Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Diego Elias beats his buddy and training partner Paul Coll to win first Platinum title in Qatar

‘Paul is my closest friend on tour and he is a great inspiration, so I’m very pleased to win this title’

Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias fought off fatigue to claim his first Platinum level title with a victory over New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the final of the Qatar QTerminals Classic.

Coll was the favourite going into the final and Elias knew he was facing a huge physical battle, but he managed to perform under pressure to win the final after 83 minutes of high-quality combat on the showcourt arena at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha.

The pair, who are great friends off court and have trained together a lot in recent years, had to put that friendship aside as they stepped on court.

Coll started the stronger of the two, with some lengthy rallies playing into the Kiwi’s favour. However, a comeback from the ‘Peruvian Puma’ saw him send the game into a tie-break, as he saved several game balls before eventually taking it 13-11, winning the game with his first opportunity.

The second game followed the same pattern to start with but Coll’s line hitting improved, along with an increased tempo, and he was able to take it 11-5 to level up the match at one game all, with Elias providing no resistance in the latter stage of the game.

The level of squash got even better in the third game, with some of the best action the tournament had seen. A 27-minute salvo went the way of Elias on a tie-break again, as he took it 13-11, despite a despairing dive from Coll on the final point.

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Elias was able to continue his high quality squash into the fourth game, despite his obvious fatigue. He held off his opponent’s non-stop barrage to win 13-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9 and become the first Peruvian to claim a major title on the PSA World Tour.

Elias said: “I can’t believe it still. I am very happy with this, very happy with my game! I want to thank everyone for coming today, and thanks to all the Peruvian people who came, that is a massive help for me!

“I’m just very happy to be a Platinum champion for the first time. I have been trying for a long time now, so I am very happy and I want to thank all the organisers. This tournament is always the best, they treat us so well. It is incredible to be the champion here.

“Paul is my closest friend on Tour and it is the first time in forever that there are no Egyptians in a final, so we were very happy for that! He is such a great champion, he is an inspiration for anyone that plays squash, or any sport really. I am a massive fan and I train with him, too!

“I am very happy and I want to thank everyone who supported me since I started. My dad has been with me since the start. He has been my coach, and after that I started training with Jonathon (Power) for a long time.

“He has been a massive help as well so I have a great team with me! My physio that I have seen, they helped me be back here. In July I didn’t even know if I could play matches in a row, and now in October, to be a champion is just incredible. I am just very happy with this!”

Coll said: “It is hard to see those (positives) now, but I am happy to be back here in Doha, competing in another final on such a great stage. It’s a really well run tournament, so a massive thank you to the sponsors, to QTerminals for being the main sponsor here, and to the Qatar Squash Federation for putting on such a great event and making the players feel special. They look after us the best on Tour, so it is a pleasure to be here.”

The next event on SQUASHTV will be London’s favourite tournament, the star-studded Canary Wharf Classic, which takes place from November 14-19.

PSA Platinum $187,500 Men’s QTerminals Qatar Classic 2021, Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha.

[6] Diego Elias (PER) bt [2] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 13-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9 (83m) 

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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