Ramy Ashour (Egy)
3-1  Nick Matthew (Eng) 11/7, 11/8, 5/11, 11/7 (65m)
Maestro Ashour Masters Matthew
Alan Thatcher reports, photos by Dan Bogosh
maestro Ramy Ashour mastered the tenacious challenge of
England's Nick Matthew to win the Davenport North American Open.
Ashour, appearing in his fifth consecutive final of the
tournament, continued his long unbeaten run to delight the
full-house crowd of almost 1,000 spectators at the Westwood Club
in Richmond, Virginia.
Matthew, who had beaten Ashour in the 2010 and 2011 finals,
produced a spirited recovery to win the third game, but Ashour
turned on the style again to clinch a second Richmond title. His
previous win in Virginia had also been against Matthew in 2009.
11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 victory was achieved after 65 minutes of
high-quality squash from both players.
After an even start to the first game, Matthew hit back from 5-3
down to lead 7-6, but Ashour's electrifying array of winning
shots produced four points in a row to take the game. He opened
up a 7-3 lead in the second, and held game ball at 10-6 before
weathering a late revival from the 32-year-old number two seed
Matthew made a powerful start to the third and established a 6-1
lead with some stunning winners of his own. His powers of
retrieval are simply phenomenal and both players covered every
inch of the court as the crowd roared their appreciation.
winning the third game with a degree of comfort, Matthew led 3-1
at the start of the fourth before Ashour elevated the quality of
his play to new heights. He moved ahead to 7-4 and, at 9-5, when
Matthew was awarded a penalty stroke following a video review,
the Egyptian responded with a dazzling kill shot, slamming his
service return into the nick to move to match ball.
After completing his 31st consecutive victory in his ninth PSA
final in a row and collecting a sixth major title in a row, he
kissed the floor of the Westwood Club and thanked his opponent
for a tremendous match.
said: "Nick is a great player and we seem to feed off
this rivalry. We have met in so many finals and, whoever
wins, the other one gets back to work to raise their game to
meet the challenge.
"We are both inspiring each other to work even harder. He
plays great squash in all four corners of the court and you
have to be playing your best squash to beat him.
"Once again the crowd here in Richmond was fantastic, the
tournament is organised brilliantly, and I think the whole
show this week proves that squash should be in the Olympics.
"All the players love coming to Richmond and the Jefferson
Hotel is the best we stay at anywhere in the world so we all
look forward to coming back next year."
Matthew added: "I have played well all week and didn't
really do anything wrong tonight in the final but it shows
how well Ramy is playing that you can be playing your best
and he can still win these big matches.
"He is on a long winning run at the moment and playing some