto the lead to level, despite a late resurgence from ElShorbagy. The two traded blows in an intense fifth game, with Selby edging ahead from 9-9 to complete a spectacular win.

Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 (89m)

Rodriguez Takes Out Marche to Seal Last Eight Berth

‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez was in fine fettle to dispatch Frenchman Gregoire Marche in straight games, setting up a quarter-final meeting with New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the process.

The early stages of Rodriguez’s season were dogged by poor form after he suffered four straight first round defeats to drop outside of the world’s top 10, while Marche had performed well in recent months, reaching a career-high World No.24 ranking last month in addition to a first ever World Series quarter-final.

But it was Rodriguez who shaded the contest in 42 minutes, earning an 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 victory to secure his quarter-final spot.

“It was tough because he is very talented and he’s been improving over the last six months,” said Rodriguez.

“He’s having some great results against top players and he is growing his confidence, which I think is one of the most important thing for a squash player to be able to compete with the top players.

“It’s never easy because he’s also very fast and he has quick hands. He must be very proud of the way he finished this year, he did a great job. But I came here with a purpose, to win my matches, to be a little bit more aggressive and enjoy it a little bit more.

“I had a good break at home and this is the last push from me this year.

“I just need to play my game [against Coll]. I won’t focus on his game, I will try to stay calm, focus and play aggressively. We’ll see because you never know could happen. Some players play differently in the first two games, so I’m going to have to be ready for anything.”

[4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 (42m)

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