• El Gouna International Squash Open • 02-10 April 2015 • El Gouna, Egypt •


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TODAY at the El Gouna International 2015

09-Apr, SEMIS :

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-1 [3] Nick Matthew (Eng)
                      6/11, 6/3 rtd (33m)

[4] Ramy Ashour (
Egy) 3-1 [2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
                      7/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/9  (64m)

It's an All-Egyptian Final - again !

The crowd at Abu Tig Marina will be treated to an all-Egyptian final tomorrow after Mohamed Elshorbagy and Ramy Ashour triumphed in contrasting fashions in tonight's semi-finals.

Top seed Shorbagy lost the first game and was leading in the second when Nick Matthew pulled up with an injury and was unable to continue.

Ashour, the defending champion, dropped the first game to Gregory Gaultier but then took the next three, all 11/9, to delight the crowd and leave the Frenchman frustrated.

The final will be a repeat of the 2014 climax here ...

En Bref #2


Gosh it looked like we were going for a long, intense battle, a classic for sure, as Mohamed would say, a Mohamed that looked very nervous in the 14m first game, making far too many errors, 4, all credit to a patient and relentless Nick, with no pressure on him, nothing to lose really…

The second was as gruelling as the first one, very long patient rallies, Mohamed playing at Nick’s mid pace, each rally was so intense. We just came from 3/4 to 5/3 Mohamed, when the Egyptian played a crosscourt from the front of the court.

Nick just didn’t move. He was just standing there, right on the T, as in paralysed. We didn’t know what was going on. Did Mohamed hit him with the ball? Racquet? What?

Slowing sinking to the floor, Nick looked like he was having a cramp. Carried out, he went into his corner, while Mohamed was asking Hossam, the Egyptian physio to come to the English rescue.

As it was a self inflicted injury, Nick had three minutes. Hossam bandaged the ankle, then taped it. Nick put his socks and shoes back on, ref announced that Nick was about to get back on court, but as he stood up, Nick just couldn’t put any weight at all on the ankle.

He hopped on court, very emotional, tears in his eyes, and had to shake Mohamed’s hand. He hopped back to his chair where Mohamed stood beside him for a while and tried to console him, and was then carried away to the gym next door where the players get changed …

It was shaping how to be one of our huge battles, and the atmosphere was amazing too. The second game we were both up for it, and I just thought that he would be ok after a few minutes, I send him my physio. But when he came back to shake my hand, he had tears in his eyes, and that really got to me.

I really really hope that he will be recovering soon, and that he will be fit for the British Open, the game of squash needs him to be here.

I have so much respect for him, we always have huge matches, we have a similar personality, similar style of play.

So happy to be in the final, but not that way, when you are a competitor you want to earn your way into a final…

Basically I have had a bit of an ankle niggle since Canary Wharf which I've been managing with physio & it has been treating me very well so far this week so to pull up with injury was as much of a surprise to me as anyone.

I was a bit stiff in each morning when I first woke up but fine when the blood started moving. Then out of the blue I got  or four sharp pains the rally before I stopped and couldn't put my weight on it any more.

Have to get home & see my team and get to the bottom of it and hope to be fit well before the British Open.

Everyone in Egypt has been so supportive & respectful all week and I'm sorry the great fans didn't get to see my match completed. Fingers crossed for an injury free great final between two home warriors tomorrow.

Obviously disappointed to lose, there was a nice momentum in the third, but at 8/8, my ball was called not up, but it was a good shot, that really killed the rhythm for me.

I’m going to go home now and work hard for the British Open, I really want to win it again. For the past months, I have been struggling with that Achilles injury, and we couldn’t find what was wrong, so I was not able to train properly. But now, I have a few weeks before Hull, and I’m going to train as much as I can.

I arrived having done a lot of physical stuff but not enough racquet work, the fitness was paramount for my recovery. But now, I have lost a bit of the racquet skills, and that was I feel I missed tonight. Plus each time I was lifting the ball, I wasn’t able to control it as I wanted because of the heavy wind, it seemed to get out of court.

