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Paul Coll (right) takes on Marwan ElShorbagy at the Qatar Classic

Qatar Classic QFs: Coll Beats ElShorbagy in Gladiatorial Battle

World No.5 Paul Coll advanced to the semi-finals of the Qatar Classic for the first time in his career after taking out World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy in a five-game thriller in Doha, Qatar.

Coll prevailed when the pair met in the semi-finals of the PSA Men’s World Championship last year in Qatar and triumphed once again courtesy of an 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 victory in 75 minutes.

Coll had won only one of his four previous matches against ElShorbagy – which included a loss to the eventual CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner in September – and twice fell behind as ElShorbagy put in a composed display and took his opportunities well.

Coll hadn’t been at his best throughout the early stages of the event and needed five games to get the better of Frenchman Gregoire Marche in the previous round. But the No.4 seed kept on fighting in the fourth and won it to send the match to a decider.

He got off to a promising 5-1 lead and, while ElShorbagy launched a mini-comeback, the Kiwi held his nerve to complete the win and book his spot in the last four.

“He’s an all-round quality player,” Coll said.

“He’s probably got some of the best lengths out of anyone on tour, and if you let him dominate you then you can lose seven or eight points within a matter of minutes. You’ve got to be on your mettle with everything, he gives you nothing. I always love a battle with him, he gives you nothing and it’s never easy.

“I really enjoyed that match today, I think it was pretty clean and a real battle between two players.

“My first three tournaments have been a bit up and down, I thought I was playing well but I wasn’t really getting some of the results that I was after. I love this court here, I’ve got fantastic memories from last year, it’s a nice court to play on and I’m really looking forward to another semi-final tomorrow.”

Coll will take on either Youssef Ibrahim or Fares Dessouky for a place in the title decider for a second year in succession in Qatar following his final appearance at last year’s World Championship.

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 (75m)

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