By Jay D. Prince
Egyptian maestro Ramy Ashour mastered the tenacious challenge of England’s Nick Matthew to win the Davenport North American Open.
Ashour, appearing in his fifth consecutive final of the PSA World Series squash event, continued his long unbeaten run to delight the full-house crowd of almost 1,000 spectators at the Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia.
Matthew, who had beaten Ashour in the 2010 and 2011 finals, produced a spirited recovery to win the third game, but Ashour turned on the style again to clinch a second Richmond title.
His previous win in Virginia had also been against Matthew in 2009.
Ashour’s 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 victory was achieved after 65 minutes of high-quality squash from both players.
After completing his 31st consecutive victory in his ninth PSA Tour final in a row, Ashour kissed the floor of the Westwood Club and thanked his opponent for a tremendous match.
“Nick is a great player and we seem to feed off this rivalry,” said Ashour. “We have met in so many finals and, whoever wins, the other one gets back to work to raise their game to meet the challenge.
“We are both inspiring each other to work even harder. He plays great squash in all four corners of the court and you have to be playing your best squash to beat him.
“Once again the crowd here in Richmond was fantastic, the tournament is organized brilliantly, and I think the whole show this week proves that squash should be in the Olympics.
“All the players love coming to Richmond and the Jefferson Hotel is the best we stay at anywhere in the world so we all look forward to coming back next year.”
The Yorkshireman later told his Twitter followers: “Tried everything in my power today to stop the Ramy bandwagon including wearing @uvasquash t-shirt in the warm up to get the crowd on my side.
“But the guy is on a roll at the moment. 30 matches unbeaten is great effort. At least it was final not semi.”
For further information, visit the official event website www.naosquash.com