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Paul Coll

Tournament of Champions - Day Five: As it Happens

Join us here for reports and reaction from day five of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions – the PSA Platinum tournament taking place in New York's Grand Central Terminal.

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy gets her tournament under way in front of her home crowd and will have Canada's Danielle Letourneau in her sites, while World No.2 Nour El Sherbini and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb also kick off their title challenges.

Also involved are top 10 players Laura Massaro and Tesni Evans, who will take on Yathreb Adel and Millie Tomlinson, respectively.

In the men's event, World No.7 Paul Coll goes up against India's Saurav Ghosal, while former World No.3 Omar Mosaad does battle with Scotland's Greg Lobban.

2018 runner-up Tarek Momen is also in action against the dangerous Gregoire Marche, before World No.2 Ali Farag lines up against England's Daryl Selby in the final men's match of the day.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT-5)

Massaro starts her campaign with a win

Laura Massaro got her TOC campaign off to the perfect start

Laura Massaro was able to avenge her shock defeat to Yathreb Adel in Hong Kong, by beating her in the second round of the Tournament of Champions.

It was Massaro who came flying out of the blocks, going out to an 8-1 lead in no time at all.

Adel came back slightly, but it was the 2013 World Champion that took the first game with ease, 11-3.

The Englishwoman again took off at the start of the second game, this time winning the first three points.

However, the young Egyptian brought the score back to 3-2 but once again, Massaro took off, using her experience and power to extend her lead.

The 35-year-old took the second game comfortably to move into a two-game lead over her Egyptian opponent.

Massaro continued to show her skills at the start of the third game, rushing out to another big lead early on.

The Egyptian, who was sporting a brace on her left ankle, bounced back again to force the third into a tiebreak.

It would be the experience of Massaro that prevailed, though, as she took the third to win the match in 30 minutes.

“I know that my mental strength is one of the strengths to my game,” Massaro said after winning.

“I know that I really hate losing, and just losing to Yathreb in Hong Kong a few weeks ago was really tough to take because I had put in a lot of work before that match.

“I didn’t do myself justice at all and I know Yathreb is a really dangerous player. She has beaten a lot of the top five guys and you know it is going to be a battle every time.

“It is more about being proud of myself at this point in my career and knowing that I can still get a good level out.

“Obviously I was nervous today playing Yathreb because I know I am still the favourite on paper but it helped a little bit knowing that I had lost because I could just relax knowing it could any worse than Hong Kong.

“It was such a bad loss, knowing how it felt to me more than anything else. I don’t think she played as well today so maybe the pressure flipped a bit with the errors in the first couple of games.

“[I am] just really proud of my reaction I think more than anything because she is such a quality player and if you don’t play the right way then you are going to lose so I am really proud of that today.

“It is just such an honour and a privilege and Danny [Massaro] said that to me before the match. Playing on this stage in Grand Central Station and I love playing on the glass court and playing on big stages and I am so happy that we have a full crowd for a 12pm women’s match so I am so glad you all came down.”

Result:
[7] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 12-10 (30m)

Coll through after Ghosal forced to retire

Paul Coll is through to the last 16 of the last eight of the Tournament of Champions

Paul Coll advanced to the quarter finals of the Tournament of Champions, after India’s Saurav Ghosal had to retire through injury.

The first game was a high-octane affair, with both players flying round the court. It would go to a tie-break after a scintillating game.

Coll took the first 14-12, with a wonderful cross-court winner. During the game, Ghosal suffered an injury, which enforced a three minute injury break.

However, the injury would be too much for the Indian, who was forced to retire from the match, giving the Kiwi the victory.

“It was a 31 minute game, so it was a long game, there were a lot of decision and reviews at the end ,” Coll said.

“You never want to win like that, I hope he [Ghosal] is right for the World Championships in a month. He is a great player and it was a tough, tough game.

“It was a tough match and I prepared mentally for it and that takes its toll on itself. I will recover you know, see the physio, get a steam and get fit for the next match.”

