Coll Battles Past ElShorbagy To Reach Hong Kong Open Final3 Dec 2023
World No.4 Paul Coll has become the first New Zealand male to reach the Hong Kong Open final after battling past Mohamed ElShorbagy in an entertaining four-game encounter.
The game plan from Coll was evident from the outset, looking to find his length and accuracy down both wings at the Xiqu Centre. The West Coaster did this to great effect, moving smoothly on the new surface and taking the first game 11-4.
ElShorbagy started to find his groove as the match entered the second game, matching Coll in the middle of the court and forcing him into two successive errors with the game poised at 6-6. Despite this, Coll held his composure and delivered a string of accurate points to take the game after 24 minutes of action.
Coll then let his foot off the gas at the start of the fourth, hitting three errors and a soft stroke to gift the Englishman an early 4-1 lead. The New Zealand No.1 battled back to 9-7 down, engaging in some brilliant rallies with his opponent in the process, but couldn’t stop his lead being reduced to just one game.
The accuracy of Coll’s play returned with vengeance in the fourth, putting ElShorbagy on the back of some brutal rallies to race to an 8-0 lead. Coll didn’t give ElShorbagy a sniff as he closed out the match after 53 minutes of action.
“I’m stoked,” said Coll. “I was feeling really good out there today. It’s a new venue and a new location here on the harbour with a new court so I was a bit nervous to adapt to the court. I know Mohamed is very experienced and he adapts to situations very well, so I knew that I had to come out and find my length early and be aggressive like I was yesterday.
Coll will meet World No.1 Ali Farag in the final overnight NZT (midnight start NZT).
“We’ve played twice this season and it has gone to 12-10 in the fifth both times, so I hope it’s 12-10 to me in the fifth again tomorrow.
“We know how to play each other, we have played each other many times before, so it’s going to be a good battle and I’m looking forward to it.”
Coll will be back in New Zealand next week to play both the New Zealand Open and the Men’s World Teams Championship in Tauranga.
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3 (53m)