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Paul Coll defeats Simon Rosner

Black Ball Open - Quarter-finals: As It Happens

The quarter-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open takes place today as the tournament heats up to see who will take the final PSA Men's Platinum title of 2018.

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Kicking off the day's play is Germany's World No.3 Simon Rosner against New Zealand's World No.7 Paul Coll.

Coverage starts at 17:00 local time (UTC+2).

Schedule – Quarter-finals (all times local UTC+2):
17:00 [4] Simon Rösner (GER) v [6] Paul Coll (NZL)
18:00 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)
19:00 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
20:00 [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [3] Tarek Momen (EGY)

Coll Takes Out Rösner to Reach Semis

New Zealand’s World No.7 Paul Coll came from one game down to take out Germany’s World No.3 Simon Rösner to reach his second semi-finals at a PSA Platinum event.

‘Superman’ Coll was slow out of the blocks, as Rösner – who endured a tough five-game battle yesterday with France’s Gregoire Marche – came out strongly to take an early 6-0 lead, which left Coll struggling to cope with the German’s squash as he took the first game.

However, the momentum completely shifted in the second as the Kiwi mounted an impressive comeback to level the scores.

The momentum then stayed with the New Zealander – who is playing at a career-high World Ranking – as he continued to make life difficult for the tall German – who recently reached the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open.

Rösner kept trying to find a way back into the encounter, however, it was Coll who was the stronger on the day as he claimed a 5-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3 victory in 54 minutes to reach the semi-finals in Cairo.

“I didn’t feel comfortable out there at all,” said the 26-year-old Kiwi.

“He makes you feel that way with his change of pace. I’m just really happy that I could mentally fight through that, I didn’t feel comfortable out there and my length was patchy. He’s had a great season and a long season, so I’m just happy that I could come off today as the winner.

“I wanted to make it physical in the first game because I knew he had a big match yesterday. But I got a bit too passive. Once I got back in the second, I made sure I was controlling the pace, and not letting him dictate what was going on, on court.

“It was a huge opportunity for me today. He had a big five-setter yesterday and I felt pretty fresh today. I really wanted the win today, I don’t really know what happened in the first, I just didn’t come out of the blocks at all and he came out chopping.

“It’s just pleasing that I could get through that mentally and come back after the first to try and find some rhythm and play some good squash.”

[6] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [4] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 5-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3 (54m)

Farag Reaches Semi-finals

Egypt’s World No.2 Ali Farag proved why he is one of the best players in the world after he dispatched India’s World No.12 Saurav Ghosal in straight-games to reach his sixth successive semi-final.

Farag has had an incredible season so far, winning titles at the Oracle NetSuite Open and Qatar Classic, as well as reaching at least the semi-final in every event he has played in this season. Ghosal, meanwhile, was featuring in his first quarter-finals at a PSA Platinum event this season but he could not prevent an impressive Farag from taking the victory.

The Indian – who had not dropped a game so far in the tournament – tried to halt the charge of Farag but the Egyptian proved too much to handle, taking an 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 victory much to the delight of a packed-out home crowd at the Black Ball Sporting Club.

Farag will now face New Zealand’s World No.7 Paul Coll for a place in the final.

“It wasn’t easy,” said the 26-year-old Cairo-born Egyptian.

“Saurav makes you move into all corners of the court. You always have to be on your toes because he doesn’t give anything away easily. Maybe, at the very end, we were both tired and I started running away with the game and he gave me a couple of errors but that was it in the whole match.

“I’m really happy with the way I played today, we don’t get to play in front of a crowd like this often, so I want to make the most of it. It’s really a pleasure to play in front of them, so I hope that I can keep progressing into the later rounds of the tournament.

“I’m really looking forward to my next match with Paul. He is a very physical and fit player and it’s never easy to get him out of position. I’ll have to be very sharp tomorrow, but I’m really looking forward to it and the crowd is hopefully going to lift me up and I’m going to make the most of it.”