Result:
[7] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 14-12, 0-0 ret (37m)

Mosaad gets the better of Lobban on Day 5

Omar Mosaad is into the quarter finals after beating Greg Lobban

Omar Mosaad got the better of Greg Lobban on the glass court at Grand Central, booking his place in the quarter finals.

Lobban came out firing, taking an early 3-0 lead, but the Hammer of Thor pegged him back. The game then stayed nip-and-tuck all the way through to a tiebreak.

It would be the Egyptian that secured the first game, though, winning it 12-10, and he went on to take a commanding lead in the second.

The 26-year-old Scotsman came fighting back, but Mosaad went on to take the second 11-8 and double his lead in the match.

With the third at 3-3, the 30-year-old Egyptian had to change rackets due to a broken string.

It did not faze Mosaad, though, as he cruised to victory in the third game to take the match 3-0, and move into the last eight of the tournament.

“I was a little bit nervous, and this match was important to me and Greg, as well,” Mosaad said.

“The first game, I was nervous but I tried to play my game. Greg was leading every point and he put me under pressure and I think I did very well, especially at the end of the first game.

“It is not easy to play my game because he changed his tactics. Before the match I went through my tactics with my coaches and I was trying to follow my plan.

“Sometimes I was down, sometimes up but I am really happy to win. I am really happy to be here. It is actually the first time I have made the quarter finals here.

“I am really happy to be playing in front of this crowd, and thanks to my wife for being here.”

Result:
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-7

Evans defeats Tomlinson in the battle of Britain

Tesni Evans beat Millie Tomlinson in straight games

World No.10 Tesni Evans won the women’s battle of Britain on the fifth day of the TOC, beating England’s Millie Tomlinson in three games.

It was a dominant display from the Welshwoman in the first game, taking it 11-4 to take an early lead in the match.

Tomlinson started the second game well, as she tried to recover from that first game deficit.

However, Evans won four points straight to turn the game on its head and take the advantage in the second.

The World No.10 was able to press that advantage home to take the second and double her lead in the match.

Although the Englishwoman tried to fight back at the start of the first, Evans’ experience shone through, as she took the victory inside 40 minutes.

“We played at the back end of December and it was a five setter, and it was brutal,” Evans said.

“I learnt a lot from that match, and what I needed to do today. No matter what the score was, or the time, I knew it was going to be tough.

“I couldn’t be happier, not just to win, but to get off in three and to get comfortable on this court.

“In that [previous] match, I was 2-0 up, so that was definitely going through my mind. I was 2-0 up against her and it was brutal.

“Even at 5-10, or 6-10, I knew she was capable of coming back and winning that game and then it gets messy from there really. So really happy to work it out.”

Result:
[8] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (38m)

Blatchford Clyne Through to Last 16

Blatchford Clyne (right) takes on Nele Gilis (left) at the Harvard Club of New York

Team USA’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne advanced to the last 16 with a narrow four-game, hour-long victory over Belgium’s Nele Gilis.

After splitting the first two games, Blatchford Clyne came back from 9-5 down in the third to win it 12-10. The fourth game remained within a narrow margin throughout, until Gilis fought off a match ball down 10-9 to earn her own game ball at 11-10 up. Blachford Clyne bounced back to win two straight points in the front of the court to clinch the match.

“Nele is a good friend of mine,” Blatchford Clyne said.

“I know her game and at the same time, because I know it, I think I’m more nervous playing her than I am someone else who I haven’t played as much. Towards the end of those games I knew I really had to tighten the screws and make sure that I wasn’t hitting as many tins and I think I did that really well.

“Every time she got the ball back I would try to go closer and closer to the tin, which I clipped a lot. That being said, I also knew the more she was moving up there and getting those balls back, the more she had to work her legs. She’s an incredible athlete, but I knew that if I could make her work in that last game, even when she came back, I had to keep working her and it did some damage.”

