Ramy Leads Egyptian Trio Into Bellevue Quarters
18 May 2017
Egypt's three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour marked his return from a two-month injury lay off with a 3/0 victory over Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller to reach the quarter-finals of the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic, the PSA M100 event in Bellevue, USA.
The enigmatic 29-year-old has been out of action with a hamstring strain sustained during his Allam British Open semi-final fixture in March - but recovered from a slow start to beat Mueller 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in 32 minutes, despite struggling with illness before the match.
"I just wanted to play well, he's very quick with his hands, so I was trying to contain him," Ashour said.
"It worked sometimes, sometimes it didn't, but it went my way in the end and I'm glad it did. I remember last time we played in Switzerland, it was one of the toughest times. It was in five, it was a full house and it was an electrifying atmosphere.
"I had that in the back of my head and that's why I was prepared. I had some complications earlier, but I was prepared. Other than that, I'm excited to be back in Bellevue."
Both players played well in patches, with Elshorbagy prevailing in an opening game tie-break, only to see Adnan fight back to restore parity after the world No.26 triumphed in game two.
However, the momentum shifted back in the Egyptian's favour in the third game as the Bristol-based 23-year-old began to reassert his control on proceedings, eventually coming through to win 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8.
"I've got a big match tomorrow against Ramy, he's a great player, so I'm looking forward to that match," Elshorbagy said.
"I always enjoy going on court with Ramy, he's a great ambassador for our sport. It's a shame that he keeps getting injured, but just having him here is amazing for us.
"I'm really happy to go on court with him tomorrow, I'll just try and make the most of it. I've grown up watching him, so the fact that I will be on court with him is huge for me. I'm excited for the match against him."
The pair - separated by 145 places in the World Rankings - were both prolific players on the College Squash Association circuit prior to their professional careers and traded points at the beginning of all three games, before Harvard-graduate Farag's class eventually told as he took the win in straight games.
"I'm very happy to see lots of collegiate players turning pro, it shows just how great our sport is," said Farag.
"We've all got good degrees that we could do a lot things with, but we play this sport because of how great it is and hopefully that brings the sport up a notch."
Australian No.1 Ryan Cuskelly was the only non-Egyptian winner after the world No.14 saw off South Africa's Stephen Coppinger, recovering from a game down to win 3/1 and set up a quarter-final meeting with Farag.