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (34m)

Gawad Stuns World No.1 ElShorbagy to Reach Semis

Former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad scored the biggest upset of the tournament so far after he took out World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in straight-games to reach the semi-finals in Cairo.

Going into the encounter the head-to-head record was heavily in the favour of ElShorbagy, with the World No.1 enjoying six victories over his compatriot, compared to Gawad’s two. However, the recent Pakistan Open champion brought out his best squash in front of his home crowd to down ElShorbagy in his 350th PSA match.

World No.9 Gawad played some exquisite squash in the first game, showing his quality with pinpoint accuracy to put the reigning World Champion in serious trouble.

ElShorbagy tried to up the pace to disrupt the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ but Gawad was too strong, hitting all of his targets perfectly to double his lead.

A resilient ElShorbagy refused to be beaten easily though and came out firing in the third making for a tight finish to the match, but Gawad was able to hold on to take an 11-4, 11-9, 12-10 victory to reach his first semi-final in a major tournament since the 2017 Hong Kong Open.

“It feels very sweet,” said 27-year-old Gawad.

“Mohamed is No.1 in the world and is the most consistent player in my generation. He has been winning all of the tournaments in a row, so to win against him today was just unbelievable. To win 3-0 against a tough player like him and even when I was 2-0 up, you feel like he can come back at any second – he is one of the fittest players on Tour.

“I just had to be very strong mentally today and push until the last point in the match.

“He’s very fit and strong mentally, so I knew that he could come back at any second. I didn’t want to go to another game or to a fifth game – I know he is very strong, so I just wanted to finish the match in three and to win against him is a huge thing.

“For a few months now, I have been doing everything I could to get back to my former level. And I had to focus on the work at the gym, getting stronger, getting fitter, core work. But also, I had so many issues with my body that needed looking at. I had also a sport hernia, and I was so careful not to go to surgery, not to have to stop.

“Although I was not fit enough and at my 100% physically, I kept going to events, to keep in touch with the game, with the boys, and hung around until I fix the problem and was fit enough to be at my best again.

“This win means so much for me. I wanted that win so badly, I wanted to reach the semis to improve my ranking, but more than everything else, I wanted to prove to my coaches that the hard work we have done in the summer is finally paying off.”

[7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 12-10 (57m)

Momen Secures Semi-finals Berth

Egypt’s World No.4 Tarek Momen displayed a classy performance to beat compatriot and World No.10 Mohamed Abouelghar, 3-1, and book his place in the Black Ball Squash Open semi-finals.

Cairo-born Momen took the first game, before Abouelghar made life difficult for the World No.4 in the second to draw level in a high-quality battle between two of the quickest players on Tour with some exceptional squash on display from both players.

However, the class of Momen – which has seen him enjoy his strongest year to date on the PSA Tour – shone through in the end as he prevailed an 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 winner to reach his fourth successive semi-final this season.

Momen will now face former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the final after he axed reigning World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy earlier in the day.

“It’s quite an achievement at this tournament to maintain your seeding,” said 30-year-old Momen afterwards.

“I’m very pleased with the way I played today, I think I played really well. Abou played really well, it was a highly contested match, I think we hit some really good shots both of us and I hope the crowd were happy watching that. I really enjoyed it and I’m happy to be through to another semi-final.

“I have to say I was surprised by the level of squash we both produced tonight. I think that’s probably the highest quality we ever produced against each other.

“It was nerve wrecking for the first three games, we didn’t know who was going to win the game until the very end. And I’m really happy to manage to eventually take the win.

“I’m very happy that I had a game plan and I stuck to it from the first shot to the last, I don’t think I ever switched off, an also that I managed to keep the unforced errors count down. My length also was very good which gave me a lot of opportunity.

“Karim is going to be a tough match for sure. He’s played ridiculously well today, I can’t believe some of the rallies that I watched, so he’s obviously in top form. I’m going to try and push myself to the limit because I want to reach the final and I hope tomorrow will be a good match for everyone.”

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 (55m)

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