Coll & El Sherbini Capture Breakthrough US Open Titles
15 Oct 2023
World No.5 Paul Coll became the first New Zealander to win the men's US Open title since 1986 after ending world No.1 Ali Farag's 14-match winning run - while, after four times as runner-up, Egypt's Nour El Sherbini finally clinched the women's trophy after overcoming compatriot Hania El Hammamy at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
New Zealand had gone 37 years without having a representative in the men's final, but Coll followed in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi Stuart Davenport as he completed an 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10 victory to end Farag's run of four straight PSA World Tour Platinum titles.
Coll had lost to Farag in his previous three attempts - including a five game, 96-minute battle in last month's Paris Squash semi-finals - but produced his finest performance of the season to capture his 21st PSA Tour title at the event presented by TRUIST, and his first Platinum silverware since the 2022 British Open.
Farag didn't make it easy for him, with the Egyptian fighting back from two games down to force a decider - just 24 hours after he overturned a match ball against 2021 runner-up Tarek Momen in the semis - which went all the way to a tie-break.
But Coll wasn't to be denied as he battled hard to win the next point, before Farag slammed his return of serve into the tin, resulting in jubilant celebrations from the new US Open champion.
"I thought I had it after the second, but I got way too excited and saw the finish line way too early," said Coll afterwards.
"I thought he was struggling, but he came back at me and his mentality is a joke. I couldn't believe the way he reset, I needed to be more solid and I needed to finish him. I'm very happy to close the fifth out like that, my legs felt like concrete.
"It's nice to play like that after last season. The win is great, but the whole week has been amazing for me."
Meanwhile, women's top seed El Sherbini has finally got her hands on the US Open trophy after four previous final defeats following a masterclass performance to oust world No.3 Hania El Hammamy by an 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 scoreline.
El Sherbini lost out to El Hammamy in the QTerminals Qatar Classic final last month but got her revenge in Philadelphia to lift her 36th PSA title and her second of the 2023-24 season following her win at the Paris Squash in September.
"Hania wasn't playing her best, but I had my chances and I didn't want to give her any cheap points," said El Sherbini afterwards.
"I think I played well and maybe that's why she wasn't at her best, but she kept fighting until the last point. I felt she wanted to win so much, and I have a little bit more experience than her, so I was more relaxed."
The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the PSA World Tour Gold Grasshopper Cup, which will take place between October 17-22 at Zurich's Halle 622. The event will be shown live on SQUASHTV.