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16 Jul 2024

Diego Downs Farag In El Gouna Shock

9 Apr 2017

Diego Elias, the two-time World Junior Champion from Peru who has struggled to translate his junior success into senior triumphs, looked to have turned a corner in his still fledgling career when he put in a mature and focused performance to overturn a losing streak to Ali Farag, the world No.6 from Egypt, in the first round of the El Gouna International Open in El Gouna, Egypt.

In their last two meetings, Elias found himself on the wrong side of a 3/2 scoreline - having squandered 2/1 game leads on both occasions. But the 20-year-old from Lima turned the tables as he took advantage of a misfiring Farag early on to secure a huge win that takes him through to meet Mexican Cesar Salazar in the second round.

"I knew it was going to be a very tough match because I lost to him 3/2 the last two times," said Elias.

"Those two defeats really hurt - I was 2/1 up in both - so I was very determined today to try and turn it around and I'm really happy. I knew the crowd would be behind him but I stuck to my plan and kept my focus.

"I came in with a plan and it worked," added the world No.22. "I have been on Tour for a few years now and lost a lot of very tough matches. I feel like I know how to deal with the situation much better now and I'm really looking forward to playing Cesar in the next round."

Egypt's Fares Dessouky announced his arrival as a bona-fide top 10 player after a superb victory over three-time World Champion Nick Matthew - a month after he lost out to the Englishman in the final of the Canary Wharf Classic.

Dessouky twice fell behind to the 36-year-old veteran, but an impressive fightback in the fourth and fifth games saw the tide turn in favour of the world No.9 and he battled to a 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 triumph in El Gouna's New Marina to record one of the biggest wins of his career.

"I'm very happy with the win, last time it was a close game and I lost it 3/1," said Dessouky, a semi-finalist in El Gouna last year.

"He's very experienced and today I don't know how I won. The crowd was always behind me from the first point, so that was a great thing for me today. It gave me a push and I kept on going from the first point to the end of the game.

"I love playing here and I always dream of winning this tournament. I didn't play well in Al Ahram, so I hope to play well here and achieve more than the semi-final. I'm just thinking about things step-by-step. It's always great to be here playing in front of this great crowd."

Elsewhere, World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad bounced back from a disappointing second round exit at last month's Allam British Open with a 3/0 win over fellow Egyptian Zahed Mohamed.

Gawad, the world No.2 who could top the World Rankings next month if results go his way in El Gouna, claimed an 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 victory to set up a second round clash with Borja Golan - the former world No.5 from Spain who scalped Gawad at February's Windy City Open.

"It's very important to come back, mentally and physically, after playing so many tournaments this season," Gawad said.

"I had a tough loss in the British Open, but it's part of the game and you have to try to learn from it and try to move on and play your best squash possible in the next tournament."

Australian No.1 Ryan Cuskelly defeated Egyptian qualifier Mohamed Reda to claim a second round berth against Dessouky, while world No.10 Simon Rösner and Karim Ali Fathi will go head-to-head after they beat Raphael Kandra and Saurav Ghosal, respectively.