Perry and Matthew are Australian Open champions
15-Aug-2010 - Squash Australia
Madeline Perry of Northern Ireland and England’s Nick Matthew are the 2010 Australian Open champions after wins over Alison Waters and Ramy Ashour in Canberra on Sunday.
Perry became the first Irishwoman to win the Australian Open squash tournament when she beat England’s Alison Waters in a magnificent five-game final in Canberra on Sunday.
Perry saved two match balls in the fifth game to win the biggest tournament of her career 11-5, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 13-11 on the all-glass court at Canberra’s Royal Theatre.
The final was a wonderful advertisement for women’s squash, with the match swinging first one way then the other until fourth seeded Perry closed it out on a controversial no-let call, which caused Waters to throw her racket in disgust and Perry to throw hers in elation.
The title also crowned a superb comeback for the 33-year-old from Belfast, who was hospitalised with severe head injuries after she was mugged in Italy three years ago, with doctors unsure whether she would ever play squash again.
Perry was dynamic from the start and caught Waters on the back foot with her court movement and precision.
But the Englishwoman stormed back to dominate the next two and level the match.
The deciding game went point for point – Waters had match balls at 10-9 and 11-10, which Perry saved.
Perry then got to 12-11 and closed out the match when she put in a drop shot and the referees ruled that Waters would not have reached the ball.
“I thought it was a let – they’d been giving those as lets the whole game, but what can you do?” Waters said.
Perry said was thrilled to have finally broken through for a major win.
“Getting to the final was a big achievement, but winning it was huge for me,” Perry said.
“I won the first two but I wasn’t feeling amazing, I felt a lot of tension in my body and then she really upped the pace in the third and fourth and I couldn’t respond.
“The fifth was pretty even all the way through, you could see both of us were getting a bit tired and not doing that much.
“But I stuck in there and took my match ball when it came.”
Perry said she was probably playing the best squash of her career and her win over Jenny Duncalf in the semi-finals was as good as she had ever played.
A disappointed Waters said she had paid the price for her slow start.
“I was feeling a bit off physically and she came out firing. I only started to get into it in the third and mixed it up a bit.
“The fifth was a bit of a battle really – I had my match balls but couldn’t take them.”
Final result – prefix denotes seeding:
4-Madeline Perry (IRL) bt 3-Alison Waters (ENG) 11-5, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 13-11
Matthew showed just why he is ranked world number one when he downed Egypt’s Ramy Ashour in straight games in the final of the Australian Open in Canberra on Sunday.
Matthew stuck with Ashour through the Egyptian’s periods of brilliance then slowly squeezed the challenge out of the world number two as he eased to a 16-14, 11-7, 12-10 victory to become the first Englishman to win the Australian title since Gawain Briars in 1978.
“You have to go through the patches when he’s just too good for you,” Matthew conceded.
“He’s brilliant – you just have to get through those moments.”
Matthew and Ashour went point for point in the first game until 9-9 when Ashour brought up the first of five game points.
But every time he took the advantage, usually through an outrageous nick or unbelievable drop, Matthew somehow managed to fight his way back until 14-14 when an Ashour error gave Matthew game ball.
He needed no second invitation and took an epic first game 16-14, then came out firing at the start of the second to seize control of the final.
He wrapped up the second game and although the third was close Matthew always looked the most likely, particularly when Ashour began struggling with a foot injury late in the game.
“I think at the time we could both feel that while (saving five game balls) may not have been a match winning scenario, obviously the first game is so important and then when I got a good start at the second, in hindsight that was a massively crucial part of the game,” Matthew said.
“The temptation when he’s hit a few good winners is to panic, but you have to really stay patient, because he hits shots no one else can play and he plays at pace.
“You sometimes have to hold your hands up and say ‘alright, what can I do better, what can I do to impose my game on him’.
“I think I managed to do that, but in three games I never got an easy point.”
Matthew said he still had plenty of improvement left.
“I’m only just 30 and I still feel that although I’ve not got the attacking game of Ramy, I’m always working and becoming better and better.
“If you stand still other people catch up and overtake you, so you’ve always got to keep working to improve.”
Final result – prefix denotes seeding:
1-Nick Matthew (ENG) bt 2-Ramy Ashour (EGY) 16-14, 11-7, 12-10