Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 11-5, 11-3, 11-9 (36m)
A game of two halves that one… First two games, uncanny resemblance scorewise: 4-0, 4-1, 5-1, 6-1, 6-2, 7-2 in both games! What changed was the errors coming from Mahesh’s racquet: from 2 in the 1st, to 5 in the second. And if the first game ended 11/5 in 11m, the second was 11/3 in 10m.
But complete change in the third, with Mahesh finally finding his marks on that glasscourt – Paul had been playing on it already – and consequently his fine squash. As both of them trained for a few months together when Mahesh was living in Holland, the Indian know how to get Paul uncomfortable.
And that’s what he did. Pushing Paul around the court, he managed to go neck to neck with the world number one, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, and even had a little lead 9/7. But that’s when the NZ pushed the red alert button, and scored 4 points in a row, finding his nicks at the front beautifully, and forcing an error on the last point: 11/9 to Paul in 11m.
Far from being ridiculous, Mahesh was. Good match.
“I felt a lot more comfortable on court than in the first round. It’s been a good first two rounds for me, coming through unscathed and with two 3-0s which is really good. I felt really good on court, just in time to swap courts in the next round! But it’s nice to have the experience of playing outside and I’m sure the conditions are pretty similar.
“It’s great, something that Egypt is very good at is finding new venues all over the country. Indoors, outdoors, they put on a good event. It’s great for the sport to have such spectator backdrops and using the glass courts in the way we can.
“There’s no chance I’m announcing publicly what I’ve added to my game! I’m just sharpening everything, every shot we’ve been practicing with Rob Owen over the last two years. Every time we go for a week we might add a new shot or find something that maybe is ten percent off and we’ll just get it back to 100 percent. It’s overall a good week, sharpening everything that has got us to the top and just trying to keep it there.”