R3: Ali weathers the Diego Storm…

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) 2-1 [6] Diego Elias (PER)  14-16, 11-5, 11-3 (60m)

We need characters like Diego. He is one of a kind, bless him. We need out of the box players, they bring flavour to it all, and the fact he is not Egyptian adds to the need in my view.

Diego is probably at the moment the most pure gifted player on the Tour. In the Ramy’s vein. As in, you cannot predict what’s he’s going to play, because he doesn’t know himself. He just feels the court, feel the opponent, and reacts. Storms of nicks in the front corners. Stunningly beautiful, original, skillful.


If Ramy was extremy fit – even at the start of his career when he was rounder – Ramy was a physical beast. I remember Mohamed telling me: “I never saw Ramy out of breath. Ever. I never saw him breathe hard.”

That’s where the difference lays at the moment. The day Diego gets really fit, he’s going extremely, extremely hard to beat. Because at the moment, his out of focus moment are due to the physical side of things. Beware when he gets truly fit.

Ali gave it all in the first game. Come on, 35m game, that’s a nice lung opener isn’t it. But as he said “I wanted to put a lot of work in his legs, even if I didn’t win it. It finally paid off at 5/1 in the 3rd.”

In my opinion, it paid off way before, Ali. At 5/5 in the second, the goose was cooked. But please, watch the match. There are a few rallies in there, in particular one in the tie break of the first game, 13/12 for Diego. Ridiculous squash doesn’t start to cover it. The Peruvian needed 7 game balls to conclude.

And the way he managed to slow down the time between the rallies should be taught in squash schools. Juuuust fast enough not to be penalised, but slowly enough to catch his breath. I don’t think Diego had used a broom that much in his own life before that match… 🙂

Diego will still fight up to 5/5 in the second, he’ll lose 11/5 with 5 errors in 5 points. And the third, if he still finds winners out of nowhere and reacts to Ali’s shots pretty well, the winner was now obvious, and it’s Spiderman 11/3 in 9m….