Egyptian ace beats Nick Matthew in NetSuite final
By NATHANN CLARKE in San Francisco
Egypt’s Ramy Ashour added a 37th career PSA World Tour title to his impressive collection after defeating three-time World Champion Nick Matthew in the final of the 2015 NetSuite Open, PSA M100 tournament, in San Francisco today (Sep 29).
Competing in his first tournament since April Ashour, who has been dogged by injury since limping off court against Matthew during the 2013 World Championship semi-finals, was in sublime form as he out-gunned the 35-year-old Englishman to take the match 3-1 and get his latest comeback off to the perfect start.
“It feels great to be back in San Francisco and to win this title for a second time,” said Ashour, who beat Gregory Gaultier in the 2013 NetSuite Open final.
“I’ve always had a great rivalry with Nick and we’ve gone back and forth against each other over the years. He’s a great athlete and a great ambassador for the sport and it takes a lot to beat him – he keeps you on your toes and you really have to dig in against him.
“Every time I go on court I try to give 100 per cent. I’m always trying to learn from every player on court because there is so little between the top players these days. I know what I can do on court but it can be anyone’s victory on any day.”
Commenting on the event, which took place under the shadow of San Francisco’s stunning Bay Bridge, Ashour said: “San Francisco has been very special for me – everything about being here is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. There’s a lot of effort that goes into putting on an event like this and all the guys behind the scenes have been amazing.
“It’s been great to be here this week and hopefully I’ll be back to compete again next year.”
The opening exchanges of the encounter were blighted with errors as the significance of the occasion made itself felt on both men before Ashour managed to string together a series of winners to take the first game 11-7.
However Matthew came out strong in the second to dictate proceedings and flip the momentum of the match, levelling the scores at 1-1 after a controversial overrule from the video referee at 10-9 handed him the game, much to the dismay of his opponent.
But Ashour, competing on the day of his 28th birthday, recomposed himself and got off to a flying start in the third game – easing into a 5-0 lead. Matthew, one of the most tenacious competitors on the tour, showed just why he’s known as ‘The Wolf’ as he dug in to mount a comeback but he couldn’t live with Ashour’s pinpoint accuracy and unpredictable shot-making talents.
With a 2-1 advantage secured Ashour continued his barrage in the fourth and had too much in his locker, sealing the match, and his second NetSuite Open title, after 59-minutes on court – winning 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4.
“I kept telling myself in the fourth game that it wasn’t over but Ramy is a different kettle of fish,” said Matthew – who had saved multiple match balls during his quarter-final encounter with German Simon Rösner.
“How a guy as good as him doesn’t get the chance to grace the Olympic Games is a joke really – you’re scratching your head against him at times but I’ll go away and keep working to catch him and World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy.
“Hopefully my body will hold together for a little bit longer as I’ve really been enjoying my squash recently.”
NetSuite Open, PSA M100, San Francisco, USA:
Final (September 29, 2015):
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4 (59m)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of NetSuite Open and PSA