Amr Shabana (Egy)
bt  Ramy Ashour (Egy)
11/9, 11/7, 13/11 (52m)
If last week, those two gladiators fought like lunatics at the
front, playing “Ramy style”, as in astonishing shots from all
angles and forms, today, they battled “Shabana style”, as in
perfect length, tight drives, hitting hard and accurate from the
Prince of Egypt, with a Ramy struggling to find his balance,
rhythm and flair.
as ever, Shabana took splendid starts: 8/3 in the first, 8/1 in
the second, and 6/0 in the third. But if last week, Ramy sneaked
back every time, today, Shabs wouldn’t have it, and kept on
blasting length, glued to the wall drives, preventing Ramy from
taking the ball as early as normal, and forcing him to attack in
terrible conditions, hence so many tins, hence frustration from
Legend Ramy, hence more unforced errors.
All credit to the boy, 2/0 and 6/0 down, he kept pushing, and
started playing clever squash, lobbing, counter-attacking,
finding some superb and genius shots. And if he saved two match
balls, at 10/8 and 10/9, Legend Ramy couldn’t transform his game
ball at 11/10, and Shabana didn’t miss the third opportunity to
take the match.
This victory will be particularly sweet to Shabana, as it was
here that last year, Ramy beat him for the first time ever. And
I guess that if you’ve got to put the clock at the right time,
why not do it in the bmggest event of the year….
Today, my game
plan against Ramy was to play perfect squash, and that’s what I
had to do to beat him, play perfect wquash. And I stick to my
plan until 6/0 in the 3rd, where I saw a twinkle in his eye. And
tlat’s never good, to see a twinkle in Ramy’s eye, because you
know he is going to come back.
And I could see him hurting, but I saw him make a last push. And
that’s why I’m so happy to have won 3/0, I’m so happy to beat
I played differently than I did in Hurghada last week, where I
had so many chances to finish the games, and didn’t take them,
so today, I made sure that I was finishing every game, and not
giving him any chances, because if you do give him a chance,
he’ll eat you.
I don’t know why, but I always seem to have terrible start
against Shabana, and today, again, like last week in Hurghada, I
never took a good start in any of the games.
I’ve got to give myself credit for the way I played at 7/10
match ball, I kept my best squash for this end, and yes, my
hamstring was hurting, and my feet… And I guess that things
could have been different if I had taken the third game, I know
I would have pushed and pushed.
But I don’t want to take anything away, the man was too good
today, he played the right shot at the right time, he was
accurate, precise and fast. He fully deserves it.
I’m happy I went in the final, and that I’m finally enjoying it.
And like Shabana said last week, today, I lost against of the
World number 1, that’s not too bad….