Diego Elias (PER) def  James Willstrop (ENG) 12-10 11-5 11-8 (46-min)
With an elder cadre of top-talent on the PSA World Tour, Diego Elias’ timing and talent couldn’t be better. Last season’s PSA Young Player of the Year, Diego comes into his second Qatar Classic Squash Championship with a career-high ranking of #15 in the World.
Diego Elias. The Next Big Thing
And it has been a productive season so far. He started his 2017-18 campaign with a Quarterfinal run at the China Open, reached the Semi’s in San Francisco, then played in his second career PSA World Series Quarterfinal at the US Open. Last week, he took US Open Champ Ali Farag to a fifth and deciding game in the Semifinals of the St. George’s Hill Classic in Weybridge; and last year – in his Doha debut – he took defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy the distance in Round-1.
He’s for real, and he proved it in the first Main Draw match of the Qatar Classic 2017, defeating former World #1 James Willstrop in three straight. The two had played once before, last year in the Semifinals of the NetSuite Open in San Francisco. Willstrop won easily. James looked on pace to do it again, up 7-3 in game one on Sunday…but Diego refused to fade. Elias battled back, leveled the game at 8-all, then took the first on his second game ball, 12-10. Adrenaline up, confidence boosted, Elias elevated his play in games two and three, and wrapped the match in 46-minutes. (FULL MATCH RECAP)
James Willstrop. The 2017-18 World Series Curse
With 19 career PSA Tour titles, 8 of them World Series wins, James Willstrop is now 34-years-old. In June, he finished the 2016-17 season by reaching the championship match of Dubai’s PSA World Series Finals for the first time. The 2005 Qatar Classic Champion started the new season on a tear, defeating World #1 Gregory Gaultier in the final of the European Individual Championship. On tour, he played through to another Semifinal in San Francisco. But the World Series hasn’t been kind to the World #7. In Philadelphia, he fell in Round-1 to Mexico’s Cesar Salazar at the US Open. Today, it was Peru’s Diego Elias.
Hopefully, in two weeks, the former World #1 can improve those results at the Hong Kong Open, and start putting points on the board for the Road to Dubai.