Good wins for Kiwi squash professionals Paul Coll and Joelle King overnight at the Hong Kong Squash Open Platinum event. Although they both dropped a game, the results were still solid and prepared them for their tough third round matches and potentially clashes with high seeds in the quarter-finals.
Seeded sixth, Coll defeated top 30 ranked player Leo Au (Hong Kong) 7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-6 in 59 minutes and was pleased to make it into the next round.
“I’m really happy, I felt like my performance was a bit up and down and against a home player like that, he is always going to be up for it. It’s a tough one and I really had to dig deep to find some answers to his attacking at the front.
“He came out firing and I came out slow, so I was happy to find my range in the end. I thought the performance itself was a bit patchy,” said Coll who has a current world ranking of eight.
“It was good that I came back towards the end of that first game because he came out racing. It was good for me to get some momentum at the back end of that and I was able to carry that through into the second. I love a home crowd like that and it’s wicked to see the Hong Kong crowd get behind their players. I just tried to knuckle down in the fourth and not let the crowd affect me.”
Coll now faces in-form Englishman Declan James ranked 18 in the world in the third round. They have played on two previous occasions with results shared one a piece. World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy looms as the likely quarter-final opponent.
For King her second round victory in the women’s singles had her feeling happy to get a win under her belt and loving being back in Hong Kong. She defeated Egyptian Mayar Hany 11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 in only 30 minutes
“It’s nice to get off to a winning start. Last time I played Mayar she actually beat me and that was in the British Open two years ago, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match. I guess with any of the young Egyptians they fight until the very end, so I’m just pleased to come off with a 3-1 win and have a rest day tomorrow.
She sort of plays a similar game to me and likes to hit the ball hard and fights until the end. I obviously knew it was going to be tough but I’m glad to be on the board against her and it’s 1-1 now,” said the seventh ranked King.
“I think that court suits my game, if you’re hitting the ball hard and through then you get rewards on there. I guess I’ve been here for four days now and I’ve managed to get on it every day so I’m feeling good on there and looking forward to the next match.
“It’s probably one of the closest tournament for me from home in terms of the majors, so it’s always nice to come a short way to get here and all the crowd seem to come in and know their squash so it’s always an exciting venue to play in.”
In her third round King will face another Egyptian, 20th ranked Hania El Hammamy on Thursday evening.