Egyptian superstar Ramy Ashour completed a remarkable
comeback to competitive action on the PSA World Tour, seeing
off compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy to win a thrilling finale
in the 2015 El Gouna International PSA World Series event.
The 27-year-old hasn't competed on tour since he won the
2014 World Championship in December, where he beat
Elshorbagy in a similarly gripping 3-2, and he inflicted
heart-break on the 24-year-old World No.1 once again in
front of a raucous crowd on Egypt's Red Coast.
"It's such a privilege for me to have played and won in
front of this great crowd in this amazing venue here in
Egypt," said Ashour.
"It's something I'm really proud of."
was no let up from either man during what what a blistering
94-minute thriller, playing at a ferocious pace from the off
and it was Ashour who had the better of the early exchanges,
capitalising to take a commanding two-game lead.
But Elshorbagy responded to take the third game and then
saved several championship points to force the match into a
decider when he raced out to take a commanding lead before
finding himself with championship point in hand.
Then history repeated itself as just five months after
Ashour prevented him from winning the World Championship
with match ball in hand, the man know as the Artist struck
again, taking the game to a tie-break scenario which he
clinched to scenes of high emotion.
believe that this match was a lot harder than the World
Championship final," said Ashour.
"The pace was incredible from the start and we were both
very stubborn. Neither of us wanted to let go and we just
fought to the last point and that's what we did.
"It's always a great battle between us and he really pushes
me every time which is what is so special about this sport."
final of the 2015 El Gouna International, PSA World Series,
tournament will see Egyptian pairing Mohamed Elshorbagy
(right, striker), the World No.1, and Ramy Ashour, the
current World Champion, collide in a mouth-watering contest.
The duo last met in the final of the 2014 World Championship
when Ashour won what is considered to be one of the greatest
finals ever, and they met here 12 months ago when it was
also the elder man, at 27, who triumphed, but Elshorbagy
will be confident of changing his fortunes when they
face-off once again tomorrow.
The 24-year-old from Alexandria has already claimed one
World Series title this year, January's J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions, and after his semi-final opponent
Nick Matthew was forced to retire due to injury, he'll be
going into the final fresh and confident of victory.
"Obviously I'm happy to be in the final but that's not the
way anyone wants to win," said Elshorbagy.
"When you're a competitor you want to earn your place in the
final. The second game was shaping up to be a great battle
and I feel really sad for him and I hope he recovers quickly
and gets back on court soon.
"It's not a victory that I can enjoy but I'm going to
prepare for tomorrow as best I can and give it everything."
(left, striker) ensured he remains in contention to defend
his title with an impressive 3-1 win over World No.3 Gregory
Gaultier, coming from one-game down against the Frenchman to
seal the win.
"Greg really came out firing in the first game, he was up
for it and I had to react to that," said Ashour.
"I had to really dig in and react to his shots and his pace
and push my body and thankfully everything went well.
"Mohamed is the World No.1 and he's the toughest player out
there but I really want to do my best tomorrow. I'm grateful
for what I've achieved so far but I want more and I'm going
to fight for it with every breath."
Matthew And Elshorbagy
To Collide In El Gouna Semis
No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy (right) and World No.2 Nick Matthew
will meet in a third consecutive PSA World Series event in
2015 when they take to the court for the semi-finals of the
2015 El Gouna International in EL Gouna, Egypt tomorrow.
Elshorbagy is the only man to have beaten Matthew (left) so
far in 2015, out-powering the 34-year-old to win the first
Word Series event of the year, the J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions. but Matthew has claimed three consecutive event
titles since then including the Guggenheim Partners Windy
City Open where he produced an imperious display to beat
three-time World Champion had to come through a brutal
encounter against World No.9 Omar Mosaad, played in
difficult conditions, to book his place in the last four in
what was his 600th PSA World Tour match.
"I'm not sure I've ever played in tougher humid conditions
than tonight because those conditions were brutal," said
"I had a bit of a blip in the fourth game, when my intensity
dropped a little, but I'm really pleased with how I came
back from that and there's lots of recovery work to be done
now ahead of tomorrow."
