3:55 pm
21 Feb 2019

Abouelghar Downs Diego For Detroit Crown

3 Feb 2019

Keeping the trophy in Egyptian hands, Mohamed Abouelghar claimed the 2019 Motor City Open title after seeing off Peruvian Diego Elias in five games in the climax of the PSA World Tour event - presented by the Suburban Collection - which celebrating its 20th edition in Detroit.

The third seed topped #4 seed Elias in a thrilling, high-quality, 63-minute final, 5-11, 11-6, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 - becoming the seventh Egyptian to win the MCO in the past 10 years at the Birmingham Athletic Club.

Veteran referee Mike Riley called it one of the five best matches he has ever called.

"I'm very, very happy and proud to put my name on the trophy with so many legends," Abouelghar said. "It's very special."

Despite the long week, the 25-year-old Abouelghar showed off his endurance in the final.

"It was hard, man," Abouelghar said. "Diego is such a great player. Sometimes he makes you work so much, you have to grind yourself out. He moves the ball very well around the court. At some point, you just have to retrieve and get the ball back."

In game one, Elias raced through seven of the last eight points to win, 11-5.

Abouelghar came out aggressively in the second game. He took a 7-2 lead and won 11-6, then dominated Game #3 for an 11-3 triumph. Elias recovered the win the fourth, 11-4, setting up a dramatic finish.

The pair played to a tie at 8-8 before Abouelghar won the final three points to raise the trophy.

"It was a tough match, he played well," said Elias, 22, who also reached the MCO semi-final in 2017. "It was really close, but I felt it was right in front of me this time."

"I doubt if it gets harder than that," Abouelghar said. "We're going to play many more battles. I'm happy I got this one, and I'm sure he's going to come at me next time."

Tournament organizers praised the champion's resilience and also recognized Elias as an up-and-comer to watch.

"I'm confident that within the next 12-24 months, he's going to be right up there near the top, in the top five in the world," MCO co-chair Peter Schmidt said. "It's great to have a fantastic final."

Added Derrick J Glencer, co-chairman of the MCO: "This happens a lot at our tournament, and a lot of people who end up winning our tournament go on to being world No. 1 and I can absolutely see (Elias') future. It was a brilliant battle tonight."

Abouelghar and Elias both said they plan to return to the MCO next season.

"People here make you feel home all the time," Abouelghar said. "Every time I come back here, I feel like I never left. They take care of us, they make sure they put on a great event, the members are great. With all the history and fun, it's just a great event."

On the road to the title, Abouelghar knocked off top-ranked American Todd Harrity in four games, beat Englishman Adrian Waller in five games, and then topped friend and countryman Zahed Salem in four.

Meanwhile, Elias' first two opponents of the week retired early before he overcame defending champion Marwan Elshorbagy of Egypt, the top seed, in 30 minutes in Friday's semi-final.

The MCO is the second-longest running pro squash tourney in the US. In addition to his take of the $75,000 total purse, Abouelghar took home a Longines watch from Greenstone's Jewelers. Elias also won a watch from Greenstone's.