Asal win marathon battle with Momen to reach semis as Elias…

Asal win marathon battle with Momen to reach semis as Elias, Asal and Coll complete lineup

World No.3 Paul Coll came back from two match balls down to register a fighting win over Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar and advance into the semi-final of the Qatar QTerminals Classic on Thursday.

The New Zealander looking for his third final in Doha will clash with No.7 seed Mostafa Asal who won a marathon all-Egyptian battle with No.3 seed Tarek Momen.

 In a repeat of this month’s US Open final, Asal inflicted more hurt on the 2019 World Champion winning 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 12-14, 11-4 in a match which lasted 114 minutes.

The last match of the day between Asal and Momen which witnessed high end drama including a 15-minute injury break as Momen reported injured in the fourth game and returned after treatment but lost the fifth and decider to hand Asal a place in the semi-final.

The last matches of the day were touch and go affairs. It started with the one between Coll and Abouelghar which lasted 93 minutes and went to the wire and. 

The New Zealander, who won his maiden British Open in August this year, had the last laugh in the end but not before surviving some anxious moments in the five-game thriller to script a 11-5, 4-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8  win. 

The spectators saw some high-quality squash and both players came up with some free-flowing rallies. Coll had the better of the middle of the court in the first game, but Abouelghar really found his range at the front of the court to take the second.

Coll was unable to capitalise on a 6-3 advantage in the third as Abouelghar changed the angles and finished his opportunities well. The World No.15 then stormed into a 7-3 lead in the fourth and found himself two match balls up, but Coll dug in and came back to set up a nail-biting decider.

It was neck-and-neck until 8-8, when Coll was able to outmanoeuvre his opponent to seal the win and a place in the last four here for a second year in succession.

“It was an enjoyable match to be a part of and it was high quality,” said Coll.

“I was a little bit disappointed with some of the leads I had throughout the match, especially the third, when I didn’t close it out. Things kept going the wrong way for me, so it was a real mental battle for me. At the start of the fourth, I went down 6-1, I thought I was playing good squash but not winning rallies.

“I had to really stick to it mentally, dig deep and push through. I felt like it was close to me playing well and running away with it, there were a few leads here and there and a few shots that didn’t go my way. But I’m very happy to close it out and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Coll will take on the winner of the all-Egyptian tie between Tarek Momen and Mostafa Asal in  the semi-final.

In the other encounter on Friday, Diego Elias of Peru and Welshman Joel Makin will clash, with both aiming to reach their first final in Doha.

Earlier, Elias defeated Germany’s Raphael Kandra 11-9, 8-11, 14-12, 11-1 to reach his first semifinal in Qatar.

 “He’s a very tough opponent,” said Elias.

“We played two weeks ago at the US Open and I was winning comfortably, but then he started fighting and it was a very hard match. I’m very happy with how I fought and I’m happy with this win.

 “I reached my first (major) semi final here in Qatar. Now it’s time to reach my first final.”

In the second match of the day, Makin defeated World No.13 Mazen Hesham in three games at 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 victory in just 29 minutes earning the Welshman back-to-back Platinum semi finals for the first time after a run to the US Open last four earlier this month.