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Diego Elias in action against Declan James

CIB Black Ball Open RD1: Elias Taken to Five by James

Peru’s World No.6 Diego Elias prevailed 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3 against England’s Declan James to book his place in the second round of the CIB Black Ball Open.

Too many unforced errors in the first cost World No.24 James a valuable lead as Elias was able to showcase his talent and test the fitness of the Englishman to take a one game lead.

A stronger showing from James came in the second as he straightened up his play and found his length well to edge ahead at 9-7 on the scoreboard. A spectacular dive added to his performance as he was able to push ahead at 9-9 to draw level, but that game looked to have taken a lot out of James as Elias comfortably retook the lead in the third.

Sloppy play from the Peruvian in the fourth saw his advantage taken away from him once again as a string of unforced errors saw a gutsy James once again kick on from 9-9 to equalise.

It was all about Elias in the fifth, however, as the physicality of the match looked to have taken its toll on James who was unable to compete with the World No.6 with Elias closing out in 65 minutes to set up an exciting second round battle with training partner and former World No.1, Gregory Gaultier.

“It wasn’t my best squash, but I think it’s going to help me for the rest of the week,” said Elias.

“It’s hard with not much practice, it was my first match, out of breath after the second game. I’m happy to win and I think I’m going to be better and ready for the next match.

“You learn so much from Greg [Gaultier]. He’s one of the best players ever, so I feel really look to spend time with him. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. He’s been helping me a lot of with my discipline – staying healthy, training hard and be ready for every tournament. We have been playing for the last three months, so it’s unlucky we have to play in the next round.”

James added: “I pushed maybe a bit too hard in the first game and a half, and I got tired in the third.

“Then I got my second wind back, and it was a good game. But the fifth, a couple of hard rallies, and I was done. That's the difference with those top 10 guys, they are used to those kind of rallies day in day out. That makes the difference

“I thought I could have made it difficult for him, but too much work produced at the start, and I need more matches at that level to get in shape.”

[5] Diego Elias (PER) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-2: 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3 (65m)

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