Blatchford Clyne, who splits her time between Wilton, Connecticut and Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband Alan Clyne, has attended the ToC since she was a child living in the city. The World No.19 moves on to the glass court in Vanderbilt Hall Monday night at 19:30 where she will take on either Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini or Hania El Hammamy.

“It’s the best feeling in the world to win in front of this crowd,” said Blatchford Clyne, who will turn 26 on January 23.

“I grew up in New York City and my dad would buy me two tickets every year for my birthday, which usually falls on semi-finals night almost every year. So I’ve come from being a fan to actually playing here.

“It’s so magical to have so many people I know supporting me here. It means I have that strength and that I can keep going and sometimes you need to draw from that energy outside of the court to help you inside of it.”

Result
[16] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 13-11 (64m)

Momen’s masterful display downs Marche

Tarek Momen came from a game behind to beat Gregoire Marche

Tarek Momen and Gregoire Marche played for over an hour on the glass court, with the Egyptian winning out in four games.

The first game was tight between the Frenchman and the Egyptian, but it would be the World No.32 that took it to take an early lead in the game.

Both Momen and Marche played some exquisite squash at the start of the second, and nothing could separate the pair in the opening exchanges.

It would be the Egyptian that took an 11-9 victory in the second, having squandered two game balls before getting over the line.

Momen carried on that form into the third game, winning it 11-3, with the Frenchman starting to look tired on the glass court at Grand Central Terminal.

The third game was a punishing one, with the game going back and forth. It was Momen that got across the line, though, winning the game in 67 minutes.

“To start, I always knew that Greg would show up the way he did today,” Momen said.

“He has always played really well against me and I expected it to be a very tough match so at the beginning I was trying to employ a game plan but it wasn’t working.”

“I felt a little bit flat and then I kind of tried to fire myself up a bit and from that point, like halfway through the first game, I was playing really well and I was just trying to force it, to force him to make an extra lunge or two every point.

“I don’t think I succeeded to be honest, he was just going at it. As I said he played exceptionally well and I am happy with the way I played and I am happy to be through in four games.

“That fourth game was very close and I really did not want him to sneak it because it would have gone to a fifth game and who knows what may have happened so I am very pleased.”

Result:
[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (67m)

Farag beats Selby in a thriller

Ali Farag saved game balls in each of the three games in his match with Daryl Selby

Ali Farag and Daryl Selby played out a wonderful match at Grand Central Terminal on day five, with all three games going through to a tiebreak.

The Egyptian took the victory to advance through to the quarter finals, after saving game ball in each of the three games.

It was the Englishman that got off to the better start in this third round match, with the World No.2 lagging behind a touch in the first game.

Selby raced out to a 9-5 lead in the opener, but the Egyptian battled back to level the game and take it to a tiebreak.

Both men had game ball at times during the tiebreak situation, but it was Farag who took the first game 15-13.

Once again, it was Selby that came out of the traps in the second game, taking an early 6-1 advantage.

The World No.19 had three game balls, but he could not make them count, with Farag once again coming from behind to secure the second game.

Again, in the third game it was Selby that started the better, winning the first three points. And again, Farag came back into it.

The Englishman went on to have another three game balls in the third, but he could not take any of them, with Farag coming back to send it into a tiebreak.

It would be the World No.2 that took the victory after winning the third game 13-11, in a gruelling 57 minutes.

“Right now, I could easily have been sat down, losing 3-0. All games could have gone either way, and actually, they were closer to going his way,” Farag admitted after the match.

“He was leading in every game, he had game ball or more than one in every game. I am just very happy that I stayed calm, I never panicked.

“All credit to Daryl, he never made it easy at any point. I am very relieved to be through.

“Someone like Daryl who has got a lot of trickery in his weaponry, you know. He is always creative, you never know what is coming next.

“Thanks to Nour who was with me, cheering me on. But again, I want to pay a lot of respect to Daryl who played an amazing game today at the age of 36. I wish I can move that well at the age of 36.”

