SF :  Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0  Tarek Momen (Egy) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (63m)
Mission impossible for Tarek I felt…
Ok, just to give you an idea of the conditions: take your hair dryer in hand, put it on the medium setting, not the hotter, the other one. Then make it blow in your face. That’s the air the players were breathing tonight. I KID YOU NOT.
And Tarek well, he twists and turns his opponent and crucify them with delicate soft volley drop shots after playing puppet with them all around the court. Trouble is tonight, Tarek couldn’t crucify Paul as the ball was not bouncy, no, it was ‘basketball bouncy’.
And Paul knew it. And he just played to keep the ball in play, at a medium pace. He can do that literally all night. The Egyptian never put a foot wrong tactically, he was patient, he was positive, he kept trying and trying despite the errors that started to creep in as he couldn’t close the rallies and had to go lower and lower close to the tin. Hence 4 errors in the first, 6 in the second, 5 in the 3rd.
Paul didn’t make many winners, 5 per game, as Tarek said, he didn’t have to…
“It was really tough mentally for me as well, but super happy. I used a lot of height, Tarek loves the pace and tried to slow my movement down to 80% just to really be balanced on the ball, I thought that was enough to pick up a lot. I just tried to do that and put the ball away when I had the opportunity and just soak it up as much as possible.
“I got that from Jonah Barrington, I’ve spoken to him a few times and he said on the defence shot, pop it up super slow and make your opponent hit a winner against you. On this court, it’s super bouncy and I backed my movement to pick up whatever he threw at me.
“Mohamed is a warrior. He’s been here for a long time, but Dessouky has been in red hot form, so I hope they battle it out and go deep into the fifth.”
The conditions are unbelievable, it’s almost unfair. I didn’t do anything wrong today. I was a bit unlucky in the second with the errors, but they were the right shots to play. I wasn’t impatient, I wasn’t rushing.
He made zero errors (actually, he made 2!) the whole match, unbelievable. I have often matches like that where my opponents are sharper than they are with anyone else!
It’s so hot, I cannot put the ball away, I even adapted to the weather, but he could fetch every single ball I was throwing at him, then something must be wrong, and there is no way I can hit a single winner.
I hit some decent shots, he was picking them up, and eventually, I was the one making errors, while he wasn’t making many winners, he didn’t have to.
Those conditions are just not fair, that’s my opinion, I did the best I could, it was not my day.
— Squash New Zealand (@squashnz) May 27, 2021