Elias claims third title of 2023 in Pittsburgh
Diego Elias maintained his impressive 2023 winning streak to take the Pittsburgh Open title, beating Marwan ElShorbagy in straight games at the Rivers Club.
Elias and ElShorbagy had met four times this season before today’s final, with their last encounter the ToC decider in New York, and although ElShorbagy started brightly Elias quickly established control to take the match in three games.
“I’m very happy with my performance today,” Elias said. “It was a very tough match with Marwan – the start was very important I felt and I’m just very happy with the result. I think all the hard work before this tournament is paying off – I did a lot of work for this and I’m incredibly proud of myself for winning three tournaments in a row.”
Elias and ElShorbagy to meet in ToC final rematch
Diego Elias and Marwan ElShorbagy will meet in a Tournament of Champions final rematch, when they battle it out for the Pittsburgh Open title on Sunday.
Elias secured his place in the final first when he defeated Mohamed Abouelghar in straight games.
“I’m happy with my performance. Mohamed was playing some great squash, but I’m really happy with the result,” said Elias afterwards. “It was a really good match, I felt I played really well. Now I have to recover and get ready for tomorrow.”
ElShorbagy, who is through to his sixth final this season, overcame Youssef Soliman in four games to progress to the final. Both came through five-game quarter-finals, but it was ElShorbagy who progressed to the final in four games.
“I’m happy to win today in four games. It was a tough match, and the first game was tough, but I’m really happy that I played well after that injury break in the second game.
“The fourth game, I was 10-6 up and it’s another lesson to learn after yesterday but I’m glad to be learning those lessons while winning the matches.”
Quarters : Soliman takes out top seed Farag as Abouelghar extends run
Seventh seed Youssef Soliman knocked out top seed Ali Farag to progress to the semi-finals after edging a pulsating encounter 3-2 at the Rivers Club.
Soliman, who had lost all four of the previous meetings with his fellow Egyptian, dug deep to reach the last four, with the match settled with an epic fifth game with Farag coming from 5-10 down before Soliman finally prevailed 16-14.
“I have no idea where to start from!” said Soliman “Especially that fifth game – every single time I get him he comes back. He might have been struggling physically as he’s just come back, but I get so excited when I see him playing like that.
“The fourth happened where he managed to come back and the fifth I was 10-6 up, I didn’t know what happened. I found myself match ball down and then it was the tiebreak. “I’m so proud with how I managed to hold my nerve. Towards the end it was about holding my nerve and I’m so happy to be through.”
Soliman meets his Egyptian compatriot Marwan ElShorbagy, who held off a fightback from Mazen Hesham to prevail 3-2, for a place in the final.
In the other half of the draw unseeded Mohamed Abouelghar continued his sparkling form as he took out another seed to reach the final four, defeating sixth seed Joel Makin in straight games.
“I’m feeling extremely happy. I think I executed my game plan extremely well, even when I was 7-3 up in the second game, he came back to seven-all,” Abouelghar said after his last eight win. I’m enjoying myself and not thinking much about winning or losing, just trusting the process. I’m really glad to be back playing and competing. I’m playing with no pressure and I’m just enjoying myself.”
The Egyptian will face second seed Diego Elias, who notched a straight games victory of his own against his fellow South American Miguel Rodriguez, in the semi-finals.
Round Two : Abouelghar downs Momen as seeds join in
Mohamed Abouelghar caused the only upset of round two as he dispatched fourth seed Tarek Momen in straight games. Abouelghar, who reached the second round with a 3-0 win over Sebastien Bonmalais, defeated the World No.7 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 to move into the last eight.
“It feels unbelievable. I’ve always struggled against Tarek – the head-to-heads, I’ve only beaten him once in a best of three. To beat him in straight games is a massive achievement for me,” said Abouelghar. “I was 8-2 down in the first game and I told myself to hang in there and make it long for him so I could gain some momentum for the second game. “I’m happy it worked out and I won the game – it gave me a huge boost going into the second game onwards.”
Meanwhile, reigning World Champion and top seed Ali Farag marked his return to action, coming from a game down to beat Nathan Lake.
“It feels amazing to be back on court. I feel like a child in a play area – I’m back to doing what I love most,” said Farag. “I was very nervous and very excited – I had so many different emotions but the overriding one is gratitude and happiness.”
In the quarters Farag faces Youssef Soliman and Marwan ElShorbagy meets Mazen Hesham, guaranteeing an Egyptian finalist in the top half. while Abouelghar meets Joel Makin and Diego Elias faces Miguel Rodriguez in the bottom half matches.
Round One : Rooney fights back to advance to round two
England’s Patrick Rooney fought back from two games down to defeat Lucas Serme on the opening day of the Pittsburgh Open. Rooney, who was facing Serme for the first time on the PSA World Tour, won 3-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 in a bruising 62-minute battle.
Afterwards, Rooney said: “I feel happy to be through. I started way too slow and probably didn’t take the court into consideration with my game plan. I started way too slow and I was giving him (Serme) too much time and he was punishing me for it. I was 2-0 down and I really had to pick up the pace, stick in there, make it hard, not make any errors and claw my way back. But I’m just happy to be through.”
Elsewhere, Rooney’s fellow countryman Nathan Lake came through an attritional encounter with Egypt’s Omar Mosaad, winning in 70 minutes to set up second round clash with top seed Ali Farag, while India’s Ramit Tandon overcame Dimitri Steinmann in four games.