Ramy Ashour reluctantly retired, but don’t take anything away from the Big Man Omar Mosaad
By ANDY WHIPP – Squash Mad Special Correspondent. Pictures by IRENA VANISOVA
Squash Mad invited Andy Whipp (right), the former world No.64 and a member of the Benz Bavarian Duffield squad in the Premier Squash League, to take an in-depth look at the Grasshopper Cup quarter-final clash between Ramy Ashour and Omar Mosaad. Andy’s company, AWsome Sports, sponsors the tall Egyptian.
AWsome Sports’ Big Man, Omar Mosaad, scored his first victory over compatriot Ramy Ashour in the Quarter Final of The Grasshopper Cup in Zurich last night.
The match started off with Ramy looking considerably bouncier than in his first round match against the impressive Nicki Mueller. Omar looked calm and in top form.
The Big Man’s straight lines down the backhand side were excellent, containing The Maverick from attacking at will as he so often does. Omar was reading Ramy and seemingly on to every ball immediately. He was able to set up an attack with a tight straight drop and pounce on the loose crosscourt to hit into the open space.
Ramy was by no means looking injured but was not injecting the same pace which we all saw in the phenomenal El Gouna final last week, which meant he was hitting the ball slightly higher on the front wall making it possible for Omar to dominate on the volley.
The first game went from 3-3 to 11-3 to Omar. Seeing the scoreline you would assume Ramy either pulled up injured or tinned everything. This was not the case. Excellent play by Omar.
Omar started the second game well leading 6-2, again characterised by tight backhands and getting onto the volley. Ramy started to make a comeback as everyone hoped and expected he would. At 6-6 it was anyone’s. A dodgy Stroke to The Big Man saw the momentum shift change back in favour of Omar, and he closed out the game with a superb rally.
At 2-0 to Mosaad, everyone was wondering if Ramy could pull off the impossible two days in a row.
Ramy started the third with his body language not his usual, animated self, but still staying in every point. At 3-2 to Omar, there was a tremendous rally from The AWsome Man, making Ramy cover every corner several times.
This resulted in making Ramy limp, and suddenly another point goes by and at 5-2 everyone thought Ramy was gone. Somehow, Ramy continued to run, hit nicks and take the game. 2-1 to Omar and game on!
The fourth was quick fire points. In-between rallies Ramy was in obvious distress after that punishing rally at 3-2 in the third, but then the rally begins and he still manages to run around like a madman! In the end the discomfort became too much for the amazing Ramy and he had to withdraw, handing the match to Mosaad, with the big man leading 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 9-4.
Nobody wants to see Ramy retire as everyone loves to watch him and see what this amazing man can achieve each time after such long stints away from tournaments. We all wish him well and hope he recovers soon.
This cannot take away from the improvements Omar has made over the last six months. His squash is sensible and calm, but not by any means boring.
I love his new use of the lob to get himself out of trouble. Everything is going from strength to strength for the big Egyptian.
We look forward to seeing how he fares in his semi-final against Germany’s Simon Rosner in a real Battle of the Giants.
I think Omar has matured a lot recently in his tactical game. His fitness has obviously improved a lot in recent years (maybe because he has to look good in AWsome Sports slim-fit T-shirts!), but his tactical awareness is greatly improved.
This has been obvious in his recent right matches with Nick Matthew. Nick has been playing the best squash of his career in recent years and is almost unbeatable, but Omar has pushed him as close as anyone.
Omar is approaching his squash tactically instead of recklessly. He’s always had the ability to hit winners and crunch his forehand but there was always the danger of it being too one paced.
Now, he varies the pace on his drives and uses the lob to get out of trouble from the front. He shows patience during the rally and manoeuvres his opponent out of position.
Maybe this is because he has confidence in his fitness or just maturity. Either way he’s improving and is a force to be reckoned with….