Sunday, June 16, 2024

Australian Open: Brilliant Ashour wins all-Egyptian final

Australian Open champions Nicold David and Ramy Ashour

Brilliant Ashour wins Australian Open final

By ANDREW DENT in Canberra

Defending champion Ramy Ashour was at his brilliant best as he downed fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad in straight games to win his second HI-TEC Australian Open crown in Canberra on Sunday.

Ashour took 53 minutes to see off the tall and powerful Mosaad 11-9, 11-9, 11-6, thrilling the big crowd in Canberra’s Royal Theatre with the audacity of his stroke play.

Mosaad was also in superb touch but Ashour always had the edge over his countryman, sneaking the first two games then stamping his authority on the third, clinching victory with a devastating drive down the forehand wall.

Ashour had to survive two gruelling matches to make the final, first downing Nicolas Mueller in five games in the quarter-finals then Cameron Pilley in four in the semis.

But there were no signs of weariness in the final, the 24-year-old choosing to keep hitting the ball during the game breaks rather than having a rest.

He said he found it difficult playing against Mosaad, someone he grew up with in Egypt.

‘We both know each other’s games very well, we’ve both seen each other’s shots so we’re at the place where the ball is going even before it’s been hit,” Ashour said.

“It’s more of a mental match as a matter of fact. If you’re not 100 per cent accurate, the other person is going to string a lot of points together in a row, especially if you’re playing who knows your game.”
Ashour said he had been pushed hard throughout the tournament,

“Every match was tough this week,” he said.

“The further you go in the tournament the more pressure is on you, the more you are worried and the more you don’t want to let go of what you have done.”

The Egyptian has made no secret of his wish to return to world number one and also used his win to push the cause to have squash included in the Olympics.

“It’s very healthy, you burn a lot of calories. This game can be very, very good for human beings in general – not just as a sport,” he said.

“We have a portable court that can be put anywhere in the world. It’s very fast, very interesting, very exciting and everyone whoever watches squash always comes back.¶

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I’ve seen a lot of other sports that don’t belong in the Olympics when squash isn’t in there.”¶


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