10:48 pm
20 May 2024

Ashour & Matthew To Meet In Mumbai Masters Final

9 Dec 2009

Ramy Ashour, the third seed from Egypt, and Nick Matthew, the No4 seed from England, will contest the final of the Punj Lloyd PSA Masters after coming through testing semi-finals against fellow countrymen today in the $152,500 PSA Tour Super Series squash event at the Bombay Gymkhana in Mumbai, India.

Matthew is celebrating the biggest final of his career - just two weeks after winning his biggest Tour title at the Qatar Classic in Doha. But England team-mate Barker, the eighth seed from London, built up a commanding 8-3 lead in the opening game and had three game-balls from 10-8 before world No4 Matthew raised his game to take a first game lead.

Matthew, 29, from Sheffield led throughout the second - and in the third Barker twice had to fight back to draw level. But the England number one mounted a mighty push to win the next six points in a row to claim his 13-11, 11-6, 11-5 victory after 55 minutes.

"I thought he was hungrier that I was in the first game - he really came out firing, which I expected as the last two times we played really didn't do him any justice," Matthew told www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. "And at the time, I was just pushing the ball around, not much purpose in my shots. So way down in the game, I started playing with more thoughts, and I got lucky to just sneak in that game.

"Peter reminds me a lot of me: we were both good juniors, but not the best, we had to work extremely hard, and we started to meet in semis. Soon, I know, it will be in the finals, because there is only one way Peter is going - up!

"I'm so glad for England Squash at the moment, with the girls doing so well, and Peter, Daryl (Selby) and Ali (Walker) also going really strong. Hopefully, we can keep it going," added Matthew, on the eve of the 29th Tour final of his career - and the seventh of the year.

"This is a great venue - we are all loving it. The crowd is amazing, and I just hope that they'll keep on giving me support tomorrow."

The last time Ramy Ashour played senior compatriot Amr Shabana was in Kuwait, where the 30-year-old left-hander romped to a straight games win in the final to secure his fourth World Open title.

But 22-year-old Ashour was after revenge - and he achieved his goal in style with an 11-9, 13-15, 11-8, 11-2 upset over the second seed in 44 minutes.

"I'm really happy with my mental focus today," said the 2008 World Open champion later. "I nearly got really annoyed with the refs one more time, and I could have really lost it, slipped out of the match tonight. But I didn't - I stayed mentally strong, which I'm very proud of.

"Also, I'm really happy with the way I handled my squash today. The way I hold the racquet, the way I run, the way I played tactically. I'm really proud of what I've done," added world No5 Ashour - now in his 21st career final, and his fifth of the year.

Matthew and Ashour's career head-to-head record stand at three wins apiece - with the Englishman successful in the first of their two meetings this year, in the Tournament of Champions semi-finals in New York in January - and Ashour triumphant in a 91-minute marathon a month later in the final of the North American Open in Virginia.

Semi-finals:
[3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [2] Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-9, 13-15, 11-8, 11-2 (44m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [8] Peter Barker (ENG) 13-11, 11-6, 11-5 (55m)