RESULTS: PSA World Series Davenport North American Open, Richmond, Virginia, USA
(1) Ramy Ashour (Egypt) v Simon Rosner (Germany) 11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8 (53 mins)
(3) James Willstrop (England) walkover v Karim Darwish (Egypt)
(4) Gregory Gaultier (France) beat (7) Amr Shabana (Egypt) 11-4, 11-4, 11-3 (34 mins)
(2) Nick Matthew (England) beat (6) Peter Barker (England) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (49 mins)
Winning 11-4, 11-4, 11-3, Gaultier continued his run of impressive form in recent weeks.
Gaultier was too tight, too accurate and too consistent for Shabana.
As the tournament moved into the closing stages, so Gaultier moved up to a new level of quality.
Striking the ball cleanly and matching Shabana for inventiveness at the front of the court, he booked his place in the semi-finals with a third consecutive straight-games victory.
It was too one-sided to be a classic, but Gaultier was generous in his praise of his opponent.
He said: “Amr is without doubt the best squash player in the world. He is the one you always look to if you are having some difficult moments, because watching him helps you to get things right in your own mind.
“I will always watch him on TV. He is the player you should watch if want to learn how to hit the ball correctly.”
Barker matched his opponent in the early stages of each game, but it was Matthew who finished strongly on each occasion.
Matthew added: “It was a really tough game. Peter has been out with an injury and I think that was the probably the main reason I was able to push through from something like 6-6 in each game.
“Obviously he hasn’t had the court time you need to build up your levels of fitness but he played very well and will only get better in the coming weeks and months.”
The tall German matched Ashour’s genius for long spells of the match and fought back superbly in the third to stop the Egyptian winning in straight games, hitting three superb winners at the front before trapping his opponent in the back right corner.
Ashour took a huge tumble but returned to the court to continue.
The crowd gasped in admiration at the quality of the squash and the stupendous retrieving.
Ashour now faces Willstrop in the semi-finals after the Englishman enjoyed a rest day following the withdrawal of Karim Darwish through injury.
Ashour said: “That was a great game and there are lots of guys around who are capable of playing top-quality squash. Simon is obviously one of them.
“James is a great player and I’m looking forward to another good match. We always enjoy putting on a great show for this wonderful crowd in Richmond.”
Ashour has featured in the last four finals, winning in 2009, losing to Matthew in 2010 and 2012, and finishing runner-up to Willstrop last year.
(1) Ramy Ashour (Egypt) v (3) James Willstrop (England) 6pm
(2) Nick Matthew (England) v (4) Gregory Gaultier (France) 7pm
Tournament website: www.naosquash.com