Australian world No. 19 Ryan Cuskelly recorded the biggest result of his career Monday night in Detroit, dethroning $70,000 Motor City Open champion Ali Farag to win his largest career PSA Tour title at Birmingham Athletic Club.
In a tournament full of upsets including ElShorbagy brothers Mohamed and Marwan eliminated by Ceasar Salazar & Diego Elias respectively, the final continued the trend as Farag, world No. 7, fell in four games.
The Greenwich, Connecticut-based Cuskelly marked his ninth Motor City Open appearance, but before this weekend, never made it past the quarterfinals.
“I’m pretty excited to win my biggest title in my favorite tournament on the tour,” Cuskelly said. “I always told the guys here I’d win it someday, but I didn’t expect it to be this year.”
After losing the first game and earning a 2-1 lead, Cuskelly came back from a 9-4 deficit in the fourth game to defeat the Egyptian Harvard graduate.
“He stepped it up,” Farag said. “I couldn’t find the right balance between being aggressive and playing smart. Every time I would try to be aggressive, I would hit the tin. He put too much pressure on me.”
“I was up 4-2 and I thought about the finish line, which is silly,” Cuskelly said. “Next minute I was down 9-4 and I just tried to get back to playing normal squash for the fifth game.”
Cuskelly now holds a 2-1 career lead against Farag, whom he most recently defeated in the 2015 Charlottesville open.
“It’s unbelievable,” Cuskelly said. “I lost in qualification for years, but I did a lot of hard training in December and it paid off.”
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