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Ali Farag in action against Paul Coll

Tournament of Champions QF: Farag Survives Against Coll

World No.1 and defending champion Ali Farag scraped through to the semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after halting a fightback from New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll in a five-game thriller in the last match of the day at Grand Central Terminal.

Coll had only ever defeated Farag once in his career before, with that win coming at the Tournament of Champions back in 2017, however, since then the Egyptian has gone on to win the last 10. And it looked as though it was going to be another convincing win for the World No.1 after he dominated the opening to frustrate Coll and open up a two-game lead.

A newly energised Coll came out in the third as he swung the momentum of the match in his favour to expose a tired looking Farag to take the third before then drawing level in the fourth with another strong performance.

The fifth proved to be a step too far for the 27-year-old Kiwi though as he made a string of errors at the crucial time to allow Farag back in and the Egyptian took the opening to power through and take an 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-6 victory.

Up next for Farag is compatriot and reigning World Champion Tarek Momen, who he will face for a place in the final.

“I started off really well,” said Farag. “The ball was quite bouncy, so I couldn’t really going for those killing shots I just had to move it around and try to dominate the ‘T’ area which I think I did well for the first game and part of the second game.

“In the third he came out more aggressive and hitting shots with the racket, getting in front of me for most of the time and what I didn’t like at the end of the third and for the fourth was my body language. I don’t mind losing at all but I mind losing without a fight. I wasn’t really putting on a good fight, so Karim [Darwish] told me if you are to lose just have good body language and push – if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen but then at least you will have no regrets.

“I kept my calm, he gifted me a couple of errors and then I ran away with the game, so I’m really pleased to put on a big fight today.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-2: 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-6 (62m)

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