• King of the Motor City: Elias downs Dessouky, repeats as MCO champ

    by Nolan Bianchi
    Motor City Open

    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan — It’s no wonder that Peru’s Diego Elias loves coming Michigan — he keeps winning trophies from the Motor City Open presented by Sturbridge Capital.

    Elias repeated as MCO champion Sunday — taking home $12,600 winner’s purse and a Longines watch from Greenstone’s Jewelers — by defeating Fares Dessouky of Egypt in three games (11-5, 11-8, 11-9) to become the tournament’s first back-to-back winner.

    Diego Elias goes low for a backhand. (MCO photo)

    It was Elias’ third-straight championship match appearance at the MCO, and, with the win, he tied his coach Jonathon Power – and former World #1 Mohamed ElShorbagy – for most victories at the MCO (two).

    “I’m always feeling great in this tournament,” Elias said. “I like the courts, I like the people here. They make us feel like home. I’m very happy with my performance this week.”

    Fares Dessouky (right) went all the way to the final in his MCO debut. (MCO photo)

    To reach the final Elias survived some tough matches – including a semi-final war with soon-to-be World #1 Paul Coll. But he was never taken to a fifth game, going wire-to-wire as the best squash player on the Birmingham Athletic Club’s challenging courts over a five-day stretch.

    “It was a really good event for him. He had his full game on display,” Coach Power said. “He had a few tough matches and yesterday was brutally physical – Coll’s a tough player.”

    Diego Elias took an early blow to his eye, but the pain was short-lived. (MCO photo by Brendan Temple)

    Three-seed Elias jumped on Dessouky’s mistakes early. The Egyptian smacked three shots into the tin as he quickly fell behind 7-1 in the opening stanza. Elias was able to withstand a push to finish him off, 11-5.

    If there’s a game that Dessouky would like to have back, it’s the second. He opened with a 3-1 lead, but once again the #7 seed buried himself with shots into the tin. Two straight shots into the red stripe tied things up at 3-3, and, as he and Elias traded points, Dessouky’s mistakes piled up. Elias won the game, 11-8.

    DIego Elias played near error-free squash in the final. (MCO photo)

    “He’s an attacking player, so I just needed to be patient and keep my lines and try to be smart,” Elias said. “He gave me a few errors every game, so that helped. I knew he could maybe take one (or) two games, but if I keep being patient and hitting the lines, I thought that was a game plan to win.”

    The pattern continued on into the third game. Dessouky jumped out to a 6-3 lead, hit two straight shots into the tin, and then misfired on three consecutive balls to put Elias up 8-7 and all but seal his fate.

    Dessouky (right) went all the way to the finals in his first MCO. (MCO photo)

    Still, the run to finals was an impressive debut for Dessouky in his first-ever MCO.

    “I was injured since April. Three doctors told me to stop playing squash, but I didn’t stop, I kept going,” Dessouky said. “I believed in myself so much. I believed in my family, I believed in my coaches, I believe in the process in my doctors, and I’m very happy to be back and competing again.”

    Dessouky also earned a Longines watch from Greenstone’s Jewelers in Birmingham.

    To the victor goes the spoils. Elias is first back-to-back winner of the MCO. (MCO photo)



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