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Ali Farag celebrates after defeating Diego Elias in the Qatar Classic quarter-finals

Qatar Classic QFs: Farag Fights Past Elias In High-Class Tussle

World No.1 Ali Farag is through to the semi-finals of the Qatar Classic, as he continues his attempt to defend the title he won on this very court two years ago. He defeated Peru’s World No.7 Diego Elias to make it into the last four in Doha.

The pair had met 13 times on the PSA World Tour before, with Farag holding the healthy 11-2 advantage over his South American counterpart. They faced off in their final group game at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in Cairo at the end of September, with the Egyptian taking the win on home soil.

The first two games were rapid, with the score level at 1-1 after just 20 minutes. Farag took the lead after dispatching the first game 11-6, before Elias turned the tables in the second to tie the match. The new World No.1 took the third by the same scoreline to re-establish his lead, thanks to winning the last seven points of the game to come from 6-4 down to take it 11-6.

As much as Farag through at the Peruvian, he could not close the match out in the fourth. Elias was able to dig deep and fight to send the match into a deciding game. The Egyptian saved two game balls, but the World No.7 was able to take the third to win it 11-9 and make the match level at two games apiece.

The final game of this contest was littered with refereeing decisions, as both players started to tire. Farag held a big advantage early on but the Peruvian fought back. However, a controversial decision game Farag a 9-6 lead, and he was able to take the momentum to secure a victory, booking his place in the semi-finals.

The Egyptian will now face compatriot Tarek Momen in the last four, with the pair meeting for the 13th time on the PSA World Tour. Farag is the defending Qatar Classic champion, while Momen won the World Championship on this court twelve months ago. The winner will advance to another final in Doha.

“Diego and I have played over ten times now, a lot more, and it is always close. I have been getting the wins, luckily, but you see today how close it is. Somehow, every time I have been coming out as the winner,” Farag admitted.

“What a match that was today. He was very subtle and smart with his tactics. The first, I started well and then in the second, he started slowing things down and twisting me a lot. I wasn’t happy with myself, in not dealing with it quick enough. It took me a game and a half to adjust accordingly.

“I thought I had him in the third and the fourth but that is how resilient he is, you know. He found a way back in it and then in the fifth, tactics went out of the window. You just have to grind it out and luckily I did that today.

“Tarek [Momen], his recent consistency speaks for itself. I don’t have to praise him much because the way he has been playing has been amazing. I don’t know how you can play so many balls to the front and still be so consistent. He is a very unique player and very talented. He is a good friend and also very respectful. I am looking forward to a clean match, but not looking forward to how much running I will have to do tomorrow!”

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (69m)

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