QF : Coll 3-1 Gawad

QF : [3] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-1 [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)       2-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 (52m)

Coll through as Gawad fades

Oh I missed you Karim. I so missed you. You know when you are looking at the Tour, and feeling that’s something is missing but you can’t put your finger on it. Well, that was you, BabyFace Assassin. In that first game, it was amazing to remind ourselves why you are world champion, with the ease you have to string delicate shot after delicate shot.

Yes, of course, you have trained 20 days in 15 months, so your fitness is not as great as it should be, and your body is a bit under shock as for the intensity of training you impose on him all of the sudden.

I saw you changing your socks (your 2 pairs on top of the other), replacing your insole to protect your foot from that terrible injury that kept you away from us for so many months. And I saw you battling with your hamstring niggle and deciding quite rightly to stop putting it under unnecessary strain.

I know you don’t mind losing at the moment. You are just happy to play. And we are so happy that you can enchant us again with your magical skills. Look after yourself dear, and see you soon on court IsA…

I started struggling to see the ball for some reason.

Against Karim’s racket work, he just destroyed me. After the second, I started to see the ball better and dictate the pace, settle down with my movement and I started to feel quite good in the last three. It’s a real positive moving into the semi-finals.

“The first definitely suited him and then I managed to control the pace a bit more. Mixed the pace, used a bit more height and just try not to let him settle because if I did, he is a World Champion in that area, so take the game away from him as much as I could.

I think it settled me down a little bit [the blood injury], I had four minutes to calm myself down and maybe it helped me, but it was nothing serious.

Tarek and Greg are both really talented players and if I start like I started today then I will lose badly. I need to focus on the start a bit more, settle down quicker, find my targets and focus more at the start.

I think mental training comes with the physical training. Coming through tough sessions builds mental toughness, so I think the two go hand in hand and working with a great mental coach [Bart Wijnhoven].