Semifinals set for New Zealand Squash Open

A big day for squash as well as Kiwi players Paul Coll and Joelle King as well as for the Gilis family as the New Zealand Open gets set for its semifinals at Trustpower Arena in Tauranga.

The Gilis sisters, Nele 26 and Tinne 25 from Belgium ranked at 13 and 12 respectively are at different ends of the semifinal draw. Tinne faces New Zealand’s world No 5 King in her semifinal while Nele plays Tesni Evans from Wales.


Sixth seed Evans accounted for second seed Sarah-Jane Perry (England) in a hotly contested match 11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5 in 59 minutes in front of a crowd who were in a partying mood. 


Meanwhile Nele put on a powerful display to beat Canadian Commonwealth Games silver medallist Hollie Naughton 11-3, 14-12, 11-7 and was thrilled to be in front of her ‘home’ crowd.


“It’s basically playing in front of my home crowd. It means a lot to me. Just feel so relaxed,” said Nele who has been adopted by the fans as she is the partner of Coll. 


In the men’s semis Coll faces off against Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi of Qatar who is coached by Australian squash legend Geoff Hunt a former winner of the tournament in 1978 and 79.  


The Qatari with a world ranking of 28 will fancy his chances after beating Coll in their most recent encounter in the Qatar Classic in September.


Meanwhile Mohamed El Shorbagy showed his prowess with a straight game win over talented Argentine Leandro Romiglio  11-4, 11-5, 11-9 in 29 minutes and was delighted to win in front of a big and enthusiastic crowd, but isn’t thinking about the final against Coll yet. 


“Paul and I have two big semifinals. Both of us have are not going to worry about the final we’re going to about our next match, if we win that we can focus on the match the day after,” said ElShorbagy. 


In the last quarterfinal Victor Crouin of France the third seed with a world ranking of 10 defeated American Andrew Douglas 11-2, 11-7, 13-11 showing his ample talent.


The tournament is the first co-sanctioned PSA men’s and women’s event in New Zealand since 1993 and has had around 20 different nations play in the two draws which conclude on Sunday afternoon. 



Semifinal schedule:

6pm (1) Joelle King (NZL) v (5) Tinne Gilis (BEL), 

6.45pm (1) Paul Coll (NZL) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT), 

8pm (4) Nele Gilis (BEL) v (6) Tesni Evans (WAL),

8.45 (2) Mohamed El Shorbagy (ENG) v (3) Victor Crouin (FRA)