Squash Mad

Diego Elias stuns Marwan ElShorbagy in US Open

Diego Elias savours the moment of victory against Marwan ElShorbagy

Peruvian powers into quarter-finals
By ELLIE MAWSON 

 

Peru’s World No.15 Diego Elias caused a big upset at the U.S. Open as he downed Egypt’s world No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy in straight games to reach his first quarter-final at the tournament.

The 20-year-old from Lima was agonisingly close to defeating World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad during his last event, the NetSuite Open, and continued to demonstrate experience beyond his age to come through 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 in 46 minutes.

Elias, who saw off Hong Kong’s Max Lee in the first round, put in a confident performance against the 24-year-old Egyptian, who had comfortably dispatched Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in the opening round.

The Peruvian has had a strong start to the season, beating three-time World Champion Nick Matthew at the NetSuite Open and carried that confidence into this tournament as he utilised all four corners of the court well in a tight contest.

Elias produced an immaculate first game, finding his line and length quickly to come through 11-5 at Drexel University.

In the second game, ElShorbagy looked as though he was ready to mount a comeback, taking a 6-2 lead. However, Elias soon turned the tables and regrouped to keep his composure to take the second and double his advantage.

Previous encounters between the pair showed that Elias had the advantage as he had won three of the four meetings and the World No.15 kept that record going as he came through 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 in 46 minutes.

“It’s always hard,” said Elias. “We’re good friends and it’s always a close match. I was really concentrating and I was trying my best.

“With Karim, I was 2-0 up (at the NetSuite Open) and I got a bit tired. I had a tough match the day before and I think it was more my head.

“This time when I was 2-0 up I had that in my mind. I have my dad with me and that has helped a lot. I’m feeling a lot better this season, I did some training with Gregory Gaultier in the Czech Republic and I’m feeling good for the season.”

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Elias will now face Omar Mosaad for a place in the last four after the former World No.3, back at the court where he reached his first ever World Series event final in 2015, downed the in-form Paul Coll.

Egyptian pair Ali Farag and Fares Dessouky also battled through tough matches and will clash in the last eight. No.4 seed Farag came from 2-1 down to overcome the mercurial talents of Mazen Hesham, whose racket skills match his unpredictability. It was only in the latter stages that Farag was able to stamp his authority, closing out the match 11-4, 11-1 against a tiring opponent who had entertained the crowd with stupendous shot-making.

Farag said: “I was very surprised with how he bounced back after that first game.

“He has got much better with the mental aspect of his game over the years and I hope he doesn’t get much better because nobody will stand a chance against him!

“People always admire his front game but his back game is so solid and it’s tough to get him behind you. But you have to try and stay in front of him and it’s not easy.

“I tried to forget at some points that we are friends because on court I separate that and just try to concentrate. 11-1 doesn’t reflect the match because the first four games could have gone either way.

“I tried to stay tight as much as possible because otherwise he is lethal. I was just happy to do that and it was a flip of the coin today but I’m just happy to make it through.”

Dessouky (seeded eight) lost the opening game to Scotland’s Alan Clyne before taking control. Clyne got off to a flyer as he set his stall out early on, forcing himself in front of Dessouky as the Egyptian looked off the tempo and was not allowed time to settle by the Scotsman as he took the first game 11-4.

In the second Dessouky began to settle and find his rhythm as he rediscovered his groove to power through 11-2. The 23-year-old continued his form in the third as he came through in 10 minutes 11-4 as he hit ten unanswered points.

Clyne searched for a response in the fourth, but Dessouky proved too much to handle as he finished in style to win 4-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-7.

“I’m very happy to be back here again and make the quarter-finals for the second time,” said the Egyptian.

“I’m looking forward to the next round and I hope to play well and make it through to the semi-finals.

“He surprised me because last time we played I was 2-0 up. He surprised me in the first game and I’m pleased to have pulled through.

“It’s going to be a tough game in the next round. Ali is one of the toughest opponents in the world so I have to be ready for that match and try to enjoy it.” 

The quarter-finals, as always feature, four thrilling encounters with reigning champion Mohamed ElShorbagy facing Germany’s Simon Rosner and Nick Matthew looking forward to an all-English battle against Daryl Selby.

2017 US Open, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.

Men’s Second Round (Bottom Half):
[4] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-2: 12-10, 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-1 (64m)
[8] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 4-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 (44m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-8 (61m)

Draw – Quarter-finals:
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [3] Nick Matthew (ENG)
[4] Ali Farag (EGY) v [8] Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Diego Elias (PER) v Omar Mosaad (EGY) 

Pictures courtesy of PSA 

 

Posted on October 11, 2017

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About The Author

Alan Thatcher

Lifelong sports journalist and squash lover. Event promoter, coach, author, voice artist. Founder of World Squash Day.

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