Monday, October 2, 2023

Diego Elias dominates against Mohamed ElShorbagy to win Necker Mauritius Open title

‘I want to thank Mohamed and be like him when I win or lose,’ says Elias
By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)

Peru’s Diego Elias overcame the challenge of England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy to win the inaugural Necker Mauritius Open, presented by Beachcomber Resorts and Hotels.

The final completed a wonderful week for world No.5 Elias, who powered his way through the entire tournament without dropping a game.

The Peruvian had knocked out world No.2 Paul Coll in the semi-finals, and he continued that incredible form into the opening exchanges of the final, taking the first 10 points of the contest. Although ElShorbagy was able to avoid the infamous ‘bagel’, Elias won it 11-2.

The 25-year-old controlled the tempo of the match and used his deceptive hold to unsettle ElShorbagy, who was appearing in his first final since switching allegiance from Egypt to England.

The second game was far more competitive as ElShorbagy took the game to his opponent. ElShorbagy made the match more physical and made the rallies longer, with Elias appearing to feel the physical investment required to stay in the rallies as the pace hotted up.

However, Elias switched his plan and moved up the court to nullify his opponent’s attacking prowess, before unleashing his own attacks to sneak the second game.

The Peruvian continued to hold the advantage in the third game and held off a late fightback from ElShorbagy to seal the PSA World Tour Gold title, adding to the Qatar QTerminals Classic and Motor City Open titles that he had won earlier this season.

Diego Elias attacks against Mohamed ElShorbagy in the Mauritius final

A delighted Elias said: “I want to thank everyone for coming here today and I want to thank [Tournament Promoter] Remy [Mabillon] for organising this amazing tournament.

“I love being in this atmosphere – it feels like home. I want to thank all the team, the club and Greg [Gaultier] for helping to organise this, as well as the PSA for having a tournament here. I want to thank everyone for organising this huge event.

“I’m really happy to be the first winner of a tournament like this. Hopefully, this keeps happening every year and I can come back next year and try and win it again.

“I want to say thanks to Mohamed. He has been one of the best ever in squash, and I hope one day I can achieve what he has achieved and be like him when he loses. It’s like he is a winner too, I appreciate it a lot, you don’t see it very often.”

Farida Mohamed celebrates winning the final in Mauritius

The RMCLUB Women’s Open, presented by Expression Networks, came down to a thrilling conclusion at the RM Club in Grand Bay, Mauritius, with Egypt’s World No.18 Farida Mohamed securing the biggest title of her fledgling career, as she defeated top seed Tinne Gilis in a five-game battle.

The match featured a similar pattern of play throughout each game with both players preferring to go short whenever the opportunity presented itself. This suited Mohamed as she powered into the lead after just seven minutes.

Gilis looked off the pace early on and made a number of errors in the opening game, but the Belgian looked more like her usual self in the second game as she improved to draw level.

Both players were able to find their lengths in the third game, with the rallies becoming more drawn out, and it was Gilis who held the advantage. However, the young Egyptian fought back to force a tie-break, one she took to lead the match once again.

The fourth went the way of Gilis, with the top seed dominating proceedings to set up a grandstand finish, but Mohamed kept her focus in the decider to seal a win which sees the Egyptian pick up her fifth PSA title, and her first Challenger 30 level crown.

“No one would believe that before I came here everyone wanted me to pull out of this tournament because of my leg,” said Mohamed.

“I’ve been injured for a month and a half now, my hamstring and my hip. I finally found a way to fix it in the past two days. It was feeling better, but at the end my deep heat was done and I had to put ice spray on it, it went cold again and it felt so bad.

“My coach knows very well that I wanted to win this tournament very badly. Not everyone believed I could do it, so it was such a relief. It’s over and now I’m going into a break with a win.

“Tinne has been playing amazing squash lately and she’s improved so much. It feels amazing to win my biggest title at the end of the season and finish this way. It’s going to give me confidence because I haven’t been in top form today and this week because of my leg as I wasn’t able train very well.”

The action continues on SQUASHTV, with the British National Championships taking place in Manchester from June 14-18. The next PSA World Tour event will be the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which will take place in Cairo from June 21-26.

PSA Gold Men’s $110k Necker Mauritius Open – Presented by Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels.

[3] Diego Elias (PER) bt [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-9, 11-8 (41m)

RMCLUB Women’s Open – Presented by Expression Networks.

[3] Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt [1] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-2: 11-7, 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-5 (51m)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour 


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