Coll Overcomes Makin To Win Third GillenMarkets
Canary Wharf Classic Crown
New Zealand’s Paul Coll secured a third GillenMarkets Canary Wharf
Classic title on Friday evening, after coming from behind to defeat
Welshman Joel Makin in a high-quality final at the iconic East
Wintergarden in London.
The pair had faced off against each other in the second round of the
Black Ball Squash Open in Cairo just 14 days earlier. On that
occasion, Makin secured a surprise victory, en route to making the
semi-finals in one of the best runs of the event.
It was the Welshman who got off to a flying start in the opening
game of this contest as well. His new brand of attacking squash was
the key to that, and he won eight of the opening ten points of the
match. Coll tried to fight back, making the rallies longer, with one
of them being more than 150 seconds. However, the Welshman was able
to win the opening 11-7 after a solid 20 minutes of action.
The Kiwi showed his fighting qualities in the second game, battling
back to level the match at one game apiece. He did so by showing the
capacity crowd the level of squash that took him to the summit of
the world rankings, with his short play being at its best.
The former World No.1 continued to show his class in the third game,
and with Makin starting to hit more errors, all Coll had to do was
keep the ball in play at times. The Kiwi hit some great winners in
the back half of the game to take control of the contest. Makin had
some treatment in between games, and also called for a new ball at
the start of the fourth.
The new ball extended proceedings in the fourth game, with the first
six points lasting 20 minutes. It was Coll who won all six of them,
and he went on to claim the victory, winning the fourth game 11-4 to
claim a third victory at East Wintergarden in London.
“It's amazing, man. Last week I was struggling a bit, to be honest,
mentally after, Black Ball [and the] last five months. I haven’t
felt myself on court. So it was a big week for me to find myself on
court and find my game that got me to [World] No.1. This week was
huge for me,” Coll said.
“I owe it all to my whole team. So many people that got me going in
the right direction last week. This tournament was just fully for
them. Today actually, to be honest, when I woke up this morning, I
thought I’m just going to do this for them. Everybody who put a lot
of time in to me and made sure I was okay and picked me up [through]
some dark times on tour.
“So this is one of the best feelings I've had ever, to be honest.
It's a really, really cool win for me and a huge milestone.
Different feeling [to winning the British Open], that are obviously
pinnacles and dreams come true. This was something… a different sort
of milestone in my career. It's a new thing for me.
“To find myself on court, from being [World] No.1 and dropping down.
It’s a whole new process for me. I rate Joel [Makin] highly and how
good he is and I could lose to him on any day of the week. It was
how I lost [at Black Ball], how I was playing. It wasn't me on
court. That’s what probably got me the most. It's what pissed me off
“I've got three weeks now, I've planned my whole season around,
these tournaments so I’ve got three weeks, go back training, going
to go to Birmingham early train with my coach. I'm just going to
focus on myself, continue the squash that I've played here, this
mindset, this brand of squash that got me to the top and got me
winning the last two British Opens
“I'll give it everything. But you know, there are some quality
players playing at the moment the top five, top six, I mean, Joel’s
ten in the world and look at what he's doing this week. Nothing’s
going to be easy. Nothing's going to be taken for granted. I'm going
to come in with a very clear head and, very confident in my
abilities and how I play squash.”
Makin said: “I tried to put that match together as best I could. All
credit to Paul, I came out really well, I got my tactics right and I
was disrupting him but he nullified that really well in the second.
He started to get into that metronomic pace he gets into. He got a
better grip of that backhand side than I did, so I can’t complain.”
The PSA World Tour continues next week with more live action from
London. The Optasia Championships will be held in Wimbledon from
March 21-26, with all the action being streamed live on SQUASHTV.
Makin And Coll Come Through Battles To Reach
GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Final
New Zealand’s Paul Coll and Welshman Joel Makin will meet in the
final of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic after winning
contrasting last four clashes against Egypt’s Ali Farag and Mostafa
Asal, respectively, at the East Wintergarden in London.
