By LEE HORTON
RAMY ASHOUR’S injury nightmare returned today to force him out of the Hong Kong Open midway through his quarter-final match with Spaniard Borja Golan.
The world number one’s season has been cruelly dogged by hamstring problems already forcing him to abort midway through the World Championships in Manchester and withdraw from the Qatar Open in Doha.
Ashour targeted the Hong Kong Open as his return following intense treatment and rest at the Aspire Academy in Doha, but his worst fears were realised when he appeared to strain the hamstring in the first game against Golan. He took an injury break, came back to take the game 11-5, but it was clear he was in trouble.
Remarkably, he chose to play on…a decision he must now be regretting and one that he should never have made. Ashour took the second game by the same score but the match was over as a contest. Golan won the third in four minutes, yet Ramy still came out for a fourth.
That lasted the time it took the Spanish number one to win seven straight points. Ashour signalled he was quitting and looked a saddened man as he left the arena.
Was he brave to continue? Not in my opinion. Club players know when the game is up. Why the world’s best player doesn’t get the message and analyse the consequences quicker is anyone’s guess.
Number two seed Gregory took 72 minutes to overcome Egypt’s Tarek Momen 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5. Meanwhile, Nick Matthew fought back from a game down to beat Amr Shabana 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 in 65 minutes.
Matthew meets Gaultier in a repeat of their World Championship battle in Manchester, while Willstrop will be hoping his body will have recovered in time to withstand a sustained physical attack from Spain’s Borja Golan.
— SQUASHTV (@SquashTV) December 6, 2013