Ashour and David win 2011 crowns
Egypt’s Ramy Ashour showed just why he is considered the most exciting squash player in the world when he came from behind to overcome Nick Matthew and win an enthralling Viridian Australian Open final.
Ashour was forced to dig deep into his considerable bag of tricks to see off the world number one 12-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4 in a high quality match.
Both men played some spectacular squash throughout but the 22-year-old Egyptian finished stronger than his opponent and was a deserving winner of his first Australian title.
Matthew had gone into the match as the slight favourite following his impressive semi-final win over David Palmer on Saturday.
And he looked every inch the favourite as he opened up a 10-6 lead in the first game, only to hold off a comeback from the Egyptian.
Ashour leveled the match in the next game before Matthew got his nose back in front, again having to hold off an Ashour comeback.
But Ashour fought back again to win a tight fourth game before exploding in the fifth, controlling the front of the court and hitting a string of winners to quickly race to 10-3.
Matthew managed to save one match point but the end, when it came, was inevitable and Ashour raised his arms in triumph as he became the first Egyptian to win the Australian crown.
“It’s such a great thing to win the Australian Open, I’ve been thinking about this since last year when I lost to Nick,” Ashour said.
“It’s one of the biggest names on tour, to win the Australian Open, so I’m glad to join those great players on the trophy.”
Ashour said he went in with a set game plan and he stuck with it right to the end.
“My goal was to fight for every point, to push myself to the limit and give 100 percent win or lose,” he said.
“I think in the fifth I just went for my shots and I pushed myself again and again.
“The match was tough for both of us both physically and mentally, but I think he had a little bit more pressure on him because he’s number one.”
Matthew said one poor game had cost him the match, but paid tribute to Ashour’s fighting spirit.
“Even in the games I won I took the lead and he fought back and took it to a tiebreak both times,” Matthew said.
“Everyone gives him credit for his shot making but some people forget he’s got that side to his game as well, that makes him such a champion”.
Malaysian superstar Nicol David claimed the women’s title at her first attempt when she downed England’s Jenny Duncalf in straight games in Canberra on Sunday.
David was at the brilliant best as she shut out Duncalf 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 to ensure her name is added to the Heather McKay Trophy alongside some of the greatest players the game has ever seen.
The world number one took control from the first game when she jumped out to a 6-1 lead and although Duncalf fought back to level terms, she was always playing catch up and David closed out the opener with a drive deep into the back corner.
David, who is coached by Australia’s Liz Irving, opened another early lead in the second and this time Duncalf was unable to peg it back, the Malaysian wrapping the game up when she was awarded a stroke by the referees.
Duncalf had a better start to the third but at 4-4, David again broke clear and the end was inevitable, the world number one smashing a backhand cross court deep into the corner, leaving Duncalf swinging at air.
“You just know this Australian Open has so much history,” the 27-year-old from Penang said.
“With all those big names on that trophy, you just know you want to get that title as well and I’m really pleased to win it.
“I knew that today was going to be a tough final, she knows my game really well and we play each other a lot.
“I really had to stay consistent in there, I was moving well, I focussed well and I just stayed on my game.”
David said her good starts to the first two games had given her a big advantage.
“Knowing I was watching the ball well, I could move well and I had to give her no time to player her shots, because she is so dangerous when she has time,” David said.
“I was trying to keep the ball going and not make any errors.”
Duncalf conceded her slow start had cost her dearly.
“You’re always playing catch-up. Especially the first, it ended up being pretty close so those few points make a difference,” Duncalf said.