Result:
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 15-13, 12-10, 13-11 (57m)

Sobhy wins the North American clash

Amanda Sobhy hyped up the home crowd with a victory

In the battle of North America, it was the United States who came out on top as Amanda Sobhy beat Danielle Letourneau in New York.

The first game was a quick-fire affair, with home favourite, and 2016 finalist, Sobhy taking just seven minutes to wrap it up.

The Canadian, ranked No.39 in the world, tried to play her way back into the match win the second game, but the US No.1 was able to maintain her advantage.

Once again, Sobhy had too much for her opponent, and was able to close out the second game with relative ease, 11-6.

Letourneau came out strong at the start of the third, winning the first three points with some powerful strokes.

The American then rolled out the next five points to flip the game on its head, though, and she went on to take victory inside 25 minutes.

“Of course, how can you not hear this crowd. You guys are awesome, and I love it so much. I don’t really get that many home tournaments but when I do, you guys bring the hype, so I appreciate it,” Sobhy said to the crowd.

“It is nice to get going. I always have a lot of emotions playing a home tournament and now that I am back, I might put a bit of pressure on myself.

“At the end of the day I am just here to enjoy it because last year, I was on the long road back so I just kind of told myself to enjoy it and whatever happens, happens, and I am going to give it my best.”

Result:
[12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (23m)

Sherbini shakes off Hammamy to advance

Nour El Sherbini eased through to the last 16

Hania El Hammamy and Nour El Sherbini put on a show in the all-Egyptian battle on the glass court, but it was the latter that advances to the third round.

It was the World No.2 that won the first game, thanks to a number of powerful strokes and masterful touches.

Hammamy, who still has to wear goggles on court because of her age, looked to fight back in the second game, but Sherbini had too much once more.

The 18-year-old had to take some time out of the second game, due to a cut on her knee, which needed to be bandaged up before she could return.

The junior came out fighting once more in the third game, taking an 8-3 lead. She went on to take the game and close the gap to 2-1 in the match.

The fourth game was much tighter, but Sherbini pulled away at the end to record the victory by three games to one.

“It feels a bit sad to be the older one, but Hania is really skilful and really talented, and her level of squash does not show that she is under 19 and still a junior,” Sherbini said of her compatriot.

“She is a top 20 player now and it is, of course, a very challenging first round. You are still trying to get your body into the tournament.

“Of course, I am trying my best to come back to the World No.1 but at this moment, I want to enjoy my squash and just play this match and other matches and take it step-by-step.

“I am really feeling good, and feeling better and I think that when I am feeling better, everything will get back to normal.”

Result:
[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 11-4, 6-11, 11-7

El Tayeb cruises through to the last 16

Nour El Tayeb (l) is into round three after beating Lisa Aitken

It took Nour El Tayeb just 20 minutes to get through her second round match against Scotland’s Lisa Aitken.

The World No.3 came out strong, and put the first game on the board in no time at all, winning it 11-6.

Aitken came into day five as the lowest ranked player left in the tournament, sitting at No.54 in the world rankings.

El Tayeb put her to the slaughter in the second game, winning it to love in just three minutes.

The Egyptian dominated the majority of the third game as well, going out to a 7-1 lead.

The Scot pulled some of that deficit back, but El Tayeb had more than enough to take the victory and advance to the third round.

“Obviously I have waited so long to play this match, it is nine in the evening,” Tayeb said.

“I was trying to be focused and prepared from the beginning because I know how dangerous Lisa is.

“It is all credit to her how she came back from injuries she has had, but I was very focused from the beginning and thankfully, I finished it off in three.

“If anything, she is the one who should give us all some wisdom,” the Egyptian said about Aitken’s return from injury.

“It was a very hard journey, but it is good. It made me appreciate it more. Before my surgery, I would play on the glass court and I took it for granted.

“Now I appreciate starting on the glass courts from the beginning of the tournament. I am very happy and hopefully I can keep it going here.”

Result:
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-6, 11-0, 11-4 (20m)

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