Matthew Powers Past Former
Ashour Rams into the Finals
Nick Matthew (ENG, #1) bt Jonathon Power (CAN)
8-11, 11-4, 1-0
Ramy Ashour (EGY, #2) bt Peter Nicol (ENG)
11-9, 11-10 (sudden
death for match), (23m)
more like a rock concert when Jonathon Power and
Nick Matthew entered Symphony Hall. The Black Eyed Peas
crooned "tonight’s going to be a good night" and the storied
players did not disappoint.
The pre-game interview with emcee Chef Ming Tsai had
Matthew exhibiting a small case of jitters. "I'm a little
nervous," he shared, going on to say he feared Power's
claims of not being as strong a player as he once was might
have been a bit of reverse psychology.
Power quipped, "It's not reverse psychology, it's just
Thirty-eight-year-old Jonathon Power surged to a victory in
game one of the Showdown@Symphony II semifinals, but there
is a reason Nick Matthew is the world's best. It might have
only been a 20-minute match, but it was a good 20 minutes.
Neck-and-neck for most of the game, a shot to the tin by
Matthew let Power creep up 5-3. A few well-placed strokes
and a painful down shot by Power gave Matthew the points to
bring it within one.
With Matthew down 5-7, a no let from the ref gave the crowd
a glimpse of vintage, verbal Power. His arguments were
sound, but, yet again, didn't change the call. An especially
pretty drop shot put Power up 8-6, and though Matthew
grabbed two more points, Power took the first game 11-8.
Seven unanswered points in game two let Matthew win easily
By virtue of winning the first game, Power had the choice:
best of three or sudden death for the tie-breaker. And never
one to shy away from a challenge, Power went with sudden
death. A 14-tap volley ended with a let in Power's favor.
This was followed by another intense volley, but not
surprisingly, Matthew won the point taking the match 2-1 and
advancing to the finals.
The second semifinal match pitted world no. 2 Ramy Ashour
(EGY) against veteran player Peter Nicol (ENG). Nicol
shot up 2-love in the first game before Ashour launched an
ace that took the crowd's breath away.
These were the opening salvos that defined two distinct
playing styles. Ashour played his usual aggressive, athletic
and acrobatic game. Nicol offered his signature reflective,
resourceful and resilient gambit. To say the least, it made
for good squash. Nicol was up 7-4, but six unanswered points
advanced the tireless Eqyptian to 10-7.
Ashour offered up two more points, but ultimately took the
first game, 11-9.
The second game was fast-paced and after grabbing a quick
three points and bringing the score to 5-2, Nicol joked,
"You want me all the way over there?" when the ref noted it
was his serve, “from the left.” Given his hint at fatigue,
you would think he was done, but the durable Nicol moved the
score to 10-5, before Ashour rammed home six quick points to
take the game and match 11-10 in 23 minutes.
Post match, Ashour declared of Nicol, "He still plays very