10:39 pm
17 Apr 2024

Ramy Romps To Shabana Win In Toronto

17 Feb 2008

In the pair's first meeting since both have recovered from injuries, Ramy Ashour beat fellow Egyptian Amr Shabana in four games in the final of the PACE Canadian Classic to successfully defend the 5-star PSA Tour squash title at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto.

"When the top two players meet, there is no strategy - the player who plays best wins," said Shabana, the world champion and world No1 after his defeat to the 20-year-old world No2.

It could have been a nightmare for the top seed, losing the first two games in just 12 minutes to his younger compatriot.

The first game was a surprise as Ashour cruised effortlessly to an 11-2 victory in just over four minutes. He summed it up later: "It seemed that Shabana was not really there tonight."

But Shabana pulled his act together in the second game and made Ashour work for every point. The quality of squash rose sharply and the full house was treated to the full gamut of Egyptian squash - constant attack and sublime winners. Shabana led to 6-6 and then went ahead with two superb winners. It seem as though he now had the measure of the young pretender. And then a dreadful string of three errors followed and Ashour had the second game with the possibility of a three game whitewash.

Shabana finally brought his total persona onto the court in the third game and took charge from the first point, moving Ashour around, hitting his signature winners with lots of cross court action. The pace was hectic and the accuracy from both players was formidable. Shabana was now in full swing and took the third game, hinting at a full five game final.

But the let-down came in the fourth, with Shabana hitting four errors in the first six rallies. Ashour kept up his impeccable and impenetrable game to lead 10-4. The next rally ended strangely; Shabana had given up and was ready to shake hands, but Ashour hit the tin. Shabana managed a couple of more points, contested a wonderfully creative rally before putting the ball into the tin to end it all in favour of Ashour.

Following his 11-2, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 win in just 38 minutes, Ashour received his second Canadian Classic trophy, presented by PACE Savings and Credit Union.

Shabana explained his "absence" from the match by saying he was rusty, following his break due to a wrist injury after the World Team Championships in mid December.

"That's what happens if you have not been playing competitive squash. If you do not play at 110 percent against Ramy, you lose. I am just happy to be playing and to be injury free. I didn't know how I was going to play when I came to Toronto - lose in the first or second round - so to make the final makes me happy," he said.

Ashour admitted that his victory was easily earned, observing that Shabana was "not really there. But I also felt in very high spirits, very confident. And when I saw that Shabana was taking a step backwards, I stepped up the court. I stopped doing that in the third and he won it," he said, adding that he felt he had played the best squash of the entire tournament.

[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [1] Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-2, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 (38m)