• King of the Motor City extends his reign: Elias rolls past Coll, 3-0, wins 4th-straight title

    By Andrew Graham

    Birmingham, Michigan — Call it “Diego Dominance” or “Easy with Elias.” No matter the title, Sunday evening’s highly-anticipated final of the 2024 Sturbridge Capital Motor City Open at the Birmingham Athletic Club between World #2 Diego Elias and World #3 Paul Coll turned into yet another championship win for the Peruvian.

    With the win Sunday, Elias has now won four straight MCOs, and has been a finalist in five-straight Motor City Opens (there was no tournament in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic).

    Coming into the final, neither Elias (right) nor Coll had lost a game. (MCO photo)

    So, as Elias was introduced at the post-match award ceremony by Tournament Director Julian Wellings, Wellings joked that it might be time to hand Elias a set of keys to the BAC.

    “In Detroit, it’s the fourth in a row, five finals in a row,” said Elias who took home $14,000 and a Longines watch from MCO sponsor Greenstone’s Fine Jewelry. “Just really happy – happy with my performances in every round in this tournament.” As runner-up, Coll won $9,000 and a Longines watch of his own.

    Heading into Sunday, both “Superman” Coll and “Peruvian Puma” Elias were in top form – each cruising into the final without dropping a game. Coll, in particular, looked sharp on Saturday, dispatching third-seed Miguel Rodriguez of Colombia in a near-perfect performance.

    A top-flight final was anticipated, and the final, 3-to-nil score line of 3-0 for Elias belied the point-to-point competitiveness between these familiar opponents.

    Coll (right) stretched Elias to the limit in each of the three games. MCO photo

    “We always have really crazy matches,” Elias said. “I think the head-to-head is like 7-all, now. For a long time, it was one match each that we were winning, so we kind of learn from the last match. And I think I lost comfortably last time in Hong Kong, so I was really excited for this one.”

    In the first game, Coll and Elias traded points early, getting to 5-all before the Kiwi took a 7-5 lead, applying pressure to the top-seeded Peruvian. The sequence was kick-started by a no-let call from the official that netted Coll a stroke and seemed to fire up Elias.

    Elias was masterful, using his agility, length, and exquisite touch around the court. (MCO phto)

    Elias responded, pulling back to 7-all before winning four of the last five points, and the first game 11-8. In Game Two, Elias took a 9-7 lead before Coll came back with two of his best points of the match – tying the score at 9-all. The points were, fast, long, brutal, and Elias went to the towel a couple times breathing hard.

    But in keeping to the tenor of the match, Elias had more than enough to answer Supermans’s run. He ripped off back-to-back points to take the second game, 11-9, positioned himself to win in three.

    “I think every game was actually really close,” Elias said. “That game at 9-all was very important and I think I got a bit of confidence after that one and I could attack a bit more. So just happy I could stick to my game plan and everything worked.”

    For his efforts, Elias won $14k and took home a Longines watch from sponsor Greenstone’s Fine Jewelry. (MCO photo)

    Coll and Elias traded points early in the third. But once again, Elias took a tied game — 6-all — and put together a run of points to win the game and match.  What had begun as a highly-anticipated final turned into what fans had seen Elias do all week: dispatch a tough opponent in three games.

    Final (Sunday) result

    (1) Diego Elias [PER] def. (2) Paul Coll [NZL], 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-6)

    The World #3 Coll v World #2 Elias match-up was highly anticipated all week. (MCO photo)

    Diego Elias’ path to the Motor City Open final

    R16: Elias def. Cesar Salazar [MEX], 3-0 (11-2, 11-4, 11-4)

    QF: Elias def. (6) Nicolas Müller [SUI], 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-5)

    SF: Elias def. (4) Fares Dessouky [EGY], 3-0 (11-7, 11-3, 11-7)


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