Ramy Ashour Extends Unbeaten Run in Hull
21 May 2013
Ramy Ashour, the world number one from Egypt who last lost a match in the final of the 2012 Allam British Open Squash Championships in London, extended his unbeaten run into a second year when he beat compatriot Omar Mosaad in tonight's first round of the 2013 championship, the fourth PSA World Series event of the year at the KC Stadium in Hull in the English county of Yorkshire.
Top seed Ashour (pictured in first round action) dominated from the off against world No10 Mosaad with some extremely precise hitting and deft foot work. Looking relaxed, the favourite was soon 3-0 up. Mosaad fought back but soon found himself one game down.
In the second, Mosaad opened up a 6-1 lead. But 25-year-old Ashour refocused to take five points on the trot to draw level before moving on to stretch his lead to two games.
Underdog Mosaad again showed his mettle in the third game, attacking strongly and taking the score to 6-3. But Ashour again fought back, this time displaying some moments of brilliance, to win eight points consecutively to close out the match 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 in 39 minutes.
Speaking after extending his unbeaten Tour run to 37 matches, Ashour described the present season as his 'hardest, but most successful'.
He said: "There is a lot of tough players (in the Allam British Open). Of course I want to win, but if I don't it will be because of a better player than me."
Ashour will now face surprise opponent Chris Simpson, an English qualifier who pulled off the event's first upset when he defeated Swiss number one Nicolas Mueller 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 in 50 minutes.
Mueller, the world No20, had the better of the opening exchanges but Simpson stepped it up in the second, hitting better length and width which secured the second game to draw level.
The Guernsey-born 26-year-old fell behind in the third but came back strongly from 6-1 down to celebrate with a fist pump and win the game 11-9 to take a crucial 2/1 lead.
There was no stopping the English underdog in the fourth as he confidently stormed through to take the match - and, for the first time in his career, book a place in the event's second round.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic," said Simpson afterwards. "I was really up for it today as it's the last tournament of the season for me.
"I don't normally give a fist-pump at the end of a game, but I came from 1-6 down to win the third - that was a big game for me. I think I played some of my best squash today."
The world number four from Harrogate in Yorkshire took 57 minutes to stop Coppinger 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10 as the two players traded points in the most exciting match of the tournament so far.
Willstrop now joins fellow Yorkshireman and world number two Nick Matthew in the event's second round.
A delighted Willstrop described winning his first round match as a 'very positive' thing. "I came through it when he was making some very serious challenges - and that is positive.
"I try not to worry, I try to focus on what I am doing, try to keep relaxed."
Willstrop is seeded to meet Ashour in the semi-final on Saturday in a repeat of last year's epic encounter at the London O2 Arena.
Unfortunately for the London-born 23-year-old, Lee could not avenge his earlier qualifying defeat to the Egyptian and went down by the same 3/1 scoreline.
"It was a very close game and I was lucky to win today," Gawad, the world No24 from Cairo, reflected afterwards.
"I tried to stamp my authority on the match and focussed on getting a good length on the court," said the top-ranked Australian.
2nd round line-up:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG)
 Borja Golan (ESP) v [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Simon Rosner (GER)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Picture by www.squashpics.com[/i]
1st round (top half of draw):
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (39m)
[Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (50m)
[Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [LL] Joe Lee (ENG) 12-10, 11-4, 2-11, 11-8 (58m)
 Borja Golan (ESP) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-4, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9 (59m)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (34m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-1, 11-8, 14-12 (46m)
Simon Rosner (GER) bt [WC] Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-4, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6 (46m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10 (57m)