Two out of three for Kiwi squash pros at the World Champs in Manchester, England this morning.
Kiwi No.8 seed Paul Coll has won his way into the third round of the men’s singles, while Waikato player Joelle King, the women’s ninth seed cruised into the women’s second round, however world No.40, Campbell Grayson from Auckland was beaten in the second round by a seeded player.
Coll, 25 from Greymouth defeated Scotland’s Greg Lobban 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 in 73 minutes to set up a clash with 13th seed Daryl Selby (England). It was Selby who beat Grayson in his second round match in straight games 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 in 59 minutes.
For Coll his win was anything but easy. Going into the match, the two players head-to-head records were equal at one win apiece and there was not much between the two players throughout the match at Manchester’s National Squash Centre.
The opening encounter proved to be a tight battle as Scotland’s Lobban refused to make things easy for the number eight seed. However, Coll who is one of the fittest players on the Men’s Tour put his game plan to full effect as he lengthened the rallies.
In the third game, Lobban fought back to reduce the gap between him and Coll to bring the scores to 7-7. The Scotsman continued to apply pressure on Coll as the game wore on, with the World No.8 forced to bring out his trademark dive as Lobban pushed him to all four corners of the court.
Lobban’s hard work eventually paid dividends as he took the third game by an 11-9 margin. However, a handful of unforced errors cost Lobban in the fourth as Coll managed to keep his composure to come through by an 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 scoreline.
“It was very tough,” said Coll. “I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t close it out in three, I had a pretty good lead in the third and he went a bit passive and then stepped it up and reversed the lead a bit but I was happy with the win.
“I knew he was going to be tough and he wasn’t going to give it to me. I know him quite well, we are good friends and so I know he’s a tough player and that he wasn’t going to give me anything.
“I’m feeling good, my body is feeling good. I’ve recovered well from last week and I’m enjoying my time here.”
Coll will have confidence looking ahead to his next match knowing he has a good recent record against Selby having beaten him in March this year and twice in 2016.
Meanwhile King’s start to the tournament was a quick-fire 22 minute victory over Canadian qualifier Hollie Naughton. She will now face seventh seed Sarah-Jane Perry (England) for a place in the quarter-finals. On the one occasion King and Perry have played this year it was the Kiwi coming away the winner in a tournament in Hong Kong last month.