In the night’s opening match, World No.11 Joel Makin took on World
No.1 Mostafa Asal, and having already gotten the better of Peru’s
Diego Elias and Egypt’s Tarek Momen earlier in the tournament, the
Welshman came into their contest in good form and full of
The match was played in two distinct parts. The opening act saw the
two players moving around each other well, in a high-paced first
game. Makin was able to put his new shot-making ability to the test,
and he eventually came out on top 12-10, before then moving into a
7-2 lead in the second as well.
Asal showed why he is at the summit of the world rankings, pulling
the game back in his favour, and he reversed the scoreline from the
first to win it 12-10. The second act started midway through that
game, with play becoming scrappy and fragmented, and that suited the
World No.1, who went on to take the third game comfortably.
A change of ball brought about a change of fortunes for Makin in the
fourth. The quicker pace allowed the Welshman to take control, and
he sent the match into a decider with an 11-3 scoreline. There was
then a pause in between the fourth and fifth, with a broken ball
meaning a third new ball had to be warmed up.
Asal led 8-5, but from there, the World No.1 hit a number of errors,
including putting the ball in the wrong position to allow Makin to
earn strokes. The Welshman won six points in a row to secure a third
upset of the week, and to move through to the final in London.
“I was obviously struggling and wasn’t getting things right through
the first half of the season and I've taken on some new advice and
I've had to adapt and change,” Makin said.
“My body has also come through at the right time, so I feel like
things have come together as I would have wanted it to even when I
wasn't feeling great physically, I was still working on my squash
and I was still thinking. So I felt like I spent months where my
squash was getting better and my body wasn't quite there.
“Then this week it’s come together and I'm in a good place and I'm
confident. I think a few people didn’t think I was at that level or
didn't have the ability to adapt to that. So I certainly proved
those sort of people wrong and have shown that my squash can be as
good as my physicality.
“I can beat World #1, #2, #3, #4 as I've done this week and at Black
Ball. So I'm in a good place. I played Tarek [Momen] in Black Ball,
Tarek here, Diego [Elias] here… no issues at all, obviously, so I
hope people can grasp what was causing the problems today and what
the issue was.”
Makin will now take on New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the final on
Friday evening at East Wintergarden after the Kiwi came through a
battle between two former World No.1s, beating Egypt’s Ali Farag in
an incredible showing of squash to end the night’s action.
Despite still being on the return from a four-month layoff, Farag
showed no signs of rustiness, and the pace was high in the opening
game. The Kiwi scraped through it 11-9, with the second then
proceeding to go deep into a tie-break. Both men had several game
balls but it was Farag that eventually claimed a 19-17 victory after
a 33-minute stanza.
Like the second game, the third and fourth also went to tie-breaks,
as the quality and pace remained high throughout. The New Zealander,
who is a two-time winner in Canary Wharf, was able to win the
crucial points in both. He won the third game 12-10, before
clinching victory after taking the fourth 13-11, to move through to
another final in London.
“I mean, it's great, man. I honestly, as tough as it was physically,
I just loved every minute of it,” the Kiwi said.
“My mum sent me a message saying ‘So good to have Ali [Farag] just
to watch those sort of matches again.’ He's such a clean, fair
player. Hopefully the whole squash world enjoyed it. I definitely
did and I think he did. It's just nice to be part of a match like
that for sure.
“I don’t think they [the crowd] were just behind me. I think they
were behind both players, it's such a good atmosphere, some of those
rallies were just insane and you could just see the crowd loving it,
standing up at the end, clapping for Ali as he walked off.
“So it's just great to see the respect the crowd has for the
players, both players. It's just fun to be a part of that and to
play in front of such a crowd like that. I think that's why we had
matches like that.
“It’s [the final] going to be tough, he's [Joel Makin] playing, I
think, almost career best form for him, which is great to see him
climbing the ranks again. He’s obviously taken out number 1 and 2 in
the world so it's going to be a real test tomorrow, physically,
going to have to back up. I'm excited for the challenge and I'm sure
he’s going to have plenty of support as well. So it should be a
The finals of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic will take place
tomorrow, on Friday, March 17. The action will start at 19:30 (GMT)
and will be streamed live on
Wales’ World No.11 Joel Makin avenged his defeat to World No.7 Tarek
Momen at last week’s Black Ball Squash Open, beating the Egyptian on
Wednesday evening to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour
Gold level GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic in London.
