QF: Paul comfortable still Tarek giving it all

[1] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0 [6] Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (74m)

Tarek impressed us tonight, yet again. There is a good reason why he won his World Title Champ in Qatar: because of the cold conditions…. That’s my belief. He needs for his shots to be as lethal as intended that the ball doesn’t bounce 40cm every time he tries to play a crispy drop shot.

And today, well, “it was like playing in an oven” he admitted at the end of the game. I believe him.

Paul’s game dwells, flourishes in those conditions, especially since he enriched his game with lovely drop shots. A bit like Lee Beachill a few years ago, he pins you back soooo far on the back wall, a good shot is enough to win the point at the end of an excruciating long rally.

It took a game  for Tarek to get used to the glasscourt – coming from the Squash Centre. He made a few errors in the first, losing the opener 11-4 in 17m. Yes. 11/4. 17m.

He didn’t make a single one in the second one though, only gave points on strokes – that seemed to be the only way to win points tonight to be honest. Paul, made one error, and also was penalised with 3 strokes. That’s 4 given away each.

That second game was of course crucial. It lasted 30m. And was close the whole way, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, then Paul in control, then Tarek back in contention, 8-8, 9-9. The rallies are endless, slow to mid pace, think Jonah Barrington and Goeff Hunt…

At that point, another excruciating long rally, Tarek feels he can get a stroke out of Paul’s high position in front of him, but it’s a no let announces the ref, 10/9, and a superb drive that glues to the wall, and it’s 11/9 for the Kiwi.

The third is again on the same mode, 1/1, 2/2, 4/4, 6/6, 7/7. But this time, Paul closes it 11/7, in 22m.

Paul 

“I had to believe in my game and that what I did last week was going to be the right tactic still and not try to change anything. Last week was a brutal match,  I was actually trying for 123 minutes this match! No, but it was a great battle last week and a great battle this week. The scorelines were tight, still long and tough conditions. I always enjoy playing Tarek, we always have great battles and we’ve had some huge ones in the past. I’m just happy not to have smashed the body after tonight!

“Playing in 30+ degree heat, I’m just trying to keep my drinks cool. The organisers are great at El Gouna, they’ve given us ice, cold drinks, water, and they’re making sure we stay healthy, so it’s just to keep all my supplements from RawSport, the best supplement brand out there. Just to keep them nice and cold!”

“It wasn’t necessarily [about attacking the forehand side]. It was just about executing the game plan and trying to think more clearly this week. There was a lot of pressure on me last week and I think I strayed away from my game plans a couple of times, but I’m feeling good and the body’s feeling fresh and physically good. Tonight the mind felt great, which is 100 percent of it. I have been really looking forward to it this week and another rest day tomorrow to enjoy beautiful Gouna and I’m looking forward to the next one.”