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World No.1 pips Kiwi Coll in Chicago

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/02/2017

Paul Coll. © Robert Cianflone/Getty Images Paul Coll. The world's best squash player had his hands full before finally quelling in-form Kiwi Paul Coll at the world tour event in Chicago.

Egypt's Mohamed El Shorbagy needed more than an hour and a half to beat the resilient Coll 14-12 11-6 8-11 9-11 11-7 in the first round of the Windy City Open.

World No.16 Coll threatened to continue a remarkable run of recent form which included an upset of second-ranked world champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the semi-finals of the Cambridge Cup in Toronto last week.

The 24-year-old from Greymouth had his chances to pull off another momentous boilover on Friday (NZT).

He squandered a set point in the opening stanza and had the early lead in the final set, with momentum on his side after fighting back from losing the first two.

A winner of the last two British Opens and ranked world No.1 for 18 months, El Shorbagy used his experience to slow the pace in the final set and squeeze out victory.

Another Kiwi also exited in the first round of the $US150,000 ($NZ209,000) tournament.

Campbell Grayson won two qualifying matches to reach the main draw but was beaten 11-4 7-11 11-8 11-4 by Cesar Salazar of Mexico.

Meanwhile, women's world No.11 Kiwi woman Joelle King will face a qualifier in her first match in Chicago on Saturday (NZT) and, if successful, could face English fifth seed Laura Massaro second up.

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