Kiwi squash player Paul Coll caps giantkilling run in style by winning Channel VAS Championship in England
New Zealand's top men's squash player, Paul Coll, has claimed the biggest tournament win of his career, completing a stunning giantkilling run to claim the Channel VAS Championship in England on Tuesday (NZ time).
Coll, the 24-year-old from Christchurch, stunned all before him, with the world No 33 coming through the qualifying rounds of one of the PSA Tour's lucrative events (US$100,000 prizemoney) at St George's Hill in Surrey.
Coll made the main draw after taking down Finland's Henrik Mustonen (world No 59) and France's Lucas Serme (world No 36) in comfortable three-setters.
He then drew eighth seed and world No 18 Max Lee of Hong Kong in the first round, spending 75 minutes on court in some gruelling rallies, to prevail 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4.
That took Coll to the quarterfinals, against Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez (world No 13), and the two players produced an encounter of mammoth proportions, with Coll sealing the win 9-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6 in a tough 102 minutes.
A semifinal against world No 16 Daryl Selby was the next task, with the Englishman having upset top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy in the first round. But there was no stopping Coll, who took care of business 11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 11-5 in 59 minutes.
That then set the plucky Kiwi up for the final, against world No 11 Egyptian Tarek Momen, who had claimed the pair's last encounter in an epic five-setter in Qatar.
Coll, having spent over 340 minutes on court during the week and having had to reschedule his flight home, was out to cap off his stellar time at the tournament.
A strong performance in the first game had him on track, winning it 11-7, but Momen came out firing in the second and looked set to level, but a calm showing by Coll saw him fight back and take it 13-11.
In the third Momen produced several unforced errors which Coll capitalised, on and he stormed out to a strong lead, winning it 11-4, to claim the contest in 56 minutes.
This event tops off a stellar year for Coll, having claimed two medals at the World Doubles Championships (gold in the mixed and bronze in the men's), his second New Zealand national title, and three PSA titles in the New Zealand PSA series in June.
The win is set to see Coll catapult himself into the low 20s in the world rankings.