SF: Paul wins with 2 conduct strokes….

[1] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-2 [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-1, 11-6 (109m)

Fram report (be ready, it’s a long one!)

Not that enthusiastic is probably a good way to politely describe the feelings of former number one Mohamed ElShorbagy towards the central ref.

I guess it started in the first game, when Mohamed’s ball was called not up. The Egyptian was adamant it was good. But the ref wouldn’t check it. Then went on saying that it had been checked by the video ref and was called not good. Not sure if Mohamed heard that part though. He kept asking check it, in vain.

That was at 9/7 for the Egyptian, after Mohamed being pretty much in control in that opener. Paul, as strong and calm as the Kiwi can be, gets it levelled at 9/9, a big effort if you think he was trading two to three points behind the whole game.

Mohamed scores a winner at the front, and one at the back, 11/9, 18m.

At the start of the second game, a no let against Paul at 2/2, which I felt was clearly Mohamed’s moving into the Kiwi’s path. But what do I know, both the ref and the video ref gave Paul a no let.

3/3, 4/4, 5/5. 6/6. We stopped there for a while, crucial pivot obviously. Huge rally. Let. Huge rally, video ref, let. Huge rally, finally a winner, it’s Shorbagy’s, but as he tins the next rally, we are back level, 7/7.

A no let against Shorbagy, overruled to a stroke for him by the video ref – that gives confidence to the player…  A drive that dies at the back from Paul, 8/8.

One stroke each – I cannot tell you how TOUGH are the rallies, surreal. 9/9.

But a winner from the Kiwi at the back, and an error from the Egyptian, and Paul closes the 30m game 11/9.

Paul made his single error on the first point of that game. Three errors for Mohamed.

The third game is fun too. A superb start from Paul, 4/0. Mohamed little by little, speeds the pace up, and gets Paul to play HIS game, not the slower pace the Kiwi dwells in. And we are back at 5/5. 6/6. 6/7.

Mohamed asks for the court to be cleaned. It’s refused. Unless I’m mistaken that was the first time he asked. But I could be wrong.

The Egyptian calls his ball not up, and we are level again, 7/7. Paul gets in front, 9/7, but Mohamed levels, 9/9. It was three points for Paul from 6/7 down, then 3 points for Mohamed to reach game ball.

What follow is still a bit of a blur for me. But I’ll try to recall.

A let for Mohamed, he wants a stroke but will have to accept that let – probably wanted a bit of a rest bless him.  Then Mohamed screams “BLOCK” as he feels that Paul took away his line – I couldn’t help smiling at that one, as Mohamed would know about that – and the Egyptian gets a let. Not happy is Mohamed, he wants a stroke.

That he will get in the next rally – we are still at 10/9 – as he runs into Paul – in my opinion, never had the intention of playing the ball, but gets his stroke, from the video ref – God Love him, it’s finally 11/9 for Mohamed. Paul, not happy but still in his zone.

Game length was 26m. As we start the 4th, we have been playing for 80m.

After a bad start, 3/1, one of his shots is called not up by the video ref, and Mohamed is truly unhappy. He feels the ball was good. And let the game go by, 11/1 in 7m.

As often at the start of the 5th game – God love him – Mohamed asks for a 3m self injury extension of the 2m between games, asking the physio to check his left knee.

I guess the physio did wonders as it’s an excellent start in the 5th for Shorbagy, 3/0. But Paul is not letting go, and manages to mix height and slower pace, clawing back to 4/4, 5/5.

Paul is ahead, 8/5, but is penalised by a no let, 6/8. At that point, Mohamed is also penalised, but by a stroke, for blocking if I remember correctly the word used by the ref.

That’s 9/6 for Paul.

Mohamed goes a****it, and just loses it, arguing that he got only a let when Paul was blocking at the end of the 3rd, why would HE be penalised with the stroke. And just wouldn’t stop.

After a little time, he is penalised with a conduct stroke, that gives the Kiwi a match ball. 10/6. Another conduct stroke follows as Mohamed keeps confronting the ref, and it’s 11/6.

PSA report

Paul Coll avenged his defeat to Mohamed ElShorbagy a fortnight ago in the World Championship in odd circumstances as the Kiwi won 3-2 in a match that ended by two conduct strokes against ElShorbagy for dissent.

In a cagey opening game, that was played at a slower pace as the pair weighed each other up, ElShorbagy took a 5-1 lead, before Coll brought it back to 9-9. ElShorbagy was able to pull away once again to take the game 11-9.

In a brutal 30-minute second game, played in hot conditions by the Red Sea, neither man was able to break away, as Paul Coll edged a cat-and-mouse affair to level with an 11-9 win.

ElShorbagy struggled in the early phases of the third game, before settling as the ball began to soften to draw level at 5-5. From here they traded points, reaching 9-9 once again. In a fractious end to the game, this time it was ElShorbagy’s turn to pull away and take the game 11-9 to claim a 2-1 lead.

“Any hope of a win in four for ElShorbagy was quickly ended by Coll, who quickly took the fourth game 11-1 to take the match into a fifth.

“ElShorbagy, who took an injury break after game four, started strongly in the decider, powering around court as he took the first three points. Coll, however, was able to recover and take a 6-5 lead as he found his range at the perfect moment. With Coll 9-6 up, the match then finished in acrimonious circumstances.

“ElShorbagy disagreed vehemently with a video referee stroke decision, with his continued protestations seeing a first and then, as he continued to argue with referee Andrea Santamaria, a second conduct stroke awarded against the Egyptian, handing what up until then had been an entertaining match to Coll.

Paul

“It’s not great to end a good battle like that. We were going hard for over 100 minutes again and it’s a shame for a match to end like that. I don’t really know what to say. It’s a shame. We’re pretty close off court and it’s a shame the match ended like this. It was a good battle.

“The defeat was very disappointing for me at the World Champs. I was really targeting that and Mohamed found his form again and he’s such a tough competitor. He’s been around the circuit for who knows how long and came out and found his groove again, and tonight we had a huge battle again, so I think he’s found his form again and he’s going to be a danger for, hopefully not too many years, but he’s proved that he’s truly found his groove again.

“We’re playing in 30+ degrees and as hard as that is physically, mentally it’s very hard. Everyone’s using ice between games to cool down and try to stay calm and mentally focused in such hot temperatures.

“Another Egyptian in the final, I’m sure it’s going to be a big battle between those two, they played as well in the World Championships and had 90+ minutes there, so I’m hoping for 100+minutes from them tonight!”