My season’s secret weapon!

The first week of May marked the last of my competitive tournaments for the squash season (insert dance of joy here). Not only was my body prepared for a serious rest, but my brain was quite ready for a break from the competitive squash scene as well. When you start at the end of September and push through to the first of May you are bound to feel the effects emotionally and physically. That said, I am more than grateful to have achieved burn out! Burn out is a far better option than to not be out at all. To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to compete at all this year. In that respect having the opportunity to get physically and emotionally drained by it all is a blessing. This year, I am able to give that blessing a name – Derek Vandenbrink.

I knew Derek as a member at my club. His wife picked up the game first, then his two daughters started to get active, then, he too got nipped by the squash bug. As a general rule, I tend not to ask people what they do as a profession. They are at the club; this is their wind-down space, it’s their social time, this is where people escape from the day-to-day grind of it all. Due to all of this and more, I tend not to bring work up and therefore did not know what Derek did to bring home the proverbial bacon.

I had just arrived back from a very physically challenging tournament (The Howe Cup in Philadelphia). I played in both the doubles division as well as the “A” division in singles. Admittedly, I was in over my head playing #1 on our team where I would have been significantly tested by the 5 spot players!! That, and playing in two difficult draws in one weekend, resulted in me being rather gimpy upon my return to the club for work the following Monday. My knee was twice its normal size with swelling. Derek noticed my laboured gait and started asking physio-type questions. Where does it hurt? How does it hurt? When does it hurt the most? What movements aggravate it the most etc. etc.? I gave him the quick and dirty background on my knee issues. Meniscus, cartilage, tibia twist, patella tracking disorder, arthritis, and inflammation, blah blah blah. Mostly in the right knee, but some in the left as well. I had of course been through the assessments, worked with a few physiotherapists, been to the sports docs and was doing what I could do to alleviate the situation as much as possible. At this point, I was frustrated with the same old answers and the same old exercises and most of the “there’s not much that can be done” comments. Derek kindly offered that if I was open to it, he would be happy to do an assessment and see if he could help in any way. At this point I was almost ready to try anything, so we booked a date for the following day.

I show up ready, but not really knowing what to expect. Derek proceeded to take me through several movement and mobility tests (notably more than most of the physiotherapists had done to this point). He was thorough and detailed in his evaluation of my movement functionality and noted where some issues could be stemming from. I was immediately put at ease by his attention to detail and the little things that he pointed out along the way, such as my lack of wrist and ankle mobility.

After the assessment, he walked me through some things he saw that, if worked on, could alleviate some of the pain I was experiencing in my knees and hips. Who knew that if my ankle didn’t flex past a certain point, puts additional stress on my knee, etc?? Not me! We discussed what I had done with physio so far, what worked and what didn’t. This is where I was perfectly honest (something about him spurs one to comfortably spill the truth). This was not my first rodeo, I was well aware that stretching is important, rolling of the muscles is a good thing, doing strength and conditioning is essential for overall health and can prevent certain overuse injuries. I know all of this. I will do some of it (not very consistently), but what I will NOT do is work out alone. I just can’t bring myself to do it. Regardless of how many times I have that internal dialog, somehow the “eh forget it” side of me wins out. At the end of my truth spill and some further conversation, it was decided we would give this working together thing a shot. He would provide a daily program for stretch & mobility and we would work out together once a week on strength and stability etc.

Derek not only understood what I physically needed to do to lessen my discomfort and get me stronger, he completely recognized my mindset. He tapped into my competitiveness and used it for good instead of evil. One element of his brilliance was to set me up on a Daily Performance Tracker that I would answer online. This tracked how much sleep I was getting, my vegetable intake, my pain levels, my daily exercises, and squash activity etc. This tool may seem pretty simple or even a bit intrusive to some – but this was a massive thing for me. Being accountable to someone other than myself made me actually DO IT.

