8:58 am
15 Jul 2024

Matthew Marches On In Canberra

15 Aug 2010

England's Nick Matthew clinched his fifth successive PSA World Tour squash title and showed just why he is ranked number one in the world when he downed Egypt's Ramy Ashour in straight games in today's final of the $142,500 CSR Viridian Australian Open, the fourth PSA Super Series championship of the year, in Canberra.

The Yorkshireman stuck with Ashour through the Egyptian's periods of brilliance, then slowly squeezed the challenge out of the world number two as he eased to a 16-14, 11-7, 12-10 victory to become the first Englishman to win the Australian title since Gawain Briars in 1978.

"You have to go through the patches when he's just too good for you," Matthew conceded. "He's brilliant - you just have to get through those moments."

Matthew and Ashour went point for point in the first game until 9-9 when Ashour brought up the first of five game balls.

But every time he took the advantage, usually through an outrageous nick or unbelievable drop, Matthew somehow managed to fight his way back until 14-14 when an Ashour error gave Matthew game ball.

The 30-year-old from Sheffield needed no second invitation and took an epic first game 16-14, then came out firing at the start of the second to seize control of the final.

Matthew wrapped up the second game and fought back from 10-7 down in the third. Although the third was close Matthew always looked the most likely, particularly when Ashour began struggling with a foot injury late in the game.

"I think at the time we could both feel that while (saving five game balls) may not have been a match winning scenario, obviously the first game is so important and then when I got a good start at the second, in hindsight that was a massively crucial part of the game," Matthew said.

"The temptation when he's hit a few good winners is to panic, but you have to really stay patient, because he hits shots no one else can play and he plays at pace.

"You sometimes have to hold your hands up and say 'alright, what can I do better, what can I do to impose my game on him'. I think I managed to do that, but in three games I never got an easy point."

Matthew said he still had plenty of improvement left: "I'm only just 30 and I still feel that although I've not got the attacking game of Ramy, I'm always working and becoming better and better.

"If you stand still other people catch up and overtake you, so you've always got to keep working to improve."

The win marks Matthew's 23rd undefeated Tour match in a row, and his fifth successive title, including the Swedish Open and North American Open in February, the Canary Wharf Classic in March and the Sky Open in Egypt in May.

The triumph also extends the Englishman's lead at the top of the 2010 PSA Super Series Rankings, the latest list of which is below:

Rank (prev) Points
1 (1) Nick Matthew (ENG) 340
2 (2) Ramy Ashour (EGY) 235
3 (3) James Willstrop (ENG) 205
4 (4) Karim Darwish (EGY) 145
5 (6) Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 115
6 (5) Amr Shabana (EGY) 105
7 (7) Thierry Lincou (FRA) 90
8 (7) Wael El Hindi (EGY) 80
9 (9) David Palmer (AUS) 70
10 (11) Peter Barker (ENG) 65
11= (11) Adrian Grant (ENG) 55
11= (10) Alister Walker (ENG) 55
13 (14) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 40
14= (16) Joey Barrington (ENG) 35
14= (16) Simon Rosner (GER) 35
14= (13) Olli Tuominen (FIN) 35
17= (28) Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 30
17= (28) Cameron Pilley (AUS) 30
17= (21) Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 30
17= (21) Julian Illingworth (USA) 30
17= (14) Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 30

Official website: www.australiansquashopen.com

[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) 16-14, 11-7, 12-10 (59m)