Title return! Paul Coll bags third Canary Wharf Classic squash title

March 17, 2023 - 6:16pm
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LONDON — A tournament which had a subplot of three players vying for the World No.1 spot instead saw Paul Coll bag a hat-trick of Canary Wharf Classic titles with a clinical, come-from-behind display over Joel Makin.

While Makin had beaten six players ranked higher during a stellar few weeks on tour, Coll hadn’t lifted a title since last year’s British Open success. He will now aim for a hat-trick in Birmingham too following his 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 win over 82 minutes. The New Zealander took control of this cleanly-contested finale early in the second with superb control, coupled with unerring retrieval play, as he won his 11th match in 14 meetings against Makin.

“He played with straight lines, error-free and free flowing,” admitted Makin. “I was beaten by a better player and I can’t complain.”

This was the first Canary Wharf Classic final not to feature an Egyptian since 2015 when Nick Matthew beat Simon Rosner. That was down to both players having ousted Ali Farag and Mostafa Asal, the latter having hung on to rop ranking this week. Instead, it was a repeat of the Commonwealth Games singles final against two nations, in Wales and New Zealand, with plenty of rugby rivalry. Squash has been served with its own on court hits this season, but Friday’s final was played pretty much as fair as it comes.

Makin started brightly, carving two forehand winners low into the right corner. The Welshman was full of zest, concise and focused in opening a 5-1 lead, his backhand volleys and deft work at the front causing a lacklustre Coll plenty of problems.

The Kiwi mustered his best squash at 8-3 down, the longest rally of the game ending with a Makin tin, the first of three successive unforced errors, before securing a 20-minute opener.