New Zealand’s World No.13 Paul Coll claimed one of the biggest scalps of his career after he defeated former World No.1 James Willstrop to reach the quarter-finals of the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open, World Series tournament held in Hurghada, Egypt.
Coll, 24, played his trademark game to retrieve everything Willstrop threw at him courtesy of his electric pace before finishing off any openings courtesy of solid, straight hitting.
“I’m extremely happy right now,” said Coll after his 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 victory.
“I grew up watching James so just to be competing at the same level as him is special – but to beat him is amazing, I’m ecstatic.
“When we played in New York [at the Tournament of Champions] he outplayed me and I learnt a lot from that one. I got sucked into playing his pace and his lines – and he’s the best in the world at that. It was a lesson and I went away and made the changes that I needed to make sure I improved.”
The third day of main draw action also saw the Bristol-based ElShorbagy brothers, Mohamed and Marwan, progress and they will go head-to-head for the first time since February’s Windy City Open, which saw Marwan claim his first ever win over his older brother, resulting in emotional scenes at the University Club of Chicago.
Mohamed, the World No.3 and defending champion, edged his way past fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar, prevailing 11-9 in the fifth game of an intense encounter that had seen Abouelghar – who stunned World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in last month’s British Open – fight back from two games down.
Marwan, meanwhile, claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over Australian World No.17 Cameron Pilley to add to his win over former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in round one.
“Last time we played in Chicago it was very emotional, it was the first time that he had beaten me,” said Mohamed.
“It was a big day for us and the family, but other than that it’s going to be the first time that we’ve played together in Egypt. It’s going to be a new experience for us to handle, it’s going to be an interesting match, but I think we’ll both give it our best.
“Whoever plays better on the day will come out on top in the end, I’m sure.”
Elsewhere, French World No.1 Gregory Gaultier made it 16 matches unbeaten after he continued his sensational form in 2017 to ease past Egyptian qualifier Mazen Hesham, setting up a quarter-final meeting with Coll.
Gaultier, the oldest ever World No.1 at 34, has lifted the Swedish Open, Windy City Open and British Open titles in recent months and dominated Hesham, the former World No.13 who was making his comeback from a seven-month injury layoff, to win in just 24 minutes.
“I knew I had to be on my toes with Mazen because he puts the ball away really quickly,” said Gaultier.
“He’s come back from a nasty injury, so as it was his first tournament back I could see from the beginning that he was moving a bit roughly. I had to stretch him a lot and make him do a lot of work by injecting enough pace to avoid giving him enough time to put the ball away.”
Results – Second Round (Top Half): 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 2-11, 11-9 (74m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (33m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt  James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (64m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-3 (24m)
Draw – Second Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played April 10
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Diego Elias (PER)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Draw – Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played April 11
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Paul Coll (NZL) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)