Over the past few months, Derek has updated the program several times to ensure load management and adjust for specific competition dates, increase the challenge to accommodate for unforeseen injuries (sprained ankle) as well as to keep me from getting bored (essential). All this time he has been keeping me to task not only by being my workout buddy, but also by keeping me honest and thereby sticking to it (consistency is key).

I was very lucky to have found Derek, even luckier that he was willing to work with me. If you are interested in finding out more about Derek or if he could possibly help you, feel free to contact him via text @ 519-802-4311 or email @ derek@vancasey.com

I have been working with Derek for 7 months now. Without his ability to tap into my mindset, I am certain I would not have had a season. Instead, it ended in burn out. I am grateful to have hit the burn!

Thanks Derek. Now, let’s get me ready for next season!

– Nicole Garon

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 120 – the key to pace!

A light frame and head-heavy balance point makes Head’s Graphene 360 Speed 120 ideal for producing a length that’s both accurate, and powerful!

HEAD Graphene 360 Squash Banner

First looks

The Graphene 360 Speed 120 has a smart colour scheme of cool blue and stylish black, with Head branding around the inside of the frame. It also has a thicker shaft than it’s Slimbody brother, although it’s a little less aerodynamic, the thick shaft will increase durability.

It comes fully strung, with a low density 12X17 string pattern, meaning power is the focus! However, it’s worth mentioning that Head’s new AFP (Adaptive Fan Pattern) Technology, means you can get it re-strung with a more dense, 16X17 fanned string pattern if you’re looking to access a little more control.

Practice swings

With an unstrung weight of only 120 grams, this racquet is very much on the light side, meaning maneuverability and control is definitely an option. However, it’s more apparent that power is the primary objective…

As previously mentioned, the 360 Speed 120 has a head-heavy balance point, (as a pose to the Slimbody version which is head-light), so after a few swings, I noticed that this balancing really assisted a larger swing. It made it really easy to swing smoothly through the ball.

Like all of Head’s newer racquets, the Speed 120 comes with the Hydrosorb Pro Grip, which I’ve praised many times before. It doesn’t feel like that standard ‘new racquet’ grip, it’s got a perfect amount of tackiness to it without being uncomfortable at all!

Hitting the ball

BOOM! Instant power. You can instantly feel the effect of the 500cm2 teardrop head shape, head heavy balance, and low-density string pattern, all these factors add up to a great amount of pace.

Recommended by Saurav Ghosal, the Speed 120 is also quick to play with, if you like to maintain a dominant ‘T’ position, while keeping your opponent pinned in the back, then this racquet is an ideal weapon of choice.

One final thing I’ll mention about the feel of this racquet, it is on the stiff side, this is down to the revolutionary Corrugated Technology (CT2) which incorporates extra-long corrugated rails in the racquet’s shaft.

Overall thoughts…

If you’re looking to bury your opponent in the back corners with devastating length and bust them short when they can no longer get back to the ‘T’ the Speed 120 is your weapon!

View the Head Graphene 360 Speed 120 in our online store...

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 120 Slimbody – it’s all about the speed!

Designed to be one of the fastest playing racquets in the market today, Head’s Graphene 360 Speed 120 Slimbody is ultra light, aerodynamic, and very maneuverable!

HEAD Graphene 360 Squash Banner

First Looks

Coming with a stealthy black colour scheme, and slick dark grey branding around the frame, the 120 Slimbody has a very clean, smart look to it!

Arriving with a low-density 12X17 stringing pattern, and a teardrop head shape, it’s clear that you’ll certainly be able to access some decent power, even though the racquet is on the light side!

The aerodynamic Slimbody shape is quite subtle at first, but if you compare it to the regular 120 version you can certainly tell the difference!

Something that’s very much worth mentioning is that if you’re looking for a little more control, Head’s Adaptive Fan Pattern (AFP) technology allows you to choose between the string pattern shown above, or getting the racquet restrung with a much denser 16X17 fanned pattern.