On winning for the 445th time Matthew said: "It's great to
get another win on the tour and to hit 445 is nice. I've got
55 to go and maybe then I'll retire!"
Elshorbagy booked his last four spot with a 3-0 win over
Peter Barker to keep alive his hopes of bettering his
runner-up finish here in 2014.
"Tomorrow is the battle of the number one and two so it will
be a big battle for certain," said Elshorbagy.
played a lot recently and in the finals in New York and
Chicago. I beat him in New York and he beat me in Chicago so
hopefully tomorrow it will be my turn."
In the bottom half of the draw defending EL Gouna
International champion Ramy Ashour (right) moved into the
last four with an impressive win over England's James
Willstrop while Daryl Selby was the third Englishman to fall
at the last eight hurdle, losing out 3-0 to World No.3
Selby Stars As English
Quartet March Into El Gouna Quarters
Daryl Selby (right) starred as an English quartet marched
into the quarter-finals of the 2015 El Gouna International,
PSA World Series event taking place on Egypt's Red Sea
Selby, who has fallen to World No.15 in the rankings, showed
incredible fighting spirit and desire to get the better of
World No.5 Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the ferociously fast
Colombian who has flown up the rankings so far in 2015,
while Peter Barker, Nick Matthew and James Willstrop also
won to cap a successful day for English hopes.
Selby was forced to come from two-games-to-one down in order
to prevail against Rodriguez in a thrilling 105-minute
encounter that earned him a place against French World No.3
Gregory Gaultier in the last eight, with the Frenchman the
only non-English or Egyptian player left standing.
"I had really tough hard fought match yesterday against
Nicolas Mueller and today was another really tough match,"
"Miguel has improved so much recently and he's fully
deserving of being a top 5 ranked player so for me that's a
big win as he is one of the best players around at the
"I've been playing better and better recently and I'm
proving to myself that I still have what it takes and that I
can still play at the very top level so today was very
pleasing and I'm looking forward to coming back tomorrow."
(left) eased past Karim Abdel Gawad to book his place in the
quarters while the Egyptian trio of defending champion Ramy
Ashour, World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and World No.9 Omar
Mosaad ensured the home fans will have plenty to cheer when
the action resumes tomorrow (Wednesday April 8).
Ashour, who has missed the last four months through injury,
was forced to come from one-game down against talented
compatriot Fares Dessouki in order to keep his hopes of
retaining the title alive.
"I was expecting him to come out fighting and I knew it
would be tough," said Ashour.
"He's a very smart and explosive player and he's hard to
play but i think I did well today and it's just great to be
back and to be competing with all these amazing athletes on
click on images for larger
Simpson Shocks Shabana In El
four-time World Champion Amr Shabana suffered a shock first round
exit during the second day of action at the 2015 El Gouna
International PSA World Series event, falling to England's Chris
Simpson (right) 3-2 in a topsy-turvy 57-minute encounter.
The former World No.1 had cruised to an early two-game lead against
Simpson, the World No.22, and looked odds on to seal a
straight-forward victory but the 34-year-old then appeared to
self-destruct, recording a catalogue of errors as Simpson fought
back and levelled the match.
The 28-year-old then held his nerve to complete the 5-11, 7-11,
11-5, 11-4, 11-5 triumph and inflict Shabana's first PSA World
Series first round defeat since the 2011 Qatar Classic.
"After the second game I thought that was going to be one of my
worst ever defeats to him," said Simpson.
"But I'm not sure what even happened after that. I managed to get
some long rallies in and he seemed to lose a bit of interest which
worked in my favour and I'm incredibly happy to win that match.
"Amr has been my idol since I first started playing and it's very
hard to get over the respect you have for someone like that and be
competitive but I managed to do that and it's a strange feeling for
me to get a win over him."
will now face James Willstrop (left), another former World No.1, in
his second round encounter after the man from Pontefract came from
one-game down to see off South African Stephen Coppinger.
"James and I train together a lot and he's been No.1 before as well
so it's two classy players one after the other for me," added
"I'm going to recover tonight and do my best for tomorrow."
Elsewhere on day two of action defending El Gouna International
champion Ramy Ashour, the 2014 World Champion, survived a double
scare against Marwan Elshorbagy, losing the opening game and
suffering an initially potentially troublesome knee injury before
surging through to a 3-1 win.
