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ALLAM BRITISH OPEN: Matthew clinches historic treble

Nick Matthew hugs fellow champion Nicol David. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS

Matthew’s British Open treble

20 May 2012

RESULTS: PSA World Series Allam British Open, London, England

Allam British Open, O2 Arena, London

Women’s final: (1) Nicol David (Malaysia) bt (16) Nour El Sherbini (Egypt) 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (33 mins)

Men’s final: (3) Nick Matthew (England) v (4) Ramy Ashour (Egypt) 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (49 mins)

By ALAN THATCHER at the O2 Arena

Nick Matthew overcame fiery Egyptian Ramy Ashour in straight games in today’s final of the Allam British Open to secure his place in history as the first Englishman to win the world’s most famous squash title for a third time.

The 31-year-old from Sheffield produced a high level of accuracy throughout the match to win 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 in 49 minutes in front of a near capacity audience watching the PSA World Series event at the O2 Arena in London.

Ashour hit the tin 14 times during the match as Matthew’s precision squash forced him into mistakes. The 24-year-old from Cairo surrendered an 8-6 lead in the first game and was totally outplayed in the second as Matthew dominated the middle of the court and worked his opponent from corner to corner with tight drives, drops and volleys.

The Yorkshireman continued to dominate in the third game and led 6-2 before Ashour responded with his best spell of the match to draw level at 8-8. However, Matthew regained control and more loose play from Ashour gave him the next three points.

As Matthew moved to match ball, Ashour demanded a video replay but the world champion reminded the referee that the Egyptian had already used his appeal earlier in the game.

After collecting his trophy, Matthew thanked the title sponsor Dr Assem Allam for resurrecting the most celebrated tournament in squash, founded in 1930.

“It’s great to have the British Open back on the calendar again and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr Allam for making it happen,” said Matthew, previous winner of the title in 2006 and 2009.

“I am 32 in July and may not have too many more finals left, but Ramy has many more to come.

“He is a genius and a magician with the racket but he made a lot of errors today. There is a fine margin with those shots and had they been a few millimetres higher they would have been winners.

“This was a brilliant tournament and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event in Yorkshire. And if Ramy and the others are thinking that London is our home territory, wait until you come to Hull!”

Ashour said: “Nick was really in the zone and was several steps ahead of me today in every department. I can’t be too downhearted because I have played well this week and am proud of what I did.

“There is a thin margin between success and failure at the top level and a lot of shots did not work for me today.

“I have been struggling a lot with injuries in the past year but I love this game and I consider squash one of God’s gifts.

Nick Matthew gets to grips with Ramy Ashour in the final

“In the third game I did not want to give up and tried to get a grip on myself. The British Open is one of the most important titles in the world and although it was a painful lesson today you need to learn from your defeats.

“I am so glad that the British Open is back and stronger than ever.”

Matthew’s historic triumph strengthens his hold on second place in the PSA world rankings behind fellow YorkshiremanJames Willstrop, who succumbed to Ashour’s rampant racket skills in the best match of the tournament in the semi-finals.

Squash queen Nicol David collected her fourth British Open title after sweeping aside the precocious challenge of Egyptian Nour El Sherbini.

The petite Malaysian took just 33 minutes to overwhelm the 16-year-old world junior champion 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 in front of a near sell-out crowd at London’s O2 Arena.

El Sherbini began each game in promising fashion but once the 28-year-old Malaysian got into her stride she dominated the court and knew exactly how to place the ball beyond the reach of her much taller opponent.

David, who is based in Amsterdam, said: “Nour is certainly one to watch for the future but right now I am so happy to win this title again. A lot of young Egyptians are coming through and that’s good for the game.

“I had better get back home and start training harder.”

Nicol David and Nour El Sherbini receive their trophies from Dr Assem Allam



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