New Zealand’s squash pro Paul Coll has won his semifinal battle at the China Open defeating Germany’s Simon Rösner in a brutal 90-minute contest and will now compete in his biggest PSA Tour final since he lifted the Channel VAS Championships trophy in December 2016.
Top seed and world No.5 Rösner was on the verge of earning a final berth after going 2-1 up and 9-6 ahead in game four but Coll showed nerves of steel to come back into the encounter and level the scores, before edging a tight decider to record an 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 triumph.
The two players have had some huge battles in the past, with the average match time between the pair totaling 86 minutes and this match was no different in an attritional and physical affair.
Rösner, who came into the clash leading 2-1 on their head-to-head record, struck first as he made the most of a 9-5 lead in the opening game to draw first blood but a couple of errors in the second allowed Coll to draw level.
There was little between the two in the third until Rösner moved ahead from 7-7 to hold three game balls and an error from Coll handed the initiative back to the tall German.
However, the Kiwi applied the pressure in the fourth and then in the fifth and was able to close out the win.
“That was a real classic battle out there with Rösner,” said Coll who is the tournament fourth seed and world No.10.
“I was focusing on being really tough in my head because I was going through patches of playing well then I would give away points really quickly. For me, it was a mental battle out there to stay focused whilst dealing with the conditions and I’m really happy to get through that.
“I had to get myself pumped up [in the fourth], I had an early lead in that game and I had to get myself back into it. I was annoyed at myself for letting that lead slip and managed to channel that emotion in the right way thankfully.
“I really enjoy this tournament in China, it’s my third time here now and I’ve done okay here and had a few good wins. To win it in such an amazing complex would be amazing.”
Coll will line up against Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar in the title decider after the world No.13 followed up a shock quarter-final win over 2015 champion Gregory Gaultier with a 3-2 defeat of Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal.
Coll, 26 and Abouelghar have played once previously with the Egyptian coming away the winner in five sets at the China Open in 2016.
The China Open is a gold status PSA tournament worth US$120,500 in prizemoney and is played at the Peninsula Shanghai outdoors on a glass court.