9:22 am
13 Apr 2024

Home Heroes Coll & King Progress To NZ Open Semis

10 Nov 2022

Top seeds and home favourites Paul Coll and Joelle King progressed to the semi-finals of the New Zealand Open after beating England's Adrian Waller and USA's Sabrina Sobhy, respectively, in the PSA World Tour Silver event at the Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga.

Coll, the world No.2 from Greymouth, recorded an 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 victory over world No.31 Waller to send the home crowds into raptures. His opponent in the men's Robertson Lodges New Zealand Open semi-finals will be No.7 seed Abdulla Al-Tamimi.

The Kiwi will be out for revenge after falling to a shock second round defeat to the Qatari in the Qatar Classic in September.

"I wanted to go out there and sort of get my game face on, and I felt good out there mentally," Coll explained afterwards.

"It was good finding my targets a bit earlier tonight. The atmosphere is crazy, so I'm loving every second out there and I've obviously got a rest day tomorrow. I might hit some golf balls and then come out Saturday looking good.

"I just want to build on that performance and work for the semis. There's more family coming tomorrow, so it's great to see, I haven't seen some of these guys in 10 years. We were just speaking before about how long it's been, and I can't remember the last time I saw them, so it was really cool to see them. I'll try and put on a good performance for them."

Al Tamimi got the better of David Baillargeon. The world No.69 from Canada scored a huge upset against former British Open champion Miguel Rodriguez in the previous round, but Al Tamimi's racket skills and speed around court were key as he claimed an 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 victory.

"I'm moving well, hitting the ball well, I got my tactics right before each match and I'm happy to keep my focus throughout the whole match," said Al Tamimi, who will appear in his first PSA Silver semi-final.

"I'm looking forward to playing Paul Coll here in New Zealand in his hometown. I think it's going to be a good match and I'm going to enjoy my rest day tomorrow and get ready for after tomorrow. Since I'm young, I really like to play when there's a crowd and it shows in both matches that I'm focused."

In the women's Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open, world No.5 King made short work of opponent Sabrina Sobhy as she stormed to an 11-2, 11-6, 11-6 win over the world No.18 in just 29 minutes.

"It's funny, I turned on SQUASHTV and I saw there was such a huge amount of people," said King.

"I decided to come a bit early and just get a feel for how many people are actually in here and sort of let myself settle down a little bit. So I think that that was good to do. I can't wait to get back out there on Saturday."

Tinne Gilis will be King's semi-final opponent after the Belgian overcame Japan's Satomi Watanabe in an entertaining four-game battle.

After conceding the opening game on a tie-break, Watanabe came back strongly to level up in the second, despite requiring an injury break after Gilis hit her wrist in the final point of the game. However, Gilis rediscovered her consistency to take the third, before coming back from 7-0 down to earn victory in the fourth game too.

"Satomi has been playing unreal squash the last couple of tournaments, so I knew I had to be there and stay focused throughout the whole match because she was just firing it in as soon as she got the opportunity," Gilis said

"She beat the world No.10 [Salma Hany] yesterday. I think the game she won, she literally outplayed me. I didn't really know what to do. As soon as I gave her something on her racket, like she was just firing it in, so I had to change my game plan and make sure everything was deep enough and just to get her out of the middle."