Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez emerged victorious in a battle of training partners as he got the better of Stephen Coppinger, the World No.18 from South Africa, in the final of the Suburban Collection Motor City Open 2015, PSA International 70 tournament in Detroit, to become the tournament’s first ever South American winner.
The duo both train under the guidance of former Australian World Champion David Palmer at his base in Orlando, but it was high-flying Rodriguez who got the better of his powerful opponent, coming from a game down to seal the championship after a gruelling 112-minute encounter that brought to close a dramatic week of action in Bloomfield Hills.
The victory sees Rodriguez claim his first ever PSA International 70 title, and the biggest tournament title of his career so far, to end what has been the most successful month of his career to date, having already broken into the top ten for the first time and reached his first ever PSA World Series semi-finals at the recent J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
“This is like a dream come true,” said Rodriguez. “This is one of my favourite International 70 tournaments not only for the prizes, but for the squash community here.
“I’m really happy because this is one of my best months in my entire career. It’s something I’ll never forget and I worked so hard to win this tournament.
“I’m making history now not only in Colombia but in South America by being the first Latin American to reach the Top 10. Winning this game and seeing my name on that wall with all those champions and former No.1s – I’m speechless.
“It’s a dream I always wanted to achieve as a kid and it’s happening right now.”
The 29-year-old from Bogota got off to a slow start in the final as Coppinger, who had ousted three higher seeds en-route to the final, dictated the pace and moved into an early one game lead and he continued in the ascendency during the second, but Rodriguez managed to level the scores with a late flurry to avoid going two games down.
The tide continued to change during the next two games as neither man could hold on to the momentum until Rodruez burst out of the blocks in the deciding game, opening up a 7-1 lead before showing his composure to see out the match 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 and collect his share of $70,000 and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust II watch courtesy of Greenstone’s Jewelers.
“I think that at 5-3 down in fourth game I handled it well,” he said.
“I was patient in that game and he made a lot of mistakes. I was pushing and retrieving all of the balls, and had some excellent winners in the fourth.
“In the fifth, I had to start pushing again and building that lead. Once I was up 7-2 I didn’t want to leave it like that. I had to push again and push again because Coppinger is playing very well right now and he will be Top 10 soon.”
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (112m)