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Kiwi Coll topples squash world champion

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/02/2017

Kiwi Paul Coll has claimed the biggest scalp yet in his dizzying rise to the upper echelon of squash, upsetting world champion Karim Abdel Gawad in Canada.

Coll's superior fitness told in a five-set marathon at the Cambridge Cup tournament in Toronto, dominating the Egyptian over the closing stages to win 11-7 6-11 8-11 11-3 11-4.

It sends world No.16 Coll into the final of the invitation eight-man tournament on Friday (NZT). His opponent will be French world No.3 Gregory Gaultier or eighth-ranked Egyptian Tarek Momen.

Coll said it took him time to settle against the varied attack of Gawad.

"Some of Karim's shots were unbelievable, I didn't see his first five winners," he said.

"I had to defend well to have any chance."

Coll has surged from outside the world top-50 a year ago, prompting a respected squash magazine to recently name him the most improved men's player of 2016.

The 24-year-old from Greymouth says sheer hard work is behind his dramatic improvement.

"I haven't changed much. I've tried to train with a lot of the top guys and I've just started to enjoy my squash."

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