Coll makes history in Hong Kong

Paul Coll celebrates his win in Hong Kong. Photo via NZ Herald
Paul Coll celebrates his win in Hong Kong. Photo via NZ Herald
Squash player Paul Coll has become the first New Zealand man to win the Hong Kong Open crown, beating world No 1 Ali Farag.

Coll, ranked 4th in the world, got the better of Farag in an epic five-game battle on Sunday for his second major title of the season, having also defeated the Egyptian to win the US Open.

It was the third time this campaign that Coll and Farag went head-to-head and the quality from both was of the highest order.

Both players were pushing high up the court from the off, as Farag drew first blood to take the opening game 12-10.

Coll bounced back, finding great success with the forehand drop in the front right corner as he levelled the match, before going 2-1 up by clinching the third 11-8.

Having been under huge pressure from Coll in the third, Farag roared back as he held his nerve to level the match and send the epic encounter into a decider.

Both players were going point for point right up to 9-9 when a no let decision went in Coll’s favour to give him championship ball.

The Kiwi converted following an error from Farag to score the 22nd title of his career.

“I’m stoked,” said Coll afterwards.

“After US Open I was preparing for this one - I had Singapore as well but this was my main target.

“I’m happy with my performances – not just tonight but all week. I’ve really tried to play some aggressive squash and that’s the brand that I’m going for.

“To get a second Platinum of the season is very good for my confidence with the way that I’m playing. I want to keep that going for the rest of the season.”

Coll now returns home to play the New Zealand Open and the Men’s World Teams Championship in Tauranga.