New Zealand squash pro and world No.10 Paul Coll returns to the scene of his biggest ever title win on the PSA World Tour this week. Coll lines up at the 2017 Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill in Weybridge, England, 18-22 October with the aim on defending his success.
The 25-year-old from Greymouth had a breakthrough 2016-17 season, with his title win at the 2016 Channel VAS Championships last December seeing him fight all the way from qualifying to take the title, with the then world No.33 beating higher ranked including Tarek Momen the top 10 Egyptian. on the way to his maiden PSA US$100,000 tournament victory.
Last month saw Coll become the first male New Zealander since Ross Norman in 1995 to reach the top 10 and he admits that the 2016 title win in Weybridge was crucial in his development from a talented up-and-comer to one of the elite players on the PSA World Tour.
“I have some really good memories from last year,” said Coll. “I’m looking forward to going back, it’s a very good tournament to play in and it’s a nice club.
“Winning that event and coming through qualifying was definitely a huge mental breakthrough for me. It gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season, so it was my biggest win so far.”
After starting the season with a semi-final berth at the China Squash Open, Coll claimed another landmark victory in the first round of the US Open, beating World Champion and World No.2 Karim Abdel Gawad, the first time Coll had ever beaten a player ranked inside the world’s top five.
The Kiwi was ultimately unable to back up that win as he slumped to a disappointing defeat to Egypt’s Omar Mosaad in the second round, but he says that he is relishing the chance to bounce back in Weybridge.
“I’m happy with the way my game is going and I had a good win against Karim,” Coll said.
“I didn’t back it up the way I wanted to but it’s another learning curve, I’ll assess what went wrong and how I can fix that for next time, so it’s been another positive event
“There are two ways you can take a loss, it was a painful and very disappointing loss but I’m pretty hungry to do better next time and not make the same mistakes as I made in that match (against Mosaad). “I sat down the next day and analysed what went wrong. I’m passed that match and I’m looking forward to the next match already.”
Coll will take on Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly in round one of the Channel VAS Championships and is seeded to meet world No.5 Ali Farag in a mouth-watering quarter-final clash.