Tue 2nd, The FINAL
Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt  Amr Shabana (Egy)
9/11, 11/4, 13/11, 11/1 (45m)
This match won’t stay in my mind as one of the best ever
encounter between those two magical champions. For two reasons.
One, because the end was a bit one-sided. And two. Because I
feel that Shabana played the wrong tactic. As in, trying to
match Ramy at the front, in his garden. And at Ramy’s game,
nobody is better than Ramy himself.
But then again, was Shabana fit enough to beat Ramy today?
Meaning, was he fit enough to make the rallies gruelling and
forcing him to the back again, and again, and again?
Only Mighty Shabana could say, I suspect not but what do I
a fast and furious first game, with Shabana attacking from the
word go, and Ramy forced to put on his Lord of the Retrieving
armour, again and again. Five unforced errors from Shabana, and
four from Ramy. Not much between the players up to 6/6, with the
Elder leading 9/6, which we know through experience means squat
And of course, 9/9 we reached. Two gigantic ridiculous attacking
rallies from Shabana, both mixing quality, pace and shot angles
at will, Ramy picking up the “unpickupable”, but going Shabs
way, 11/9 in 12m.
In the second, Shabana goes too short far too early, and becomes
a bit of a sitting duck, and although he read and anticipated
beautifully Ramy’s shots, at 4/4 a big drop on the energy level
for Shabs. Right after giving back a let to his opponent for a
ball that was called down – I never saw the shot, hence don't
know if it was up or down, went soooo fast – Shabana never
scores another point in that game, obviously letting that one
The third is furious, yet again, and crucial. Nothing between
the players, again with Shabana on the attack, and Ramy on the
counter attack/defence. At 5/5, a rally that seems would never
end, both players throwing whatever they have at each other,
with Shabana finally hitting the ball out.
for me, that’s the moment where it all clicked in Shabana’s
mind. I saw his look to Ramy, as if he saw his opponent under a
different light, as in saying “what do I have to do to shake
that boy off? I don’t think I can today”…
Still, Mighty Shabana got back in there. 6/6. 7/7. 8/8. The
rallies are getting faster and more ridiculous by the shot.
10/8, two game balls to Ramy, saved. Shabana is giving it a last
push, putting in all that he probably doesn’t have anymore.
And he gets his game ball, at 11/10. And that freaking ball goes
out of court again. And the same for the next one. Feeling that
he may not recover from those two errors, Shabana shouts in
frustration. Another unforced error, and Ramy gets the next game
ball, to take it 13/11.
In the wings, Shabana’s face is drained. The heat. The pace that
Ramy imposed. The disillusion of thinking I could have been 2/1,
and now, I have to still score two games against that ET. All
the images, thoughts are boiling in Shabana’s head as he steps
Ramy, as sensitive as he is, picks up on it, feels it, and for
the first time in the match, is attacking, attacking, attacking,
not giving Shabs a chance to breathe, settle or adjust a shot.
Shabs is on the backfoot, unable to make any impression on the
And in 2 minutes and 4 seconds, it’s all over. Shabana has
scored 1 point….
En Bref #6
the third, I let go mentally just a bit, and Ramy ate me alive.
"This guy is unbelievable, you let go for a second, and he eats
"We can play better, but tonight was all about attacking. We had the
same game plan, tight squash, taking opportunities, and not
scared to do so.
"But today, he was the better player."