Rusty Ramy wakes up to halt home hero Nic Mueller in front of sellout Zurich crowd
By NATHAN CLARKE in Zurich. Pictures by IRENA VANISOVA
World Champion Ramy Ashour triumphed in a frenetic, rollercoaster of an encounter with home favourite and World No.20 Nicolas Mueller during the second day of first round action at the 2015 Grasshopper Cup, PSA International 70 tournament.
In front of a sell-out crowd in Zurich’s Puls 5 venue, Ashour, who beat World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy last week to win the El Gouna International in one of the greatest matches of recent times, got off to a lethargic start, showing signs of rustiness following his four-month injury-absence pre-El Gouna as he struggled to find his rhythm on court.
Sensing his opportunity, Mueller pounced, producing some of his best ever squash to race into a two-game lead to leave Ashour staring at a first round exit before he produced a miracle comeback to win 3-2 after a thoroughly enthralling 69 minutes of amazing squash.
“I think I was on my fourth or fifth wind my the end of that match but I just kept on digging and digging,” said Ashour.
“Nicky was playing amazingly well, which he always seems to do against me, and the crowd were all fully behind him as well, but I’m proud of how I managed to stay positive and push to get the result.
“I had a brutal tournament in El Gouna last week and coming here was not easy. But the promoters are doing an amazing job looking after the players and I’m really happy to be in Zurich for the first time and delighted to win today.”
The turning point in the match came in the third game, when at 9-9 Ashour upped his level to save the match and grasp a foothold and deliver a hammer blow to the local hero.
Mueller lifted himself again in the fourth and again found himself just two points away from glory, levelling the game at 10-10, but again it was Ashour who won the crucial points and the maverick Egyptian then upped his game again to storm to a 6-0 lead in the fifth.
In a see-saw encounter Mueller brought it back to 5-6, but he couldn’t find the killer blow and saw his hopes of recording a huge upset vanish as the 27-year-old from Cairo came back to win in dramatic circumstances.
Ashour will now face compatriot Omar Mosaad in the quarter-finals in what promises to be a bruising all-Egyptian encounter. Mosaad powered past Scotland’s Alan Clyne in straight games.
Mueller’s best friend Simon Rosner shut out another Swiss entry with a 3-0 win over wild card Reiko Peter, while the biggest form book shock of the night came as Indian qualifier Saurav Ghosal produced a quality performance to beat No.4 seed Tarek Momen of Egypt.
Ghosal now meets Rosner in the quarter-finals in a little and large battle. Top seed Gregory Gaultier faces England’s Daryl Selby, while No.3 seed Miguel Rodriguez tackles Mathieu Castagnet.
Grasshopper Cup, Zurich, Switzerland (PSA International 70)
Results – First Round, Bottom Half
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 4-11, 11-4, 11-6 (66m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt [WC] Reiko Peter (SUI) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (38m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 3-11, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 (69m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Ramy Ashour (EGY)
Pictures by IRENA VANISOVA (www.squashPage.net)