Practice swings

You can instantly feel the sheer maneuverability of this racquet after this first swing, the head-light balance point, and very light weight of 120 grams (unstrung), renders the 120 Slimbody incredibly fast to play with. I made sure to try out some shorter swings using a little more wrist, and I was able to generate a quick swing with ease.

Something I have previously mentioned about other Head racquets, I am a big fan of the Hydrosorb Pro grip that the racquet comes with. It doesn’t feel like a standard ‘new racquet’ grip, it’s got a nice amount of tackiness to it without being uncomfortable at all!

Hitting the ball

With the first few shots I hit, I was surprised to discover that I can still generate some good power, despite the racquet being so light! Again, going back to the low-density string pattern, I would say that this is the main contributor to the racquet’s power!

The Graphene 360 Speed 120 Slimbody has quite a large head size of 500cm2, giving you a slightly bigger margin of forgiveness on shots you have to reach for, or shots that are a little tight to the wall! I was also pleased to find that this large head size didn’t affect the nicely sized sweet spot, giving the user a respectable level of control.

Overall thoughts…

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 120 Slimbody is a racquet that’s weighted for maneuvrability, built to suit a fast-paced game, and can be strung to suit the user’s personal preference on either power or control. Overall, it’s an incredible racquet and I’d love to see it in the hands of more players!

View the HEAD Graphene 360 Speed 120 Slimbody in our online store

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 – Power, speed, pace… and power!

Designed with power in mind, but also balanced to assist speed, this racquet suits every aspect of a high paced squash match!

HEAD Graphene 360 Squash Banner

First looks

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 comes in a much more subtle colour scheme than it’s Slimbody brother. It’s predominantly black with small bursts of strong red, finished with cool grey Head branding on the strings.

HEAD Graphene 360 Speed 135 Squash Racquet

This racquet comes strung with a 12X17 string pattern this will grant you all the power you desire. However, if power isn’t your game, fear not! As pictured above, you can also get it restrung with a much denser 16X17 fan pattern which will favour control.

Practice swings

With an unstrung weight of 135 grams, this racquet is on the heavier side, this means it will give you a good amount of weight behind each swing so power is easier to access. However, it’s worth mentioning that it has a very head-light balance point, making it very fast and maneuverable!

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 comes with a Head Hydrosorb Pro grip, which feels tacky but not uncomfortable on the hand.

Hitting the ball

I must admit I don’t have much experience hitting with such a low density string pattern as I don’t often use much pace, but it’s something I could definitely get used to! It feels almost effortless to put pace on a deep length or crosscourt, this could also be attributed to the teardrop head shape.

Again, in comparison to it’s brother racquet, the 135 Slimbody, the regular 135 has a bit more of a stiff feel to it, there is still some flex to the frame but not much, this stiffness further assists the power that this racquet can access.

Overall thoughts…

One more thing I would mention, concerning the string pattern primarily, is that with the 12X17 pattern, the sweet spot is relatively small, however, when you hit it just right, it feels amazing!

The option to get it strung with the denser fan pattern is a great idea by Head, and it really allows the player to customise their racquet to suit their needs!

View HEAD Graphene 360 Speed 135 Squash Racquet in our store.

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 Slimbody – I’m certainly a ‘fan’!

Comfortable, soft to play with, undeniably maneuverable… what more could you ask for from a squash racquet?

First looks

The 135 Slimbody’s colour scheme is simply awesome, coming with an icy white lower half (the grip and the shaft), and a black frame with bursts of electric green to match the strings! You can certainly say that this racquet has a striking appearance!

HEAD Graphene 360 Speed 135 Slimbody Squash Racquet

The racquet also comes strung with a very dense 16X17 fanned string pattern (hence the excellent pun in the title), this will greatly assist with control. However, if this isn’t your thing, you need not worry, as it can be restrung with a less dense 12X17 stringing pattern if you’re looking for a little more power.

Practice swings

Weighing 135, I must admit that I suspected this racquet to feel heavy, however, I was delightfully surprised after taking a few swings before going on court. The 135 SB has a head light balance point, making it feel easily maneuverable and fast.

