Paul Coll became the first New Zealand man to make a World Squash Championship final since 1986, as he overcame Egypt's Marwan ElShorbagy in a five-game thriller.

The Kiwi had never beaten ElShorbagy on the PSA Tour before, and it was the world No.10 who started the stronger of the two, as he raced into a big lead in the first game.

Although Coll came fighting back to level it at 9-9, ElShorbagy was able to win the final two points to take the lead in the match. The second game saw just two points before an extended injury break, as a slight collision between the pair left the Egyptian with an upper leg injury. After 15 minutes, he came back on to the court, ready to return, to the delight of the crowd.

He started where he left off, and was able to pull out into a five-point lead, but the New Zealander fought back once more, and this time he was able to take the game 11-9 to level the match. The third saw ElShorbagy run riot in the opening exchanges once more, and despite another Kiwi comeback, he held on to move back in front.

Advertisement

Both men started the fourth by hitting some winners, and it was tight through the middle period, but the Kiwi was able to win five straight points to take the match into a deciding fifth game.

The fifth was the only game in the entire match that saw the world No.5 take an early lead, and it was one that he would not relinquish, as he advances to the World Championship final for the first time in his career, setting up a clash with Tarek Momen in the final.

"I feel over the moon, it is a pretty surreal feeling, but like I said yesterday, I am just going to enjoy the moment as it is, but then focus on tomorrow because tomorrow is the biggest match possible and I want to firing for that," Coll explained after the 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7 victory in 84 minutes.

"Marwan is one of the best in the game at winning quick points and he did exactly that at the start of the first three games. I was kicking myself because my gameplan to not let him do that. I did not feel like I was playing terrible squash, there were just a few wrong shot selections.

"I didn't want to get down on myself, I just needed to stay focussed. I knew I was doing the right thing, just executing that final shot was very key. The important thing was just to stay mentally focussed and believe that I was doing the right thing," said the 27-year-old from Greymouth.

"It is cold on there so I just went off court, changed my shirt and put a towel round me. I wanted to stay warm and it was very important that I didn't give any easy points away after that. I just wanted to focus on my length and stay in front of him because I knew he would come out and try to get some quick points while I was a bit cold.

"I wasn't even thinking at the end there, I was just trying to run my backside off and trying to volley as much as possible and push up the court. I had to make him work and I tried to put the pace through the roof."

Coll's clash with Momen is a huge opportunity as the pair have played six times with the head-to-head results at 3-3. Coll winning the last time they played which was earlier this year in the final of the Canary Wharf Classic.

Advertisement

The final is scheduled for 3.30am Saturday NZT