• Motor City semis: Top seeds fall as Elias, Dessouky advance to final

    by Nolan Bianchi
    The Motor City Open

    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    — A pair of upsets has set the stage for the final of the 2022 Motor City Open Presented by Sturbridge Capital.

    The tournament’s reigning champion, Diego Elias, will face off against a first-time competitor, Fares Dessouky, at 4 PM on Sunday, as the pair advanced in the semifinals Saturday – knocking off the tournament’s top two seeds in the process.

    Peru’s Elias, the 2020 MCO winner and tournament three-seed, top seed and World #2 Paul Coll of New Zealand in four engrossing games, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10.

    Diego Elias flicks a backhand against Paul Coll. (MCO photo by Brendan Temple)

    “I’m happy with the results,” said Elias, who predicted a two-hour match against Coll. “I’m happy with the patience I had and then the game plan I had. He’s a great player and he can stay in there for three hours, so I’m just happy to get it done in an hour and a half.”

    Up 2-1 in games, Elias fell behind 7-4 in the fourth before storming back to end the match before Coll had a chance to wear him out.

    Paul Coll (left) puts in maximum effort against Diego Elias. (MCO photo by Brendan Temple)

    “If we went into a fifth game, it would have been like 20 or 30 more minutes in there, and I knew that was not going to be to my advantage” Elias said. “So I went for some winners and they went in – I won like four points in one minute. That worked very well for me.”

    Like two heavyweights in a title fight, Elias and Coll —good friends and training partners — danced around each other to start their semi-final match, slowly working into a rhythm and gain an edge without burning precious energy.

    Diego Elias (left) and Paul Coll differ with the referee. (MCO photo by Brendan Temple)

    Elias took a lead after Game 1 by winning long points, normally the fit Coll’s bread and butter. The New Zealander wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be, and it cut into his strategy of outlasting his opponent.

    In the second game, Elias played the front-runner, though never by more than a two-point lead. Coll rallied a few times to even the score with long points, but each time the lanky Peruvian would come back with a quick point of his own to to stop Col’s momentum.

    “Every time we were playing longer rallies, I thought I had to break up the pace and go for different shot,” said Elias.”I think I did that very well today.”

    The stage could not have been more different in the other semi-final match at Birmingham Athletic Club.

    Fares Dessouky strokes a backhand against Tarek Momen. (MCO Photo)

    Five-seed Dessouky and two-seed Momen, both Egyptians, worked fast and furious to start the match. Dessouky quickly jumped out to a 10-1 lead.

    Momen managed to rally and make the score a respectable 11-7, and carried the momentum to win Game Two. But he more uncomposed player from jump, and it hurt him as the match wore on.

    Dessouky took the match, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5 — and it’s no wonder he’s enjoying his first-ever appearance at the MCO.

    Tarek Momen steps into a backhand. (MCO photo)

    “Very nice, very cozy. I like the people, I like the courts, so I’m very happy,” said the 27-year old.

    Despite his dominance in the first game and a close win in the second stanza, Dessouky knew that he could be in danger. Momen advanced to the tournament semi-final by overcoming a 3-11 loss in the opening game of his quarter-final matchup before besting Mazen Hesham in four games.

    “I had to regroup after the second game, and I was thinking: ‘OK, now do you want to play well, or do you want to win?’” Dessouky said. “If I want to win, I have to play the best squash I could, and make it hard for him on the court, too.”

    Pride won’t be the only thing on the line in Sunday’s final. Elias and Dessouky will also be playing for the winner’s purse and a Longines watch from Greenstone’s Jewelers.

    Diego Elias (right) will go for his second straight MCO title after outlasting Paul Coll. (MCO photo)

    Thursday’s results
    (3) Diego Elias (Peru) def. (1)  Paul Coll, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10
    (5) Fares Dessouky (Egypt) def. (2) Tarek Momen, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5

    MCO schedule
    (3) Diego Elias (Peru) vs. (5) Fares Dessouky, 4 p.m., Court 3

    Eye on ball. Fares Dessouky leans into a backhand. (MCO photo)

    Birmingham Athletic Club
    4033 W. Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI
    FOR TICKETS AND INFORMATION CONTACT: Julian Wellings, MCO Squash Director, 248.646.5050, jwellings@bacmi.net

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