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Paul Coll (left) takes on Fares Dessouky (right) during round two of the 2020 Manchester Open

Manchester Open RD2: Coll Grinds Out Win Over Dessouky

Kiwi World No.5 Paul Coll had to be on his mettle to come out on top in an exciting clash with Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in Manchester’s National Squash Centre.

Coll came into the match boasting a four-match winning run against his opponent and he wasted no time in getting into his stride during an accomplished opening game performance which saw him capitalise on Dessouky’s loose shots.

Dessouky had started slowly but stepped it up in the second as the thunderous attacking volleys that have characterised his decade on the PSA World Tour came to the fore and he soon levelled the scores.

The next game went the way of Coll, with the pair exchanging in some high tempo rallies. Dessouky had the lead for much of the fourth though and led 9-8 until a stupendous dive from Coll in the backhand corner left a sweat patch on the floor and Dessouky, fearing the possibility of slipping, stopped the rally a few shots later, looking for a let.

The referee, however, denied him the let saying that Dessouky should have stopped immediately after the dive. A frustrated Dessouky then lost his head on the next point and slammed the ball into the tin from the front of the court to hand Coll a match ball.

Dessouky fought back to send the match to the tie-break but Coll wasn’t to be denied as he closed out an 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10 victory just shy of the hour mark.

“I was really looking forward to the first match but I didn’t really play my style and I came off court not really enjoying it, I was a bit passive,” said Coll following the match.

“I spoke to my coach and he gave me a rocket and told me to be a lot more aggressive. I enjoyed that a lot more, I felt a lot more like myself and it definitely got the juices flowing.”

Strict COVID-19 protocols are in place in Manchester, with players not allowed to help each other up off the floor, to shake hands at the end of the match or touch the court walls, instead needing to use towels located at the front of the court to wipe sweat from their hands.

Coll says that the players are now used to these guidelines: “We’re all smart people, we get used to the new rules and it’s pretty simple to abide by.”

On his win over Dessouky, Coll said: “My coach gave me a rocket because I was way too slow in the first game and I just wanted to focus on my first step and make sure that was a lot more aggressive. I had to make sure my hitting was a lot more aggressive as well.

“I felt I did that at the start, it was a bit scrappy, but I think because of that aggressive mindset I managed to get a lead and close it out.”

Coll will play either Tarek Momen in a repeat of the men’s 2019-20 PSA World Championship final or World No.11 Mohamed Abouelghar for a place in the semi-finals.

[5] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [10] Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10 (59m)

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