R3: Respect/Intensity, Paul 3-0 Hammer

[5] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 Omar Mosaad (Egy)  14-12, 11-5, 11-9 (63m)

One thing you cannot blame Omar for : not trying. The Hammer of Thor gave it all today, and it was impressive. I’m not sure he got a fair share of the decisions to be honest, I felt he was hard done by several times on crucial points. But he accepted those decisions with fatalism. OK, after a few loud exchanges at the end of the first game, actually and rightly from both players.

The first game is OBVIOUSLY crucial. Omar had one chance to close the game, 11/10. Paul just clinched that one but what an intense game, long, very long rallies, mid-pace, tight to the wall, lots of volley drop shots all around, and a lot of retrieving… 27m.

Omar needed some time to mentally recover from losing that opener, and to get his second wind, 11/5 in 11m for Paul.

The third is a credit to our sport and Omar in particular. Close in the middle, 3-3, 4-4, 5-6. Paul’s retrieving is putting the Egyptian under so much pressure, forcing him to attack lower and lower, forcing him to cover so much ground. 9/5, 10/6, match ball.

Omar still fought with every shot, every rally, as if the match started. Intensity, determination, fairness, patience, accuracy. For 10m, he fought and clawed back to 9/10, only to be penalised with a no let as he went to the wrong direction and created the interference.

But how HEARTBREAKING that was. He deserved a fourth.

Paul : I was actually very happy with the way I was striking the ball. I gave away a lot of leads, I was a bit annoyed with that. 8/4 in the first, 9/5 10/9 in the last one.

We were playing at a high pace, he is very tight, very good ball striker, he moves too early, he is quite tricky and he is a big boy. There were like some strange decisions, I think some of them, he is not doing it in purpose, he is just, a big guy, the ref seemed to maybe over complicate things. He is a big boy, and there’s always going to be a few interferences.

I physically felt great, happy with my sticking of the ball, but I got a little passive at time and he is very good when that happens. I enjoyed the game still, it was clean, got off 3/0…

He is a good player, fair, he doesn’t stay in the way in purpose, he is a big guy, not malicious, leaving legs out or anything. If I get a sh*** shot in the middle, I’ll have to go round him to get it, that’s fair, as long as I don’t get sh*** shot’s I’ll be alright…

I was speaking to Stu Davenport this morning, he is a great mentor for me, he told me not to be too hard on myself, it’s going to take a couple of months for me to accept that new role [not being number 1]. I’ve made a few changes, I’ve watched about 10 hours of Rod Martin on youtube, he is my favourite squash player, and I’ve got a real good energy about myself.

Win or lose, I’m really embracing and digging in, developing my game, training hard, and back to what I like in sports, analysis of the game, that’s what makes the squash itself, and that’s what I love. I have one of the best technical coaches in the game, I’m speaking with him all the time, and we are very happy with the way my squash is going. I feel I’m in a good spot.