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Paul Coll in action against Joel Makin

Channel VAS QF: Coll Wins Marathon Makin Match

New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll came from a game down in the longest match of the tournament so far against Wales’ World No.12 Joel Makin to advance to the semi-finals of the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill.

The last time these two players met was at the start of the season in the final of the Open de France – Nantes, where Coll came away with a 3-0 victory to take his first title of the season. Makin showed just how much he had improved throughout the course of the first half of the season though as he was in clinical form to take an 11-3 first game.

The Kiwi struggled to get himself going, with Makin showcasing a solid performance to stay in front of Coll and showed his quality on the attack.

Coll, who is no stranger to digging in deep in matches, came back well in the second game to level the scores before surviving Makin saving one game ball to convert on his second attempt in the third to take the lead for the first time in the match.

Makin showed why he is in the best form of his career in the fourth as he came from behind to push the match to a fifth with both players showcasing their fitness and agility to its full extent with some incredible rallies and retrievals.

It was Coll who was able to kick on another gear in the fifth though as he pounced on a struggling Makin to close out a monumental 3-11, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-2 victory and reach his third successive semi-final.

“I was really struggling mentally today, I was just in and out of concentration and focus which is disappointing from my end,” said Coll afterwards.

“The first set was terrible, for the rest of the match I felt like I had leads and then I was giving them away too easily – unforced errors which is not usually my game. I’m happy to push through, overall mentally today I wasn’t quite sharp enough and against someone like Joel, who is coming at you the whole time and if you have mental lapses he will punish you for that. I’m happy to get through even though I wasn’t feeling my best today.

“He stepped up today, but I feel like I wasn’t as clinical as I was against him in the final in Nantes. Especially on that court, he picks up a lot and played really well today, credit to him, I’m just happy that I put in a good fifth set to close it out.

“I really wanted to test myself this week. My goal is to be World No.1 and you have to be consistent all year round and in every tournament, there are no excuses. This week is me testing myself mentally and backing up from a tough week last week, so far so good and hopefully I can keep going in this tournament.”

[3] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [8] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 3-11, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-2 (87m)

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