The Queen's Club, London
 
14th to 17th
March 2009

Daily reports from the Super Series Finals 2007 in Manchester ...

 

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Sunday 12th, FINALS DAY:        

THE FINAL:

 Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
     12/10, 11/8, 4/11, 11/4 (62m)
 

7th/8th: James Willstrop bt Thierry Lincou
               10/12, 11/5, 11/6 (35m)
5th/6th: Nick Matthew bt David Palmer
               12/10, 11/8 (36m)
3rd/4th: Karim Darwish bt Amr Shabana
               11/4, 8/11, 11/4 (29m)

British Grand Prix Final:         full Grand Prix details
             Alister Walker bt Andy Whipp
                11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (32m)

 Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
     12/10, 11/8, 4/11, 11/4 (62m)

Ramy reigns supreme
in Sportcity
Steve Cubbins reports

Considering how Ramy Ashour has dominated the PSA Super Series events held this year, it's fitting that he should walk away with the Super Series Finals title here in Manchester.

True, qualification for this event was a reward for performances in the 2006 Super Series events, and it already seems a cast-iron certainty that Ramy will be back for next year's finals.

But to the match.

It the packed crowd were expecting fireworks from the start, they were to be disappointed, but not for long. After two quick opening points for Ramy both players, appearing in their first Finals, let alone their first Final, settled into patient rallies, breaking out only when the opportunity arose.

Greg worked his way back in to lead 6/4 and 9/7 but Ramy, helped by a couple of errors from Greg, took the next five points and the lead. Not through brilliance, just steady squash.

The pattern continued in the second, and again Greg held the early upper hand, this time leading 5/3 and 7/4, but once Ramy got the better of an exchange of drops to level at 7-all he didn't look back, finishing off the game with some trademark flicked volleys and two shots glued to the wall.

Greg didn't budge from his gameplan though, got the better of some patient rallies again in the third, and as his score rose from 3-all to 8-3 here were signs of Ramy getting frustrated that his attempted winners weren't working.

Greg was moving smoothly, retrieving superbly, and with the aid of a few tins from the Egyptian he closed the gap.

That spell didn't seem to affect Ramy though, and from the outset of the fourth he went to work as usual, this time applying a little more venom to his shots, and it started to pay off. Greg was doing nothing wrong, just couldn't do anything against the shots coming his way, and quickly found himself 6/1 down.

There was no coming back from there, and soon Ramy had become the eighth Super Series Finals Champion in 14 outings of the event, and the first debut winner since Del Harris in 1996.

He has a long way to go to equal Jansher Khan's four titles, but at this point in time not many would bet against him doing just that ...

"I never expected to win this, I didn't really expect to be here when I had an injury a few days ago, so to win it, playing four matches in a row against the top guys in the world, is just amazing.

"Greg and I haven't played much, but it's always been tough. We both pushed really hard today and it was a really tight game. I was just trying to keep the ball deep and wait for the opportunity to attack. We were both doing that, and it was the first one to put the ball loose who lost the point.

"I had a little problem with my ankle in the third, so I tried to change my game, to slow the ball down. I knew that if that didn't go well I could speed it up again in the fourth.

"I'm really glad I did well and won today. It feels good."

"It's pleasing to be in the final, especially for my first time in the event, but I just wanted to win!

"I had a tough match yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, so I knew I had to start well and I really had to win the first. I lost my concentration a little after that, and towards the end I started feeling the effect of those games.

"It's hard to play four in a row against the top players, especially since I had an injury for a while, but these are the sort of games I need in the build up to the big tournaments coming up.

"I enjoyed it all though, I love playing in front of this crowd and I'm looking forward to coming back to try to win the British Open I won the British Junior Open, but that's not the same "

Alister Walker bt Andy Whipp
                11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (32m)

Ali opts for the English

Alister Walker recorded his fourth consecutive straight-games win in the Grand Prix final in an ideal appetizer for the Super Series Final itself. Andy competed well in the first, but was unable after that to mount a serious challenge to the world number 23.

Alister opted to take the wild card entry for the English Grand Prix in Sheffield, since that is a 16-man draw for which he would have to qualify, but he will probably just squeeze into the 32-man main draw of the Dunlop British Open as of right.

