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Paul Coll

New Zealand’s Coll Beats Egypt’s Farag to Win Canary Wharf Classic Title

New Zealand’s World No.3 Paul Coll claimed the Canary Wharf Classic title for the second time in his career after he prevailed in a thrilling final against Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag at the spectacular East Wintergarden in London.

The pair were meeting for the 18th time in their careers, with Farag holding a lofty advantage at 15-2 in the head-to-head. However, it was Coll who triumphed for the second time in a final over the Egyptian this year, backing up his 2021 Allam British Open victory to clinch the PSA World Tour Gold title in front of a packed-out crowd.

A best-of-three games format was used up to and including the quarter finals in Canary Wharf with scoring reverting to best of five for the semis and final and it was World No.1 Farag who got off to the better start, finding his length early on and moving Coll into all four corners of the court before converting the first game, 11-7.

Coll responded in emphatic style in the second, cutting down Farag’s angles and restricting his creativity to race into a 10-5 lead, but it took seven game balls before he was able to draw back level.

The final two games were a perfect display of concentration from Coll as he stuck to his game plan to successfully convert the 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-6 victory and win his second major title of the year.

“I’m very happy,” said Coll in his post-match interview. “I have so much respect for Ali, he’s such a great champion, he’s a top player. For me to beat him in the final is extra special, he’s such a top and fair player and everyone should look up to as a quality champion. I’m so happy to take two titles off him.

“It’s so tough to beat him. You’ve got to put so many things together, get a game plan and then execute it from start to finish, I’m very proud of this win. I want to thank the crowd, it’s my favourite venue to come to, Tim garner, you do an amazing thing here. Thanks Canary Wharf, the crowd make it but to even have the event in such a special location and I know all the players are so privileged to come here and play this tournament.

“Rob Owen has changed my game, taught me how to play the game and I’m just so grateful to share his time and his commitment to me and all his players.”

Farag added: “He’s the worthy winner, he played a lot better than I did, the ball was a flyer again, I couldn’t control it from the get go, he was taking better positions in the middle and hitting his corners better than I was so definitely didn’t deserve to win today.

“I don’t think I deserved to win it, I have nothing but respect for Paul and his coach Rob Owen whatever they did together is paying off, they do a lot of work I’m sure, there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. There’s so much you don’t see, all the team behind us supports us all the way, so I’d like to congratulate them and everyone behind them.”

Coll takes home over $17,500 in prize money and his next tournament will be the CIB Squash Open Black Ball in Cairo, with the men’s and women’s event taking place between December 12-20.

Result: Canary Wharf Classic – Final
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-6 (69m)

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