Kiwi squash star Paul Coll is through to the final of the El Gouna International for the first time in his career, after a hard-fought 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 semi-final win over Egypt's Tarek Momen on Friday (NZ time).
Coll executed his game plan to perfection in extremely hot conditions, utilising height and slowing the game down to nullify Momen’s attacking game and ensure his place in the PSA Platinum final.
"I was super happy with my game plan and the way I stuck to it all the way through,” said Coll post match. "It was really tough mentally for me as well, but super happy.
"I used a lot of height, Tarek loves the pace and tried to slow my movement down to 80 percent just to really be balanced on the ball, I thought that was enough to pick up a lot.
"I just tried to do that and put the ball away when I had the opportunity and just soak it up as much as possible."
Momen credited Coll for a clinical performance in "unbelievable" conditions, with temperatures in El Gouna nearing 40 degrees.
"It's almost unfair," Momen said. "I didn’t do anything wrong today. He made zero errors the whole match.
"It's so hot, I cannot put the ball away. I even adapted to the weather, but he could fetch every single ball I was throwing at him.
"I hit some decent shots, he was picking them up… I was the one making errors, while he wasn’t making many winners, he didn't have to."
Fourth-seeded Coll will square off with the winner of the second semi-final between locals Mohamed ElShorgaby and Fares Dessouky.
“Mohamed [ElShorbagy] is a warrior," Coll notes. "He's been here for a long time, but Dessouky has been in red hot form, so I hope they battle it out and go deep into the fifth.”
The men’s final is scheduled for around 7am Saturday.