• Motor City Quarters: Top seeds Elias, Coll, Rodriguez, Dessouky advance

    By Andrew Graham

    Birmingham, Michigan — The Top Four seeds advanced in a fast and furious four quarterfinal matches at the 2024 Sturbridge Capital Motor City Open at the Birmingham Athletic Club on Friday. Top seed Diego Elias joined #2 seed Paul Coll, #3 Miguel Rodriguez, and #4 Fares Dessouky for Saturday’s semifinals.

    The first pair of quarterfinals only took a half an hour to complete, with fourth-seeded Dessouky rolling past five-seed Mohamed ElSherbini in three games in an Egyptian showdown. It marks the second year running the Dessouky will make it to the semifinals at the MCO.

    Fares Dessouky (rt) defeated Mohamed ElSherbini in a quarterfinal match. Photo by Bryan Mitchell/MCO.

    “I love this tournament, I’m always playing well here,” Dessouky said after his win.

    He will face a formidable Elias, a challenge that Dessouky won’t be backing down from.

    “Tomorrow’s going to be a good test for me,” Dessouky said. “I’m just back from an injury, so the main aim for me [is] to stay healthy and play well and hopefully tomorrow to get the win. So you never know, tomorrow’s a new day and every match has its own things.”

    World #2 Elias continued his dominant form, out-reaching and out-guiling Switzerland’s Nicolas Müller. Despite terrific shot-making efforts from the Swiss — he pushed his Peruvian opponent to the limit in the second game — Elias always seemed to find a corner or a drop shot that his opponent couldn’t match.

    Top seed Diego Elias (left) defeated Nicolas Mueller. Photo by Bryan Mitchell/MCO.

    “Very happy to win today, again in three. Tough match, very fast paced with Nicky. It’s always fun to play him. So just happy I could win in three and be ready for tomorrow,” Elias said.

    With his 3-0 win over Müller, Elias will be looking to gain his fourth straight MCO final after winning the last three. But he’s not overlooking the challenge he’ll face in the crafty, relentless Dessouky.

    “I just have to be very patient and I’m still going to get my game plan right,” Elias said. “I’ve played him a few times. I’ve played him here in a final before, so I know him pretty well.”

    The second semifinal will be a showdown between two of the hardest hitters in the field: “Superman” Coll and “Cannonball” Rodriguez.

    Coll rolled 3-0 past Portugal’s Rui Soares. But the Kiwi nearly let the first game slip. After leading 8-3, Coll let Soares back in the game – and even had to save a game point, before winning 15-13.

    Two seed Paul Coll (rt) defeated Rui Soares to advance to the semis. Photo by Bryan Mitchell/MCO

    “He was good with the racket, he had a few winners,” Coll said. “I left the ball a bit short a few too many times and he put it away. He’s got some good shots. He changes the angle quickly. So yeah, he’s good. Enjoyed it out there.”

    From there, it was a perfunctory finish for Coll to get in the semifinals. It was not such a straightforward task for Rodriguez, going four tough games with big Englishman Adrian Waller, the #7 seed.

    Rodriguez appeared poised for a 3-0 wins – taking the first two games – but Waller dug deep in the third game. He won a pair of critical points from a 9-9 draw to take the fourth.

    Miguel Rodriguez (foreground) earned a semifinal bid after defeating Adrian Waller. Photo by Bryan Mitchell/MCO

    “I think in the third one I was just leaving the ball too much in the middle of the service box, especially on his forehand,” Rodriguez said. “He was taking that ball short and doing some winners. But all credit to him because he fought back.”

    In Game Four, the pair battled to 5-5 before Rodriguez benefitted from a handful of key errors from Waller. The speedy Colombian feels he’s finally settled in his play after a rocky start on Thursday.

    “I think I played much better than yesterday. The pace and the shots were more accurate,” Rodriguez said. Saturday’s semis will start at 5 PM.

    Packed house. Diego Elias put on a show with Nicolas Mueller at MCO host Birmingham Athletic Club in Birmingham, Michigan. Photo by Bryan Mitchell/MCO

    Quarterfinal (Friday) results

    (4) Fares Dessouky [EGY] def. (5) Mohamed ElSherbini [EGY], 3-0 (11-3, 11-8, 11-4)

    (1) Diego Elias [PER] def. (6) Nicolas Müller [SUI], 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-5)

    (2) Paul Coll [NZL] def. Rui Soares [POR], 3-0 (15-13, 11-7, 11-6)

    (3) Miguel Rodriguez [COL] def. (7) Adrian Waller [ENG], 3-1 (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7)

    Semifinal (Saturday) matchups

    (1) Diego Elias [PER] vs. (4) Fares Dessouky [EGY] — 5 p.m.

    (2) Paul Coll [NZL] vs. (3) Miguel Rodriguez [COL] — 6 p.m.

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