A more subtle feature I must mention is the soft, yet tacky, Head Hydrosorb Pro grip, as someone who has stubbornly used Karakal grips since I started squash, it’s always refreshing to find a grip that might make me change my ways…

Hitting the ball

As well as being head light, this racquet also has an ultra-slim 16mm beam which makes it much more aerodynamic to swing. At the front of the court I am able to access a fast short swing when needed, and this greatly helps with deception and taking the ball earlier!

Like many of Head’s Slimbody racquets, the 135 has a noticable flex to the frame, allowing the user to feel the ball a lot better, combined with the dense string pattern, this makes the racquet very good in terms of control. The large 500cm2 head size further attributes to this.

I do also have to mention that you can still access a pretty powerful strike should you need it, as there is still a reasonable amount of weight behind each swing!

Overall thoughts…

You’ve can definitely class Head’s Graphene 360 Speed 135 Slimbody as a great all rounder, it’s got all the control and feel you need, without any absence of power!

I’d recommend it to any player looking for a control based racquet that doesn’t limit power!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 135 – All the power you need!

Personally, I’ve never been that into hitting the ball hard, but after a few strikes with this racquet, my horizons have broadened!

Brief insight: the Dynergy APX series

Three new renditions of Tecnifibre’s Dynergy series will be arriving at Control the ‘T’ Sports within the next two weeks, and we can’t wait! Named the Dynergy APX series, these racquets are Tecnifibre’s newest creation and I hope you guys like them as much as I do!

The Dynergy AP series was the name of the older series, and the new APX racquets have had some sophisticated updates…

The sophisticated updates:

Beginning with one of the more obvious differences, the AP series had a dense 16×16 power-ring stringing pattern, the new APX line, however, has decided to go a different way. Using arch technology but with grommets and a 14×17 string pattern, in theory, this should make power much more accessible to the player.

Plus, another slightly less noticeable feature, but an important one nonetheless, is the new weight saving bumper on top of the head. Obviously, being lightweight is not the primary purpose of the  APX 135, but every little helps!

Practice swings

Now I’ve got a pretty large swing, needless to say the Dynergy APX 135 does a great job of assisting it!

Coming with a head heavy balance point, and with a frame weight of 135 grams, which can be considered to be leaning towards the heavy side, this racquet allows a large, smooth, powerful swing to be performed with ease.

One of the smaller details I began to enjoy whilst taking some practice swings is the grip. Tecnifibre have introduced a brand new tacky grip which is used on all three of the APX racquets, and it’s incredibly grippy, without being uncomfortable at all!

Hitting the ball

As I mentioned at the beginning, you can really get some great power with the APX 135! I hit length after length with a significant amount of power, and it felt almost effortless. 

The APX 135 comes with Tecnifibre’s own X-One BiPhase strings, which is definitely an overlooked bonus. Tecnifibre is known for producing excellent squash string, and the X-One BiPhase has an incredibly soft feel to it, and provides the user with a lot of power!

The Jumbo Shaft seems to provide all the benefits you could ever need, it makes the racquet feel incredibly strong and durable, it allows you to feel the ball very well, and also assists power! Could the Jumbo Shaft be the future of the squash racquet?

Final note

One final note about the APX 135, control is most certainly an option. Yes, it is the heaviest of the three APXs, but the racquets all have a certain flexibility to the frame which allows you to feel the ball even better, and put away a good solid drop shot from any position!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy 135, as well as it’s brothers, the 120, and the 130 are all available for pre-order now, just click below!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 130 – ‘the perfect ‘all-rounder!’

If you’re looking for a squash racquet that’s not too light, but not too heavy, not too stiff, but not too flexible, you may be in luck…

Introducing Tecnifibre’s newest update to the Dynergy series… the APX!
I had the chance to test out all three of the racquets in the APX series (the 120, 130, and 135), and in this review I’ll be focusing on the 130.

