Diego Elias in action at last year's Tournament of Champions
TOC Qualifying Update: Elias Sets Up Main Draw Match With Matthew After Beating Lobban
Peruvian World No.41 Diego Elias secured a place in the main draw of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions for the second successive year after downing Scotland’s Greg Lobban in a marathon 84-minute matchup in the final qualifying round of the PSA World Series event – ensuring he will face 2012 winner Nick Matthew in the first round.
The 19-year-old produced a mature, focused display, devoid of any errors which enabled him to rack up a succession of points and take the first game. An impressive fightback from Lobban saw him overturn Elias’s slender lead to go 2-1 up but the current World Junior Champion upped his game with some punishing drives and inch-perfect drops eventually allowing him to rise to an 11-8, 8-11, 4-11, 11-4, 11-3 triumph.
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Elias will test his mettle against three-time World Champion Matthew for a place in the second round in a clash that sees youth meet experience with Elias, the youngest player left in the event, looking to cause a stir against ‘The Wolf’ who, at 35 years of age, is one of the most experienced players on the PSA World Tour.
Elsewhere, France’s Lucas Serme came up with a performance that belied his World Ranking with a fine straight games victory over Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar. World No.42 Serme was efficient throughout the fixture and is rewarded with a tough main draw encounter with World No.4 Omar Mosaad who has been in scintillating form in recent months.
Ramit Tandon, the 23-year-old from Chennai who shocked Ali Farag in the previous round, will make his maiden PSA World Series appearance after he beat training partner Clinton Leeuw. Tandon battled nerves to wrap up the victory in four and will make his Tournament of Champions main draw debut against reigning World Champion Gregory Gaultier.
“Practice is practice and this match especially was different,” said Tandon on his match with Leeuw,
“Both of us really wanted to get to the glass court in Grand Central Terminal and, because of that, I was a little nervous to be honest.”
There were also victories for Pakistani duo Nasir Iqbal and Farhan Zaman who scored superb wins over Alan Clyne and Declan James, respectively, to ensure that there will be two Pakistani players competing in the main draw of the Tournament of Champions for the first time since 1996. Iqbal has a first round tie with Ryan Cuskelly to look forward to, while Zaman faces Hong Kong’s Max Lee.
Results – Final Qualifying Round: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions 2016
Farhan Zaman (PAK) bt  Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-2, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4
 Nasir Iqbal (PAK) bt  Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt  Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9
 Lucas Serme (FRA) bt  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 15-13
[L] Ramit Tandon (IND) bt [L] Clinton Leeuw (RSA) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5
 Diego Elias (PER) bt  Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 11-8, 8-11, 4-11, 11-4, 11-3
 Raphael Kandra (GER) bt  Alfredo Avila (MEX) 3-1: 10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5
 Adrian Waller (ENG) bt  Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-4
Main Draw – First Round
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
[Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK)
Leo Au (HKG) v [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Q] Ramit Tandon (IND)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA)
James Willstrop (ENG) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Tom Richards (ENG) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Q] Nasir Iqbal (PAK)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
[Q] Diego Elias (PER) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
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