Elias sees off Willstrop in Doha
30 Oct 2017 - 1:13
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
Diego Elias of Peru began his Qatar Classic 2017 campaign on an emphatic note by pulling off a stunning win over former World No.1 James Willstrop of England on the opening day of the $165,000 event at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex yesterday.
An impressive performance from Elias saw the Peruvian World No. 15 defeat the Doha 2005 champion from England 12-10, 11-5, 11-8 in 46 minutes.
“It’s always hard playing experienced players like James and Nick,” said Elias.
“I just try to put a lot of pressure on them and I’m feeling good at the moment and today, I think I played well. This could be a good tournament for me.
“Today the first game was very important. I tried to play as fast as I can and it was working.”
Elias takes on India’s Saurav Ghosal in the second round match tomorrow.
Hong Kong qualifier Leo Au and Ghosal also continued the upsets trend on day one in Doha. Au overcame the challenge of Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly in a high quality four-game affair while the Indian posted a win over Daryl Selby of England to become the second qualifier to advance to the second round.
The second match of the day followed the trend of the first with Cuskelly falling flat against an inspired Au.
“I had no expectations today,” said Au.
“Ryan is a good player, he’s very solid and consistent. Today I don’t think I had any pressure and I played well and that third game was key.”
Au will meet fifth seed Ali Farag of Egypt in the next round.
India’s Ghosal, who is having an impressive run of form at the start of the new season, booked a place in the second round of the Qatar Classic for the first time in his career.
“I had a good week last week in St George and had a decent start to the season in Macau too – so I’m just trying to enjoy my squash as much as I possibly can. If I can enjoy it for the most part then I feel I can give a good account of myself,” said Ghosal.
Former World No.1 Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt, seeded third in the tournament, kept his composure to get past the challenge of qualifier Chris Simpson of England in three straight games and joining him to the next stage were top seed Gregory Gaultier of France.
Gautlier got the better of Mexican Cesar Salazar in straight games and will face the winner of the match between Zahed Mohamed of Egypt and Gregoire Marche of France in the second round.
Also making it to the next round of the tournament where Egyptian Farag on a day which saw home hope Abdulla Al Tamimi of Qatar crashing out after his loss to Fares Dessouky of Egypt.
Qatar’s Tamimi too had a bad day on the court and must be bitterly disappointed with his performance yesterday.
Tamimi was just not mentally and tactically not there and Dessouky took full advantage of that.
“I know he always plays well here in Doha, so I had to make sure I kept my focus at all times,” Dessouky said.
“He played very well in the 2nd and 3rd game, I had to change my game plan, and I’m very glad I managed to get through in third game, and particularly happy with my low unforced errors counts,” he added.
Fares meets Mohamed El Shorbagy in the all-Egyptian affair in the second round.
Mohamed El gave credit to his team for his consistent show on the World Tour.
“You don’t arrive to the top of the ranking by yourself. I have a whole team behind me, whether for the squash side of things, the physical side, the mental side,” the Egyptian said after winning his first round match against Englishman Simpson.
“It takes a whole support group to get up there and stay there, both on tour and back home. Without them, I’m nothing, and I want to thank them for it,” he added.