(right in white) hasn't competed on the PSA World Tour since winning
the World Championship in November but he'll be hoping to return to
winning ways again in his home country.
"It's great to be here and playing in Egypt again," said Ashour.
"It's a big deal for us and we're proud to have such a world class
event taking place here and it's a just a privilege to be competing.
"Marwan is doing well at the minute and I knew it would be tough
match. He gave me a hard game and I'm happy he pushed me that way.
"I was a little off at the start of the match. I'm coming back from
a brutal period in my life with injuries and I'm fighting every day
with myself and the injuries but I have been doing this all of my
life and I will keep on pushing."
Round Top Half
click on images for larger
Ghosal and Hesham Stun Seeds In
Egyptian qualifier Mazen Hesham delighted the home crowd at the 2015
El Gouna International, PSA World Series event, with a stunning 3-1
win over World No.10 Simon Rösner during the opening day of action
from the Red Sea resort.
Hesham, the maverick and unpredictable World No.30, produced a
mercurial display as he out-gunned Rösner from the start, executing
an array of incredible winners whilst keeping his error count low to
deny the powerful man from Paderborn the opportunity to get on the
"I’m happy with how I played today because I was patient when I
needed to be patient and I played the right pace when I needed to,"
"Since the beginning of the year I have had a lot of matches where I
came very close to winning and then to lose but I'm really happy it
all came together here in front of my family and my friends in
will now take on compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy (left), the 2014
runner-up, in a mouth-watering second round encounter after the
World No.1 made sure of his place in the second round with an
effortless 3-0 win over Ali Farag, the Egyptian who toppled seeded
Gregiore Marche in qualification, while indian Saurav Ghosal also
upset the rankings as he edged a tense affair against World No.7
Ghosal, the World No.23 from Kolkata, raced out to a two-game lead
against a lacklustre looking Momen before the Egyptian began to find
his form and when Ghosal squandered several match ball
opportunities, the scores were level and Momen looked the dominant
28-year-old Ghosal (right) managed to withstand some nervy exchanges
in the deciding fifth game to take the match 12-10, 11-1, 7-11,
12-14, 11-9 in 85-minutes to set up a second round encounter with
"We're both similar players in the way we move and the amount of
attacking play we instinctively like to play so it makes for an
entertaining match and we tend to play well against each other,"
"Tarek showed real guts to come back when I was 2-0 up today and he
played unbelievable in the fourth game especially. I'm really happy
to have played so well against him and to have gotten the win
against a top ranked player.
"I don't think I played badly on any of those match ball points but
I was ecstatic to stick one on the wall and win the match in the
The first round continues tomorrow, with action from the bottom half
of the draw which includes defending title holder Ramy Ashour.
Farag Leads Egyptian Charge Into
El Gouna Main Draw
World No.73 Ali Farag pulled off a shock upset in the final round of
qualification to lead a five-strong Egyptian contingent into the
main draw of the 2015 El Gouna International, PSA World Series event
taking place in the Red Sea Resort.
Farag stunned top seeded qualifier Gregoire Marche, the World No.26
from France, with an impressive 3-1 victory that will see him
compete in the main draw of a World Series event for the first time
since the 2014 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions while number two
seed Mazen Hesham along with Mohamed Abouelghar, Karim Ali Fathi and
Omar Abdel Meguid all won their encounters to complete a victorious
day for Egyptian squash.
Those wins mean that there will now be 14 Egyptian players competing
in the 32-man strong field which is headlined by World No.1 Mohamed
Elshorbagy and World Champion Ramy Ashour - the men who contested
the final here 12 months ago.
Following his victory over Marche, Farag will now face World No.1
Elshorbagy in the first round while after a tough five-game
encounter with Henrik Mustonen of Finaland the talented Mazen Hesham
will face German Simon Rösner.
Elsewhere Meguid will face Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet, Abouelghar
will take on compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad and Karim Ali Fathi will
play the dynamic Colombian cannonball Miguel Angel Rodriguez, this
month celebrating a record high World No.5 ranking.