Day 3. Round of 16. Diego Elias

Andy Taylor. Sports Announcer. Qatar Classic Squash Championship. Day 3. Round of 16. Diego Elias

Sports Announcer. Andy Taylor. Qatar Classic 2017

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Diego Elias (PER) def [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-8 11-6 11-9 (38-min)

Last season’s PSA Young Player of the Year versus the highest-ranked Indian player of all time. 20-year-old Diego Elias and 31-year-old Saurav Ghosal have played twice before. The Peruvian Puma has yet to earn a win off the 12-time Indian Nationals champion.

The two first met in the Quarterfinals of the 2015 Columbian Open in Bogota. Elias was just 18. Ghosal won it in 48-minutes after losing the first game 8-11. Six months later, they met in Columbia again, in the 1st-Round of the Squash Columbia Open in Cartagena. Down 2-games-to-1, Saurav came back to win it 11-8 and 11-6 in 90-minutes.

Now the World #15, Diego is hungry for the rematch. He’s grown tremendously over the past year and a half. Meanwhile Ghosal relishes the idea of earning another win over an opponent 11-years his junior.

Diego Elias. The Next Big Thing

Diego Elias comes into his second Qatar Classic with a career-high ranking of #15 in the World, and it has been a productive season for the Peruvian Puma. 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.

Last year, in his Doha debut, he took defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy the distance in Round-1. On Sunday, he defeated former World #1 and 2015 Qatar Classic Champion James Willstrop to reach the Round of 16 for the first time.

Saurav Ghosal. Back in Rhythm

Saurav Ghosal has rediscovered his game for the new 2017-18 season. In the past three months, the former World #15 and highest ranked Indian player of all time won a record 12th Indian Nationals Title, reached his 13th career PSA Tour Final at the Macau Open, then made a Semifinal run at the St. George’s Hill Classic…as a QUALIFIER. Impressive results.

Currently the World #26, Saurav blasted through qualifying without losing a single game; then on Sunday, delivered another 3-game sweep over World #14 Daryl Selby. For someone 0-7 against Selby, the win was a huge confidence boost in a season already showing tremendous promise.

A different (and dominant) Diego

Elias has come a long way in the past 20-months. He’s produced results, climbed 24 ranking positions, and most importantly, is stronger mentally, with significant match-experience under his belt. He wasted no time getting to work on Ghosal, punishing the ball and his opponent from first-serve. Diego jumped ahead early, and maintained the advantage, taking game-1 in 13-minutes.

The second was a repeat of the first. Elias up early, Ghosal unable to string together a significant run. In 8-minutes, Elias was a game away from the Quarterfinals.

Game-3 was more competitive. Ghosal earned the early edge, but Diego fought back to 5-all. They were even again at 8-all, then 9-all, before Elias sealed the victory with a stroke and an un-returnable deep-ball to the back wall.

With the win, Elias advanced to his 3rd career PSA World Series Quarterfinal; his second consecutive of the young season.

Diego Elias: [Ghosal] beat me twice before and it’s always hard. I prepared well for this. I think I played well, my shots went in and I had a little bit of luck as well…I’m really focused on squash right now. I want to get into the top ten and I’ve been training hard. There’s a lot of people to thank like my dad and Greg who I have learned a lot from.