New Zealand’s Paul Coll and partner Nele Gilis have been recognised as the Men’s and Women’s PSA December Players of the Month, respectively, after both players claimed their biggest ever tournament wins throughout the final month of action in 2016.
Coll was in sparkling form as he captured the Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill title – his first PSA M100 crown – despite starting the tournament in qualification as he rose to cause a series of stunning upsets.
After the 24-year-old battled through the qualification stages, he dispatched Hong Kong’s Max Lee in a hard-fought 3-2 victory before a gargantuan encounter with former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez saw Coll recover from 2-1 down to take it in 102 minutes.
The in-form Daryl Selby was the next man to fall to Coll just two days after the Englishman upset World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, pitting Coll up against Egypt’s Tarek Momen in the final thanks to a fine showing from Momen against World No.11 James Willstrop.
Coll’s last encounter with Momen saw an epic 101-minute clash light up the Qatar Classic the previous month, with a bout of cramp eventually seeing Coll go down 17-15 in the decider.
But there was no stopping the Kiwi in Weybridge as he stormed to the victory in straight games, earning a huge win that saw him break into the world’s top 20 in this month’s Men’s World Rankings – becoming the first New Zealander to do so since the legendary Ross Norman in 1995.
Coll was watched from the stands by girlfriend Gilis, who had triumphed at the Open International des Volcans tournament in France just two days earlier to earn her maiden PSA W10 title win.
Seeded third for the tournament, Gilis followed up wins over Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica and home hope Chloe Mesic with a comprehensive victory over second seed Misaki Kobayashi.
New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy, who had upset top seed Millie Tomlinson in the last four, awaited the Belgian in the final, but it was Gilis who pulled through in four games to record the third PSA World Tour title win of her career.
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