6:58 am
24 Jun 2024

Asal & Coll Reach Optasia Quarter-Finals

14 Mar 2024

Egypt's Mostafa Asal and New Zealand's Paul Coll progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2024 Optasia Championships in London after strong performances over Germany's Raphael Kandra and USA's Todd Harrity, respectively, in the PSA World Tour Gold event at The Wimbledon Club.

In the penultimate men's match of the day, No.3 seed Asal, making his first Optasia appearance, was given a real test by his German opponent, with all three games finishing 11-7 and taking 13, 13 and 12 minutes with Kandra still on level terms towards the end of each of them.

The German's disruptive style has won him more than a few big scalps, and at times Asal was struggling to contain his opponent in the way he often does.

But the Egyptian found his way in each game with runs of closing points, taking the first from 8-7, the second from 4-7 and a close-all-the-way third from 8-7.

"I'm very happy with my performance today," said Asal after the match. "I know that Rapha is a very dangerous opponent. It feels strange being in the bottom half of the draw and playing first, but it means I get a day off!

"It was really good playing in front of this crowd in this great venue, there's a really good atmosphere."

In the final match of the afternoon session, No.2 seed Coll cruised into the next round with a 3/0 win over USA's Harrity who came from two games down to beat Nicolas Mueller in one of the previous day's upsets.

The American made a solid start as the opening eight points were shared, but Coll started to get on top, opening up a lead and then racing through the final three points to lead 11-6. The second game was a quick affair as Coll doubled his advantage with an 11-2 game, and he was always leading in the third.

Harrity saved the first match ball as he got the better of a long, entertaining rally, and although he took the next point as well, the inevitable end came as Coll completed the win 11-6 on the half hour mark.

"That was a good tester," said Coll after the match. "Todd takes it early and volleys a lot so you have to be sharp.

"It was a good workout to get used to the court, which behaved differently than I expected so I'll take something from that."

Elsewhere, women's top seed Nele Gilis progressed after a comfortable win over England's Katie Malliff, Egypt's Nada Abbas beat England's Millie Tomlinson for the first time and Joel Makin defeated Iker Pajares in a 43-minute three-game win.