At first glance…

Apart from weight, the primary noticeable difference between the three APX racquets is the string colour, and the grip colour. For the Dynergy APX 130, Tecnifibre have used a striking orange tacky Tecnifibre grip, which matches the 14×17 orange X-One Biphase strings. 
Its worth mentioning that these strings have a soft feel, and provide lots and lots of power!

​The rest of the racquet is a slick shade of black, featuring Tecnifibre branding around the frame. One of the less noticeable features is the weight saving bumper, although this is only a small update, it could end up making all the difference!

After a few practice swings

After swinging through thin air a few times, I instantly became pretty excited to give this racquet a shot on court!

The APX 130 has a head heavy balance point, which should be a great help if you’re looking to apply some pace.

It’s also worth mentioning that this racquet still has a frame weight of 130 grams, which I consider to still be on the lighter side. This means that short, fast swings were also on the cards, and access to maneuverability and control is still readily available.

After a few shots

In comparison to Tecnifibre’s Carboflex, the Dynergy APX 130 has a lot more flex to the frame, this allowed me to feel the ball really well with every shot. I could hit accurately and consistently, even when I have to react quickly and shorten my swing.

As mentioned above, the available control of this racquet is excellent, but I’ve gotta say, it really packs a punch too! This is likely due to the head heavy balance, but the Dynergy APX 130, and all the other racquets in this new series come with a Jumbo Shaft, which makes the racquet a lot more sturdy and powerful.

After thoughts?

This racquet is an amazing all-rounder, and I must admit that I am a big fan of it! It’s got the perfect balance of lightness, and access to power.

​The Tecnifibre Dynergy 130, as well as it’s brothers, the 120, and the 135 are all available for pre-order now, just click below!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 120 – A squash racquet that caters to all levels!

Let me start off just by saying I’m a dedicated Carboflex user myself, and when I got a look at the new Dynergy APX series I didn’t really bat an eyelid… until I got to try them out!

Updated features…

For those of you who don’t know, the APX’s predecessor, named the Dynergy AP series, had a very dense 16×16 power-ring stringing pattern. This stringing technique in which the strings are wrapped around the frame at the top of the shaft is most commonly seen on Prince racquets.

The new APX line however, has decided to go a different way by using arch technology but with grommets and a 14×17 string pattern to increase power. Another slightly less noticeable feature, but an important one nonetheless, is the new weight saving bumper on top of the head.

The 120

In the previous AP series, 125 grams was the lightest available option, it’s great to see that Tecnifibre managed to shave off another 5 grams to make the APX 120!

In terms of balance, the Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 120 leans more towards the head heavy side, so although the racquet is light as a whole, you can still access plenty of power with ease.

After a few hits…

Starting from the bottom up, the APX 120 comes with Tecnifibre’s new tacky grip, which I became an instant fan of! It really does a great job of holding your hand in place, even if you get a little sweaty!

The racquet comes with a Jumbo Shaft which increases both power, and durability, whilst simultaneously allowing you to feel the ball incredibly well. This little bit of extra control goes a heck of a long way!

It’s no secret that Tecnifibre strings are one of the most, if not the most popular strings in the world of squash. A great plus of buying any Tecnifibre racquet, is the strings that they come with! The Dynergy APX 120 comes with X-One Biphase Strings, which have a soft feel and provide a heck of a lot of power.

Final thoughts:

(Using the Carboflex as a point of reference): the Dynergy APX is much more forgiving, the sweet spot is very much on the large side. This could be down to the reasonably large head size (490cm2), or it could be down to Jumbo Shaft, either way… I love it!

Overall, the Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 120 is a racquet I would recommend, and will be recommending, to any player looking to boost their all round game. This racquet assists all aspects of squash incredibly well, making it ideal for any standard of player, from beginner to pro!

Available for pre-order!!!

The latest version of an all-time favourite: the Tecnifibre Carboflex X-Speed 125 squash racquet

A brief history of Carboflex…

As a very well established brand in the world of squash, it’s safe to say that Tecnifibre knows what they’re doing when it comes to creating a squash racquet!

Over the years, the renowned Carboflex range has had many updates, improvements, and additions. It could be argued that the latest models are the pinnacle of racquet technology. Although I’m unsure of when exactly the first Carboflex was released, they’ve certainly been around for a very long time!

The black and yellow Carboflex range was introduced in 2012, 125g being the lightest version, before this, 130g was always the lightest Carboflex. Following this, the black and red colourway was released in 2015, this finally brings us to the new, and hugely popular, X-Speed range which came out in 2018.

X-Speed and the Pros

Tecnifibre and the professional squash scene go hand in hand, and many of their racquets are trusted by some of the most well-known pros on the circuit, including current world champion Nour El Sherbini, and Marwan El Shorbagy. Most famously, however, the X-Speed range was actually developed with ex-world no.1, ‘The Beast of Alexandria’, Mohamed El Shorbagy.

The fact that Tecnifibre racquets are trusted by such highly respected players is actually what piqued my interest in the first place. It’s also what led me to try, buy, and continue buying racquets from the X-Speed range!

The infamous X-Speed 125

Looks

Paying homage to the fact that it is designed and manufactured in France, the Carboflex X-Speed 125 has a stroke of the blue and red seen on the French flag, this, combined with the slick black colour of the rest of the frame really gives the racquet a smart, professional vibe.

The racquet comes with Tecnifibre branding on the inside at the top of the frame, and also just above the grip on the brand new exclusive rubber grip mask. It’s worth noting that this grip mask does a great job of holding the grip in place, and it isn’t a feature I’ve seen on any other racquet!

How does it feel in hand?

I personally use the 130-gram Carboflex X-Speed, however after a few practice swings with the 125, it was instantly clear that those five grams made a heck of a difference.

The X-Speed 125 has an even balance point, meaning that although it is light, both power and control should still be accessible, but I’m predicting that control will be the primary focus. It comes gripped with a black Tecnifibre dry grip, which actually feels very comfy without being slippy at all! Considering grips that come with new racquets sometimes aren’t the best, this is definitely an underrated strength of the racquet!

After a few hits…

The most prominent feeling I get from this racquet after a few lengths, is control. It’s interesting, however, in comparison to other racquets that focus on control, the X-Speed just has a slightly different feel to it somehow… but I can assure you that this is a good thing! The best way to describe it is that it feels incredibly smooth, you can get a lovely flow with each swing.

The 125 X-Speed has a teardrop frame shape which does assist with power should you need it, but I have to stress, I can feel the ball so well! Control wise, this racquet is a dream, the light weight gives me a lot of maneuverability, as a player who likes to use a lot of wrist, especially at the front of the court, this ease of movement is key!

Coming with a standard 14×18 string pattern, I would like to point out that the sweet spot is on the smaller side, but only very slightly, and once you begin consistently hitting it, every shot is going to feel smooth and solid!

The old vs the new!

I managed to get my hands on the 2015, 125-gram black and red Carboflex to compare with the X-Speed. Of course, the two racquets had many similarities, but also some noticeable differences…

​​Similarities wise, the weighting, balance, and shape are all exactly the same, meaning if you’re thinking about updating from the 2015 Carboflex to the X-Speed, and are worried about adjusting to a different balance or weight, your swing shouldn’t feel any different!

When it comes to differences between the two, it’s all about the feel on contact with the ball… ​the X-Speed 125 has a much stiffer frame than it’s predecessor, the racquet feels a lot more sturdy on contact with the ball, giving you some extra power. This could be partially down to the newly introduced i-Blades on either side of the racquet just above the grip.

You may feel like you’re struggling to get a good feel of the ball with the first few shots, but trust me, as soon as you adjust to that sweet spot, you’ll love this racquet!

Final words

The Carboflex X-Speed 125 is an amazing all round racquet, and I would recommend it to anybody, period. It looks great, feels great and does an awesome job of assisting all essential aspects of competitive squash.

View the Harrow Vibe in our online store

Superman faces Mr Fantastic in the 2019 PSA World Championship quarter finals!

Photo credit http://worldsquashchamps.com

Paul Coll Vs Ali Farag match overview

It’s highly likely that any squash fanatic will be binge-watching the 2019 PSA World Championships going on right now in Chicago. However, for those of you who don’t know, the world championship is the most prestigious competition in the squash world. Attended only by the worlds top professional squash players, there have already been several unbelievable matches, which I highly advise you go and watch (if you haven’t already)!

One particular match that piqued my interest, was the quarter-final match of Paul Coll against Ali Farag. Both players are renowned for being some of the best movers in the game, however, the interesting part is that their movement styles are polar opposites of each other.

Paul Coll

Starting with 7 seed, Paul ‘Superman’ Coll, this nickname was rightly appointed, as he is famously known for being able to retrieve very tough balls using high-powered dives. The most well-known example of this being in a rally with James Willstrop, in which he manages to dive, retrieve, and recover from a series of incredible shots and still win the point! Coll’s movement revolves around extreme strength, endurance and power, if you’re looking to finish off a rally with a kill shot, you may struggle against Paul Coll.

Ali Farag

Known in the squash world as Mr Fantastic, Ali Farag is actually now world number one (as of March 1st), so congratulations are in order!
Farag’s movement style is very different to Coll’s, many people say he has the most efficient movement in squash at the moment. Fantastic Farag is very light on his feet, moves very fast and with a ‘water-like’ flow, it’s clear that movement is something that he’s spent a lot of time on and it’s incredibly pleasing to watch!

The Match

The first game…

Taken 11-8 by Farag, was played very steadily from both men, and there wasn’t much being taken to the front. The main difference from my perspective was that Farag seemed just that little bit calmer than Coll, although it’s clear that nerves were in the air for both players! Of course, to keep the crowd happy, the first game featured some trademark dives from Coll.

Taken 11-8 by Farag, was played very steadily from both men, and there wasn’t much being taken to the front. The main difference from my perspective was that Farag seemed just that little bit calmer than Coll, although it’s clear that nerves were in the air for both players! Of course, to keep the crowd happy, the first game featured some trademark dives from Coll.

It was the second game in which things began to liven up…

Coll took a quick 5-1 lead by being a lot more proactive and taking shots into the front with purpose, he also did an amazing job of mixing up the pace, switching from a series of high, deep lobs, to some low, hard lengths.

Farag seemed a little subdued at the beginning of this game, however, it was almost like he flipped a switch in his head at this point, and began forcing the mistakes from Coll. The rallies became very short and sharp, especially compared to the first, apart from one absolute monster rally lasting 2 minutes and 16 seconds! This rally was won by Farag and was maybe what tipped Coll over the edge…

Farag established a more dominant position on the ‘T’, and didn’t allow Coll to get into any sort of rhythm for the rest of the game. Farag managed to take the second game 11-7.

​Again starting very strong, Superman took an early 6-2 lead in the third game…

he managed to keep Farag pinned at the back of the court, and this time, he didn’t allow him to get back into the game. Taking a very dominant tee stance, stepping forwards whenever possible with strong strides, Coll managed to take this game 11-4. Farag seemed to be out of breath in this third game, he slowed down his fluid movement to conserve some energy, something that Coll took full advantage of by significantly stepping up the pace.

In the fourth and final game, Fantastic Farag came back very strong …

Managing to predict the majority of Paul Coll’s selected shots, and moving onto them incredibly fast, even Coll’s incredibly powerful lunges and dives weren’t enough to recover Farag’s super accurate shots. Farag confidently won this game 11-1, and thus the match.

It’s worth noting that throughout this game, Paul ‘Superman’ Coll’s ​fitness, power, and strength were unbelievable, and he endured the long rallies incredibly well. But in the end, Fantastic Farag’s conservative, light movement enabled him to take the ball earlier and apply that little bit of extra pressure that won him the match, and allowed him to advance to the semi-finals.

Well played guys!