Just nine days earlier, the former World Champion had come from two
games down to secure victory in the last four at the Black Ball
Sporting Club, but Makin made sure that there would be no repeat in
their 12th meeting on Tour.
The best-of-three format helped Makin on this occasion, as he
started quickly, and he was able to carry that throughout the tie.
Errors from the racket of the Egyptian allowed Makin to build up a
big lead in the opening game, and although he fired in some quality
winners late on, the World No.11 took the first game once again.
It looked like Momen would take the contest into a deciding third
game, with a run of four points in the middle of the second taking
him comfortably into a lead. However, the Welshman fought back,
injecting pace towards the end, and a couple of errors from Momen
gave Makin the straight games victory, with the World No.11 booking
his semi-final spot in London.
“Last week was ridiculously hard. The situation I was in that match,
considering what had happened in that match I thought I played quite
well. Physically it just hurt but this match, I went about it in a
completely different way because I had… less going into my legs,”
“You know what Tarek [Momen] is going to do, I mean you don't have
to analyse the game at a high level to know he’s so dangerous
through the middle, especially on that backhand mid-court area. I
was having a look at a couple of stats and it looks like, 40% of his
winners have come from that area on it’s own.
“I’ve played great, free flowing squash all week and it’s not gonna
be like that tomorrow. So I'm going to have to take control of the
middle and hit him physically where I can. If my squash is good and
I'm playing physically… I've shown over the last couple of days,
beating these guys all ranked above me five in a row now, basically
one loss to Tarek and then [a win] today. I'm more than capable of
winning these. I look forward to it!”
Makin will now face World No.1 Mostafa Asal in the last four of the
GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic, after the Egyptian defeated
France’s Baptiste Masotti in straight games in the second contest of
the evening’s action.
In the bottom half of the draw, World No.4 Ali Farag continued his
return from injury with a victory against good friend and old rival
Mohamed ElShorbagy, with the Englishman struggling through injury.
With the scores close at the end of the first game, ‘the Beast’
seemed to tweak an adductor muscle, and was seen stretching out
throughout the rest of the contest. Farag would go on to win in a
deciding third game, to reach a first semi-final since his
four-month layoff through injury.
“Well, it was very enjoyable, as always. Last week at Black Ball,
Mohamed [ElShorbagy] came with an onslaught of attacking, firing
shots, quick boasts, quick kills. I was aware of it. I knew that was
going to happen, but I wasn't up to pace for it,” Farag admitted.
“Maybe I haven't been playing at that pace for so long. Today, it
was all about containing that. I think I did that well until the
back end of the first game until this grimacing and his little
injury that started happening."
Farag’s semi-final opponent in London on Thursday evening will be
New Zealand’s Paul Coll. They will meet in another battle between
two former World No.1s after the Kiwi overcame the challenge of
Egypt’s Mazen Hesham in the night’s last match.
The GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic continues on Thursday, March
16, with the semi-finals reverting back to the best-of-five format.
Play starts at 18:30 (GMT), with all the action being streamed live
ElShorbagy Downs Willstrop In High Quality Battle
To Reach Canary Wharf Quarter Finals
In a battle of two former World No.1s, Mohamed ElShorbagy overcame
39-year-old James Willstrop in an exciting three-game contest to
reach the quarter finals of the PSA World Tour Gold level
GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic at East Wintergarden in London.
The match was one of two between two former World No.1s, with Paul
Coll and Karim Abdel Gawad also doing battle on Tuesday evening. The
last match of the evening saw ElShorbagy and Willstrop go
head-to-head in an enticing clash, one that delighted the home crowd
After a tight first game, which the current World No.3 claimed
12-10, Willstrop then saved a match ball in the second to extend the
match into a decider. ElShorbagy was able to eek out the win with an
11-8 scoreline in the third, to move through to the last eight,
where he will face another former World No.1, in Ali Farag.
The GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic will continue with the
quarter finals of the PSA World Tour Gold level competition on
Wednesday, March 15. Play will start at 18:00 (GMT) and all the
action from East Wintergarden will be streamed live on
Makin Dumps World No.2 Elias Out Of GillenMarkets
Canary Wharf Classic
Wales’ World No.11 Joel Makin continued his fine recent form,
knocking out Peru’s World No.2 Diego Elias from the second round of
the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic in straight games, to book
his spot in the quarter finals of the PSA World Tour Gold level
competition at East Wintergarden, London.
The Welshman made the semis of the Black Ball Squash Open last week,
and has continued his form into this week’s competition in London.
Elias had the opportunity to go to World No.1 this week, but Makin
was too good on the day, with his new attacking brand of squash
proving to much for the Peruvian.
“That's the brand of squash I want to play. That's not a brand of
squash I've played before or at this level, initiating attacks
playing a better pace than the world's best players. So yeah, I'm in
a good place. I want to keep this going. I want to win these
events,” Makin said after the victory.
The second round of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic continues
on Tuesday, March 14 with the bottom half of the draw. All the
action will be shown live on
Wildcard Willstrop Into Second Round As
GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic Begins
Tournament wildcard James Willstrop is through to the second round
of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic after defeating France’s
Gregoire Marche on the opening day of the PSA World Tour Gold level
event in East Wintergarden, London.
Willstrop, who has featured at this tournament in 19 of its 20
editions and is a four-time winner at East Wintergarden, took on
France’s Marche in the first round. Unfortunately, the Frenchman was
feeling under the weather, and was unable to play any lengthy
rallies, with Willstrop running out the winner after Marche had to
retire through illness.
The GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic continues on Monday, March
13, with the first four matches of the second round. Play starts at
18:00 (GMT) and all the action will be streamed live on
The GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic gets
underway tomorrow from London’s East Wintergarden with 24 players
looking to capture the Gold event title. Round one action begins at
14:00 (GMT) on the all-glass court with 16 players looking to join
the top eight seeds in round two. You can watch all the week’s play
live on SQUASHTV.
The tournament will see a three-way battle for the World No.1 spot
as Peru’s Diego Elias and England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy can dethrone
Mostafa Asal if they win the event and the Egyptian doesn’t make the
final. Elias is seeded to face Asal in the semi-finals in what could
be a very important match up.
Reigning World Champion Ali Farag will be looking to rediscover his
form as he comes into the event as the No.2 seed. Farag has missed a
large portion of the season due to a knee injury that he sustained
at the U.S Open. Farag is due to face ‘The Beast’ Mohamed ElShorbagy
in the quarter finals in a repeat of the recent Black Ball Squash
Open quarter final, where ElShorbagy needed just three games to
claim the victory.
If Mostafa Asal is to guarantee his reign at the top of the world
rankings continues, he will need to at least match his rest from
last year and reach the final. The controversial Egyptian’s route
through isn’t an easy one however. He is due to face France’s Victor
Crouin in round two, a player who has voiced his negative opinion on
the World No.1, labelling him as ‘one of the sports worst
ambassadors’. Asal then hit back at the Frenchman and accused him of
being ‘jealous’. The off-court drama between the two will make for a
fascinating watch if Crouin is able to overcome compatriot Sebastien
Bonmalais in round one.
New Zealand No.1 Paul Coll has been seen his tournament finish
earlier than expected in the previous two events, losing out in the
quarter finals and last 16 of the Motor City Open and the Black Ball
Squash Open. He will receive a bye in round one and will then be up
against either Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann or former World
Champion Karim Abdel Gawad. The latter returned to action last week
for the first time since May 2022, but in a best-of-three format
poses a very serious threat to the top seeds.
The Canary Wharf Classic is celebrating its 20th year this year.
England legend James Willstrop will be the wildcard for the event,
which is very fitting as he won the very first Canary Wharf Classic,
beating France’s Thierry Lincou in the final.