I feel that tonight, I was not aggressive enough when I was up in the score, I didn’t attack enough. But I’m not going to complain, because I was playing Ramy who had such a bad time with his injuries, I’m truly happy the man is back, he is a great guy and the sport needs him, like it needs Nick, I hope he’ll have a speedy recovery. Well done to Ramy for coming back, I hope he’ll have a great match against Mohamed tomorrow…

[4] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-1 [2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
                 7/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/9  (64m)   
 SquashApp Stats


Might as well come clean, my money was on Greg, 3/0 tonight, which proves once again that I know F.A about squash, as Nick would say. I thought ok, Ramy has had three hard matches, he is bound to feel the joints acing, plus if Greg was not that ready for a SuperManBionicLeg Ramy in Qatar – who wins the Worlds after not playing for 6 months?? – he would be today.

And it looked like I was right to start with. A bit of a strange warm up for Ramy, not his usual routine, a Greg errorless in the first game, literally, ready Ramy’s game to perfection, an extremely patient Frenchman that leads the whole way, not much, 1, 2 points, but enough to be calm, 11/7 Greg in 12m.

Ramy, 2 errors, plus 3 strokes, that 5 points for Greg, who only had to score 6….

The second is much better for Ramy, 3/0. The rallies are right away more intense, longer, but still played at a much slower pace than normally those two evolve at. Greg won’t be shaken, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 7/7, 8/8. We have been playing for 25m when Greg plays his first error. Ramy still take the game, 11/9, but again, 3 errors plus 2 strokes, that’s 5 free points for Greg, while Greg conceded up to then only 1 in two games!

The third is the perfect mirror of the second, as close as, but the rallies are much shorter, as Ramy has now fully downloaded the “I shall find the perfect height for my backhand crosscourt lobs and make them irretrievable” file, and Greg finally starts to make as many errors as Ramy, 3 each. 11/9 for Ramy, the crowd, the kids, nice atmosphere out there…

And I’m sorry to report that the 4th will be about the same than the previous two. But this time, instead of Ramy being up 10/8, losing the point on a stroke each time at that to got to 10/9, this time as I was saying, we are at 9/9.

A powerful backhand kill drive for Ramy, 10/9 match ball, and a monstrous rally to finish, endless, sooooo intense, so relentless, nearly slow pace, neither wanting to make the error… But weirdly enough, Greg loses the match.. on a tin, 11/9.

“Greg really came out firing in the first game. He was fresh, as he had a 25m game, mine was an hour, he was up for it and I had to react to that, I had to push. He nearly didn’t make errors today, that’s the kind of player he is, he is an incredible athlete.

At the beginning, Greg and myself we were rushing to get on court really, we did a 30m warm up in about 10m! I was even foaming as the ref called 15s!!!!! It was not comfortable, but it didn’t affect us I think. Well, like the rest, you have to adapt to the circumstances.

Normally Greg comes out firing, very fast, but today, he was very relaxed, so I had to really dig in and react to his shots. It took me the whole first game to understand what he was up to, how to react to it, and he took the first game.

He was really guessing my shots today, 5 or 6 times, I was playing the shot, and he was right behind me, I was surprised every time! I wish I had like mirrors behind to keep an eye on where he was, it was kind of funny, he was predicting my shots, and he got it right so many times!

Yesterday, I was troubled with the movement, I kept diving because I was avoiding using the leg, today, it was another problem I was dealing with. Each day brings a new issue you have to deal with. I was under pressure, I wanted to do well, I didn’t want to have wasted on those days, weeks, months, for nothing.

I don’t consider Mohamed as a “young player” anymore! He is the World No.1 and he's the toughest player out there. Everyone else is hanging on to him and trying to dig their teeth into him so I know he'll be under pressure tomorrow but I will be under pressure as well.

I really want to do my best tomorrow. I'm grateful for what I've achieve so far but I want more and I'm going to fight for it with every breath.


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