9:21 pm
12 Jul 2024

Crouin Conquers Coll In ToC Shock

23 Jan 2024

French No.1 Victor Crouin produced an immaculate quarter-final performance in the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions at Grand Central Terminal in New York to shock world No.3 Paul Coll and reach his first Platinum semi-final since 2022.

The 24-year-old, whose last appearance in the last four of a Platinum event came at the Qatar Classic in 2022, was tactically impeccable throughout as he claimed his first win over the New Zealander in almost two years - and his first ever in a best-of-five-game match.

After edging a monumental 32-minute opening game 16-14, Crouin proved to be too strong to keep the Kiwi at bay and went on to triumph 16-14, 11-7, 11-5.

"We're lucky to have a day off in between matches," said Crouin, who upset 7th seed Marwan ElShorbagy in the previous round. "I train hard every day for these kind of tournaments where I can play back-to-back matches so I'm not afraid to step back on court after two five setters.

"I'm enjoying it out there so there's no tension in my body, so I can recover faster and get ready for the next match.

"But it's Paul Coll and he's the fittest player on tour, he was on a really good streak of matches so I knew it was going to be tough. The last time I beat him was when he got to world No.1, so I thought I could do it again."

Two-time champion Ali Farag stands in Crouin's way of a place in the final following his win against his compatriot Tarek Momen.

Farag, who won the event in 2019 and 2022, got the better of Momen for the third time this season having already beaten the former World Champion at the US Open and the Qatar Classic.

The world No.1 capitalised on a number of errors from his opponent's racket to go one game up before Momen deservedly levelled as he reduced the error count and started to find his targets. However Farag was back in control and began to force mistakes from Momen, which he swooped on to book a semi-final spot by triumphing 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8.

"It was a very tough match," said Farag.

"I think I had control of most of the first - I told Nour [El Tayeb] that Tarek is going to come out firing and he's going to be a lot more solid. I thought we both played well and we both deserved that game and I wish I was 2/0 up.

"I had to change a few things in the third and in the fourth I was little bit disappointed as I was running away with it but I gave him a loose, easy unforced error that got him back into it. If you give Tarek a sniff he will take it so I'm glad I won that fourth."

Defending women's champion Nour El Sherbini ended home interest at the event after downing USA's Olivia Weaver to progress to the semis.

The world No.1's experience came to the fore as she maintained her 100 per cent record against the last remaining representative for the USA.

Despite a positive start from Weaver, El Sherbini extinguished hopes of a last four appearance on home court for the American as she pressed on to win 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 in 33 minutes.

"I'm feeling really good and I'm happy with my performance," said El Sherbini, whose victory ensures an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up.

"It was a tough match, to be honest - way tougher than last week [at the Florida Open]. There's been a lot of rest days and quick matches in between.

"It's a bit tricky [playing an opponent twice in the space of a couple of weeks] - she will have watched the match and would have wanted to change a few things in her game plan and I want to keep my game plan so it's a bit difficult what to expect what was going to happen this time. I had my game plan and I thought I will see how it goes."

El Sherbini will meet Hania El Hammamy for the fifth time this season in the last four on Wednesday after the world No.2 comprehensively defeated fellow Egyptian Fayrouz Aboelkheir.

El Hammamy was sharp from the off and upped the pace to make life difficult for her 17-year-old opponent, who was appearing in a quarter final of a Platinum event for the first time in her career.

World No.2 El Hammamy forced some key errors from Aboelkheir's racket, taking an 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 victory.

"Fayrouz is a gifted player for sure," conceded El Hammamy. "She had a good win in the previous round against Salma Hany, but I think I've reached where I am and I've earned this position for a reason.

"I've gained a lot of experience and I've had a lot of battles to be in this position. I needed to bring that on today."