Ramy Ashour added a 37th career PSA World Tour title to his
impressive collection after defeating three-time World Champion Nick
Matthew in the final of the 2015 NetSuite Open, PSA M100 tournament,
in San Francisco today (Sep 29).
Competing in his first tournament since April Ashour, who has been
dogged by injury since limping off court against Matthew during the
2013 World Championship semi-finals, was in sublime form as he
out-gunned the 35-year-old Englishman to take the match 3-1 and get
his latest comeback off to the perfect start.
“It feels great to be back in San Francisco and to win this title
for a second time,” said Ashour, who beat Gregory Gaultier in the
2013 NetSuite Open final.
always had a great rivalry with Nick and we’ve gone back and forth
against each other over the years. He’s a great athlete and a great
ambassador for the sport and it takes a lot to beat him - he keeps
you on your toes and you really have to dig in against him.
“Every time I go on court I try to give 100 per cent. I’m always
trying to learn from every player on court because there is so
little between the top players these days. I know what I can do on
court but it can be anyone’s victory on any day."
Commenting on the event, which took place under the shadow of San
Francisco’s stunning Bay Bridge, Ashour said: “San Francisco has
been very special for me – everything about being here is great and
the atmosphere is fantastic. There’s a lot of effort that goes into
putting on an event like this and all the guys behind the scenes
have been amazing.
“It’s been great to be here this week and hopefully I’ll be back to
compete again next year.”
The opening exchanges of the encounter were blighted with errors as
the significance of the occasion made itself felt on both men before
Ashour managed to string together a series of winners to take the
first game 11-7.
Matthew came out strong in the second to dictate proceedings and
flip the momentum of the match, levelling the scores at 1-1 after a
controversial overrule from the video referee at 10-9 handed him the
game, much to the dismay of his opponent.
But Ashour, competing on the day of his 28th birthday, recomposed
himself and got off to a flying start in the third game - easing
into a 5-0 lead. Matthew, one of the most tenacious competitors on
the tour, showed just why he’s known as ‘The Wolf’ as he dug in to
mount a comeback but he couldn’t live with Ashour’s pinpoint
accuracy and unpredictable shot-making talents.
With a 2-1 advantage secured Ashour continued his barrage in the
fourth and had too much in his locker, sealing the match, and his
second NetSuite Open title, after 59-minutes on court – winning
11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4.
“I kept telling myself in the fourth game that it wasn’t over but
Ramy is a different kettle of fish,” said Matthew – who had saved
multiple match balls during his quarter-final encounter with German
“How a guy as good as him doesn’t get the chance to grace the
Olympic Games is a joke really - you’re scratching your head against
him at times but I’ll go away and keep working to catch him and
World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy.
“Hopefully my body will hold together for a little bit longer as
I’ve really been enjoying my squash recently.”
Inaugural NetSuite Women's Open Title
number one Amanda Sobhy delighted a capacity crowd in San Francisco
earlier today when she defeated England’s Sarah-Jane Perry to claim
the 2015 NetSuite Open, PSA W25 title.
Although the evening air was chilly as the championship match got
underway, the open-air NetSuite Challenge Court in Justin Herman
Plaza on the Embarcadero quickly heated up as two top seeds battled
to see who would secure the inaugural NetSuite Women’s trophy.
Sobhy stormed her way through the draw, dropping just one game en
route to the final, as did her opponent world no. 15 Sarah-Jane
Perry. The 25-year-old Englishwoman had a slight edge coming into
the championship match, having triumphed in their only previous
meeting on the PSA World Tour. In a compelling title-decider, it was
the World No.19 who took the spoils to rapturous applause.
Sobhy started strongly, attacking the ball quickly and hitting with
punishing pace, to take the opening game. