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It’s England v New Zealand for Commonwealth Games Squash Gold

After dramatic semi-finals before a capacity 2,500 crowd surrounding the all-glass showcourt at Oxenford Studios in Gold Coast, Australia, it will be England and New Zealand going for Squash singles gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Monday.

FULL SEMI-FINALS REPORT

Men’s semi-finals:
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [12] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (49m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [11] Joel Makin (WAL) 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-8 (106m)

Women’s semi-finals:
[4] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [6] Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (34m)
[2] Joelle King (NZL) bt [3] Nicol David (MAS) 13-11, 11-5, 1-11, 11-5 (43m)

England’s event debutante Sarah-Jane Perry was the first to claim a place in the women’s final after a powerful performance against rising Welsh star Tesni Evans. Perry, the fourth seed ranked eight in the world, hardly put a foot wrong as she dismissed sixth seed Evans – the surprise conqueror of event favourite Laura Massaro – 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 to extend her unbeaten record over the 25-year-old from Rhyl

Perry will go for gold against Kiwi opponent Joelle King, the No.2 seed (pictured below) who, as world No.4, is the highest-ranked player in the event.

A bronze medallist in the 2014 Singles, and a gold and silver medallist in the 2010 Doubles in Delhi, King is no stranger to the Commonwealth Games experience. The 29-year-old faced ‘veteran’ Games star Nicol David – the illustrious former world number one who has played in every Games since 1998 and won gold in 2010 and 2014, and boasted a 13-1 head-to-record over her opponent going into the match.

But the Malaysian’s formidable eight-year unbeaten Games run came to an end when King triumphed 13-11, 11-5, 1-11, 11-5 in 43 minutes.

England’s seasoned campaigner James Willstrop became only the second player in Games’ history to reach a third final – following the achievement of his fellow countryman Peter Nicol in 2006 – when he beat Nafiizwan Adnan, the No.12 seed from Malaysia, in the first men’s semi.

It was in the previous round that Adnan brought a notable era to an end when he removed England’s Nick Matthew, the gold medallist in 2010 and 2014. Fourth seed Willstrop played a sure-footed and disciplined game to see off the UK-based Malaysian 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 in 49 minutes.

The final match of the day was a long-drawn-out affair which – despite the lack of local interest – had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats. New Zealand’s No.2 seed Paul Coll, the current world No.9 who has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the international squash ranks over the past two years, faced surprise opponent Joel Makin, a Welshman ranked 43 in the world.

It took 106 minutes to produce a winner – with underdog Makin one point away from a match-ball in the third game before Coll grinded his way to a 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-8 victory which sees the 25-year-old into the final for the first time.

FULL SEMI-FINALS REPORT WITH QUOTES, PHOTOS & MORE

 

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