THe decision delighted Andy, who had earlier in the week described the opportunity to play in the British Open in front of his home crowd as 'awesome'.

Full Grand Prix details
 



7th/8th: James Willstrop bt Thierry Lincou
               10/12, 11/5, 11/6 (35m)



"I was pretty annoyed and despondent last night to lose a match that could have taken me to the final and find myself in the seventh/eighth playoff.

"Still it's a big tournament and everyone's come to watch so you just have to get yourself back up for it, and I thought I played pretty well today.

"It's been a hard week. Although we haven't had much match practice this early in the season, it's not as though we're in the middle of a heavy series of tournaments either, so we should be able to manage. We've got a couple of weeks off then it's the English Grand Prix in Birmingham and after that it all kicks off and it's pretty non-stop until December.

"At best we'll get two or three weeks at home during that period so you need to have done the training before all that starts off and this event is great for getting us ready."

"It's been pretty hard this week, I couldn't keep my head up, couldn't keep my focus.

"Squash-wise I didn't peak for this tournament, I just had my second daughter a few days ago, I wouldn't have been here if she had arrived on time, so I was mentally flat coming here.

"I'm last and not very proud if it, but I'll be back for the next tournament, better prepared and ready for it."



5th/6th: Nick Matthew bt David Palmer
               12/10, 11/8 (36m)

"It's frustrating to finish so low down but probably deep down I knew I wasn't really going to win this one. Also I never seem to do very well here in Manchester, I'll have to work out how to get over that one. If you look at my track record I tend to do well at the end of the season after I've got a few hard tournaments under my belt.

"I'm training well with Shaun, but there isn't really anyone to play with where I am so I'm looking to get some more tournaments in, I'm playing the Dutch, Birmingham, and of course the British.

"So don't write me off yet, I think I've got more British and World titles in me and I'm trying to peak for those two."

"I could have made the 3rd/4th match if I'd got a couple more points last night, but I've been pleased with my results this week, especially my consistency which is what I've been working on.

"I feel pretty good after four hard matches in a row so I'm delighted with that.

"Consistency is the key if I want to get up into the top four, although you have to accept you can't peak every week.

"I've picked out a few tournaments to go for, and obviously the British is a big target, I've geared a lot of my work towards that."

3rd/4th: Karim Darwish bt Amr Shabana
               11/4, 8/11, 11/4 (29m)

"I struggled a bit last season and wanted to do better this time, so I'm pleased with how I've started here, I've had some hard matches and played well.

"Amr and I train every day and we know each other's games so well that it's always difficult when we have to play each other. I think he was a bit tired today from his hard matches earlier in the week."

"I haven't played my best in Manchester until now so I'm going to have to try and change this in time for the British, even though it takes place during Ramadan.

"Considering we haven't had many matches yet this sesaon I'm pleased with how I've played this week. I fizzled out in my match with Greg, I didn't expect that, but now my body and my mind need a rest."

Saturday 11th, Day THREE:        
It's Greg v Ramy in the final

Another long day at at Sportcity, and at the end it's debutants Gregory Gaultier and Ramy Ashour in the Super Serie Final, while Alister Walker and Andy Whipp claimed the wildcards on offer in the British Grand Prix.

But that's for tomorrow, today was all about making those finals ...

Super Series Finals:               full results

      Gregory Gaultier bt Nick Matthew     AT
               8/11, 11/2, 7/11, 11/4, 12/10 (87m)
      Karim Darwish bt David Palmer         MC
               10/12, 11/9, 11/6, 11/3 (69m)
      Amr Shabana bt James Willstrop      AT
               11/7, 11/4, 3/11, 11/4 (53m)
      Ramy Ashour bt Thierry Lincou          MC
               11/7, 11/4, 11/5 (28m)

Head to Head records        

ATCO (AT) GROUP:
1: Gaultier, 2: Shabana, 3: Matthew, 4: Willstrop

MANCHESTER (MC) GROUP:
1: Ashour, 2: Darwish, 3: Palmer, 4: Lincou
 


GALLERY

British Grand
Prix reports

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