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Channel VAS Championship - Semi-Finals: As it Happened

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the semi-finals of the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George's Hill gets under way in Weybridge.

England's Daryl Selby and Paul Coll go head-to-head as they look to keep up their fantastic tournaments so far, while former World No.1 James Willstrop meets Egypt's Tarek Momen in the other last four clash.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT)
15:00 Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Paul Coll (NZL)
follow on [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [6] James Willstrop (ENG)

Qualifier Coll Continues Run With Selby Scalp to Reach Final

New Zealand’s Paul Coll continued his giant-killing run at the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill after a sublime performance from the 24-year-old qualifier saw him take out last year’s runner-up Daryl Selby.

World No.33 Coll had been dangerous throughout the tournament and claimed big upsets against Hong Kong’s World No.18 Max Lee and Colombia’s World No.13 Miguel Angel Rodriguez, winning in brutal five-game encounters against both opponents.

After also battling through qualification to reach the main draw, Coll had spent an incredible 266 minutes on court before his semi-final matchup with Selby, which was almost twice as much as the 34-year-old from Essex, who had fought through 134 minutes of action – including an 89-minute epic against World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in round one.

The match began with a series of tough, attritional rallies at the start as both players felt their way into the encounter, with Coll eventually seizing the initiative as his attacking prowess at the front of the court enabled him to storm to a 2-0 lead with a virtually error-free performance.

Selby pushed up the court to combat Coll’s inch-perfect drops, and that approach paid dividends as the third game went the way of the World No.16 for the loss of just four points. But Coll dug in and took command of the ’T’ in the fourth and final game to settle the win by an 11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 11-5 margin and he will compete for his biggest ever title in tomorrow’s final.

“I'm so happy, it's been a wicked tournament for me and it's given me a real confidence boost” said Coll.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, I think I'll be pretty happy over Christmas. I've really been trying to relax and be confident with my short game. A lot of people have told me that I needed to work on it, but I've just stuck to what I know and now I'm just trying to relax and use the front a bit more when it's there.

“But I don't want to be silly with it and still use my fitness and my main game. I just relaxed out there and let everything go and it paid off for me. I knew I played really well in the first two and I played quite fast, so I knew that there was going to be a drop off in pace.

“He really stepped up and made me pay for it, and I knew in the fourth that I really had to tell myself to step up on the ’T'. Physically, I was feeling fine, but it's been a long week for me, so I had to really make myself step up on the 'T' and push the pace.

“I didn't expect to get this far, I'm going to have to change my flights back to New Zealand for Christmas, which is going to take up most of my prize money!”

For Selby, it was a fourth time in a row that he had bowed out at the semi-final stage of a PSA World Tour event, but he vowed to come back and fight for silverware after the Christmas break.

“It was a massive match for both of us,” he admitted.

“You have some days when you wake up and feel good, and some days when you don’t. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself. I didn’t play as well as I have been recently, but it was to be expected. You go through periods of form, and today, he nullified me really well.

“I feel the court suited him very well, he could get everything back on that court, and he did get everything back. He didn’t make many errors.

“I felt it was my tournament, but it wasn’t to be. I’ll keep pushing over Christmas, I’m a hungry boy, I want it, and I’ll be coming back stronger.”

[Q] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 11-5 (59m)

Momen Defeats Willstrop to Set up Coll Clash

Egypt’s Tarek Momen will appear in a first PSA World Tour final since February courtesy of a magnificent 3-0 win over former World No.1 James Willstrop – setting up a repeat of his epic Qatar Classic clash with New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the final.

Momen hadn’t beaten Willstrop since 2014, when the Englishman was struggling with injury and illness, but he played some of his best squash to limit Willstrop’s unparalleled accuracy, moving the 33-year-old into all four corners of the court regularly throughout the 55-minute fixture.

After claiming five game balls in game one, Momen was victim to an onslaught from Willstrop, who got himself back to within a point of his opponent, but an unforced error from the man from Yorkshire handed a 1-0 lead to Momen.

Willstrop found his range more in the second game, despite crumpling on the floor after being caught by Momen with the Egyptian 7-4 up. The break in play disrupted Momen’s momentum and benefitted Willstrop but, with the scores delicately poised at 10-9 in Momen’s favour, Willstrop struck the tin as another error enabled Momen to double his lead.

A vocal crowd at the St George's Hill Lawn Tennis Club got behind Willstrop in the third, and he traded some hard-fought blows with Momen, but it was the higher-ranked player who managed to draw Willstrop out of position to close out an 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 triumph that sees him through to lock horns with Coll in a mouthwatering final.

“I feel great, beating James in three has to be an accomplishment that I'll always be proud of,” said Momen.

“To beat him in three games, I had to play really well. I think today's court conditions worked a bit to my advantage because it was a bit deader. It helped my game at the front a bit more than before.

“I think I used the combination of attacking to the back and to the front pretty well, which helped in achieving this result, I'm really happy with it.”

Momen and Coll will face each other for the first time since a gladiatorial 101-minute battle at last month’s Qatar Classic – and Momen is preparing himself for a tough match tomorrow.

“I didn't think we would be facing each other that soon,” he admitted.

“Paul is a unique player, he's so quick and elastic. You know you're not going to get away with putting the ball away against him, so the game plan has to be very, very disciplined and executed quite well. He's a great player and I hope we have a great match tomorrow.

“It would mean a lot [to win], it would be my biggest title. My biggest so far is a 50K, so to win tomorrow would be such a privilege. I don't like to focus too much on the title, I prefer to focus on the match in hand and hopefully, if I can get the win, I can enjoy it.”

[5] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [6] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (55m)

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