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).
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.
“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
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 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
“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.”
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
Semis : Elias and Coll set up title decider in Detroit
World #2 Diego Elias and World #3 Paul Coll advanced to the Sturbridge Capital Motor City Open final after claiming comprehensive victories on day four of the PSA World Tour Silver event in Detroit – top seed Elias progressed to his fifth consecutive final at the Birmingham Athletic Club thanks to a straight-game win over fourth seed Fares Dessouky, while Coll put on a masterful display to overcome third seed Miguel Rodriguez in three games.
“I’m very happy,” Elias said. “I think I played very good squash and I think it is going to help me for the final for sure getting through all of my rounds 3-0. I’m just excited for tomorrow.
“I was very happy with my performance tonight,” said Coll. “I was wanting to switch on from the very first rally and I did that, and I can’t even think when I made a single mistake. I was very clinical to the front and the back and I moved well, so I was very happy with that performance.”
Quarters : Top four seeds progress in Birmingham
Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez battled past seventh seed Adrian Waller in a hard-fought four-game encounter to ensure that the top four seeds all progressed to the Sturbridge Capital Motor City Open semi-finals.
That followed straight game wins for Dieto Elias, Paul Coll and Fares Dessouky.
Day TWO : ElSherbini ends home hopes as seeds progress
Egypt’s Mohamed ElSherbini ended home hopes on day two of the after coming through an intense five-game battle with Timothy Brownell.
“It was a good match, Timmy is a good player and he stuck to his game plan today. He is really strong and I didn’t expect that because I haven’t played him before. It was good on my side to get my first win of the year, so I was happy to come out on top. His forehand was pretty good, so I tried to stay away from that, especially his volleys, so I started to play more into his backhand so I could have more openings to go short. Slowly, step-by-step, it started to work out.”
Elsewhere, three-time champion Diego Elias cruised into the quarter-finals with a dominant win over Cesar Salazar, while second seed Paul Coll needed just 29 minutes and three games to see off Abhay Singh.
Third seed Miguel Rodriguez was made to work for his spot in the last eight, defeating Ibrahim Elkabbani in a tough four-game encounter, setting up a tie against England’s Adrian Waller. The Colombian’s victory ensured that seven out of the top eight seeds progressed to the quarter-finals by the end of the day’s play in Detroit, the exception being Portugal’s Lucky Loser Rui Soares.
Day ONE : Brownell keeps home hopes alive
USA #1 Timothy Brownell came through an entertaining five-game bout against Malaysia’s Addeen Idrakie to progress to the second round at the Birmingham Athletic Club, setting up a second-round date with fifth seed Mohamed ElSherbini.
“I thought it was a good win,” Brownell said after his match. “I thought he was playing really well, super quick, and I was having trouble getting him to the back of the court. The points were long and tough, so I’m really happy to come out on top there.
“I was 10-6 down in the third and I just didn’t want to give up. It almost flicked the switch for me and took the pressure off me because I was so many points down. I opened up the racket a bit, let my skill do the talking and it was a bit of a rollercoaster, but I came out on top. There were so few decisions in the match and I think it was just such great squash.”
There were four seeding upsets in the bottom half of the draw as India’s Abhay Singh came through an intense five-game battle against USA’s Faraz Khan and Aly Hussain beat Shahjahan Khan to leave Brownell the only American left in the draw.
Simon Herbert and Ibraham Elkabbani also beat 9/16 seeds to progress, while Juan Vargas and George Parker were both takes to five games before advancing.