Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-2  Joel Makin (Wal) 3-11, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-2 (87m)
We knew that one was going to be long… And it was…
I saw them play in the final of Nantes, more or less the same court conditions, very warm, bouncy court. But we were at the start of the season, now, at the end of the first part more or less.
Joel has improved since their last match. He is as fit physically and hard to beat, but he is in the process of adding a few lovely attacking shots, just to make sure he’ll make all the players lives even more difficult bless him! And God knows how hard he made Paul’s life! Taking the first game in 15m, 11/3, with a few too many errors from Paul.
A good response from the Kiwi in the second, the rallies are gruelling, long and intense, both moving very fast, retrieving and attacking incredibly well. Paul just a couple of points ahead, 5/3, 7/5. At 8/6, a stroke for Paul that in our view was a simple stroke – distance to the ball – and that made Joel lose focus for a few instants. 10/7 Paul. A big push from the Welsh, but only his first error of the game at 10/9 that allows Paul to level 1/1, 11/9 in 20m.
Third is 19m of hard, gruelling rallies, 3/0 Paul, 4/1, with Joel levelling 4/4, 7/7. Joel ahead 9/7, then 9/9. So close, so intense, the crowd supporting logically the British, but it’s the Kiwi again 12/10, on his second attempt.
A superb fourth for Joel, 5/2, caught up 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9. A few contacts, Joel hits Paul twice accidentally, not happy Paul was. But this time it’s the Welsh that will close it out, after Paul clipps the tin on his second error of the game, 16m, 11/9….
But all the efforts produced take their toll in that last game, Paul finally able to play winners that Joel cannot retrieve anymore, and it’s all about the world’s finalist: 5/1, 11/2 in 11m….
Boy, Joel is going to be, like Paul, very, very, VERY hard to beat…
I didn’t feel comfortable today at all, I was sluggish off the T, there were patches where I lost concentration, and I made way too many errors today.
Yesterday, I was happy with making a few errors as I was finding my range as I said but today, I was very disappointed with my first game in particular, I expected more of myself.
I was in and out focus wise, I had the lead and let it slip away, overall, a bit disappointed with my mental performance today.
He is one of the only players on the tour that can match me physically, and it was a big mental battle today, he can match my strength and forces me to step up my game and be more careful about my shot selection…