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.
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.
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.