Coll Goes Down to Farag in Epic Five Game Battle4 Sep 2023
New Zealand's Paul Coll has missed out on advancing to the final of Paris Squash 2023 after being undone by Egyptian World Number One Ali Farag in a titanic five-game battle at the Palais de Tokyo.
It was blockbuster squash from both players, with today’s encounter similar to their entertaining clash in the semi-finals of the Canary Wharf Classic earlier this year.
The bar was set at a very high standard from the off, as Coll surged back from 10-7 down to force a tiebreak. Coll had game ball saved by Farag, but the New Zealander had another bite at the cherry to clinch the first game.
Epic rallies from both players got the sold out crowd going, as Coll and Farag brought the best out of each other. One of Farag’s game balls was saved, but the World No.1 emphatically converted at the second attempt to level the match.
Farag had Coll covering plenty of the court in the third as he opened up a comfortable 8-2 lead as Farag went ahead for the first time.
But Coll continued to dig in – fighting back in the fourth – as he was absorbing plenty of pressure from Farag and he found his length to give the epic battle the fitting finale it deserved.
It was exhilarating squash from both players throughout, especially in the fifth with both players neck and neck. Farag was in the driving seat with match ball at 10-9, but Coll pegged it back to 10 apiece. However Farag made no mistake with his second match ball opportunity to defeat Coll in an outstanding match that concluded after a mammoth 96 minutes.
“It reminded me our match at the British Open back in 2019. It was such a brutal match but I want to say that his quality – he’s [Paul Coll] got a lot better since then,” said Farag.
“He had me and he forced me to raise my quality and as I said on court, him and Rob Owen have worked wonders for the way he’s been holding the racket and the way he’s been playing the sport.
“These are the kind of matches you play for – you wait all day and once you’re in there and you see the excitement of the crowd – it reminds me why I play this sport.”
Result Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Paul Coll (NZL) 3-2: 11-13, 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10 (96m)
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