TODAY at the Kuwait PSA Cup
Framboise reports, Steve clicks away
Thu 14th, FINAL:
 Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-1  James Willstrop (Eng)
6/11, 11/8, 11/3, 11/3 (58m)
Ramy is the Kuwait PSA Cup
Ashour justified his top billing in the final of the Kuwait Cup
with a sensational performance to defeat reigning champion James
Willstrop in four games in front of a packed, noisy, and mainly
Egyptian supporting crowd at the Qadsiya Club in Kuwait City.
It was Englishman who started the match better though, soaking
up the world number one's attacks as he took the first game with
some comfort, and continued to impress for the first half of the
Slowly but surely though the pressure was building, and Ashour's
pace around court and renowned shotmaking ability was taking its
toll, as he pulled clear to level the match.
pattern continued in the next two games in which Willstrop could
only muster six points - by the end Ashour was revelling in it,
and was just too fast, too accurate, and had too many shots.
As he hit the winning shot deep to the back of the court he
turned to acknowledge the fans who had supported him all the
Ramy thus collects his third Kuwait Open/Cup title, wins his
seventh major PSA event in a row, including all three World
Series events this year, and extends his unbeaten run to 36
matches, well ahead of anyone other than Jansher and the
watching Jahangir Khan - although he has a way to go to beat
that particular record ...
Read on for the full report ...
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JAMES CONTAINED RAMY, BUT THEN…
I feel that I’ve written this report before, it was in HK. For
the first game and a half, James controlled contained Ramy
beautifully, and I thought – exactly like I did back in HK –
that was the day Ramy would bow to Gentleman James. Again, it
wasn’t to be.
Englishman played exactly in the same mood/fashion as he did
yesterday against Mohamed, and dominated/frustrated Ramy exactly
the same way, controlling rallies from the middle, despatching
superb accurate drop shots, volley drop shots.
Ramy couldn’t do much but endure James’ domination, making 5
tins in the process and from 6/6, not scoring another point.
Things didn’t look good at all for Ramy, who was disturbed by
the crowd – his supporters were rather NOISY – the people
passing, himself, and even poor Cubs got a notice as he was too
close to the front wall!
game, it still didn’t look good at all for the Egyptian, who was
still in the rallies, but not controlling much and retrieving a
heck of a lot, James 4/1. And then suddenly, Ramy was able to
get in front of James, got back to 4/4, 5/5, James taking again
a two point lead at 7/5.
And that's when I feel he hit the wall. Energy suddenly dropped,
I could see it in his face, body, and the time he took to serve
and receive the next serve at 6/7. Exactly the opposite of the
first game, it was Ramy who soared to game ball, 10/7.
And that’s where James showed how tired he was. He actually left
the court, thinking he lost the game, bless him. We all looked
at him, the racquet – thinking maybe a string, but no! He looked
at the ref who said, “it’s only 10, game ball”.
Ah, ok, James went back in there, to take the next point on a
lovely feathery volley drop, but just couldn’t do anything
against the next winner coming from Ramy’s racquet, 11/8.
two games, not going to dwell on them, really, 11/3, 11/3. James
just unable to react, fighting till the last shot. But Ramy
never was to be stopped.
Interesting to note that once again, the time of the games
decrease at the match unfold, 15, 13, 11, 9.
Thirty-six wins for Ramy, seven tournaments. The boy was happy
and the crowd swallowed him – I couldn't get anywhere near him…
nice to lose two games 11/3, 11/3…
I feel… what’s the word… outmanoeuvred.
It’s been a couple of matches now where I had some strange
physical performance, and I’ve got to look into that.
The lack of accuracy I had, all credit to him because he put me
under so much pressure, you feel it in the legs..
!He got me on the run of several points, and also I was
recovering well, you sort of lose the physical edge. Hard
rallies, but then again, I have only myself to blame, because I
was not accurate enough.
I gave it all I could, but it’s disconcerting. I try to lose
well but I want to win, I desperately wants to win, and he
managed to get me in that position, no one else can do that I
think, he makes the court double size as it is, just because the
quality of his shots is such that I lose my accuracy, because of
the pressure he puts me under.
the first, James came out firing, and the crowd was very
numerous, and very loud, I got very surprised, because I didn’t
expect it at all – as it had been a bit quiet on that side up to
then. It too me a bit to start and take it in a positive way.
Now I think about it, I think I was too edgy, everything was
bothering me, I felt that I was not in control, James was
playing so well, so I was aware of each and every detail, even
the photographers, I was aware of their position, even poor
Steve I spoke to… Because I didn’t focus enough, I was just too
James played very well in the first two games, he was on top of
me on every shot, even his length, I was ready/happy to break my
racquet to try and return them, but he was just too good. I kept
thinking I hope he is not going to keep this up for the whole
match, and I’m simply happy I kept hanging in there.
will never say it enough, he is one of the very few respectful
players out there, showing great sportsmanship on and off court.
He is great for the game, and a fantastic ambassador for squash.
Before the match, sometimes, you have a black out, and you just
don’t know why you are playing, and why you are doing what you
are doing, and it’s hard to get on court. So you keep try and
flushing the bad thoughts away, trying to bring in the positive,
and I kept on having the flash back, reviewing the reasons why I
was playing squash, and 100%
I realised that I do it for my parents, because I owe them
everything, they are the ones that give me strength, and when I
win, it makes them so happy. Plus, I know I can be difficult
sometimes, I really give them a very hard time to say the least,
and they are always standing by me. So this one is for them.
This has been a fantastic tournament, especially the finals day
when the place was filled and with a great atmosphere. I hope
isA that next time in November, people will come and support us
from the first day, they really make a lot of difference for us.
So please guys, please come and see us!
Of course, I want to thank the people that support me, and in
two months, they will have that big meeting to decide if Squash
is accepted in the Olympics. I just hope with all my heart that
squash then be where it belongs.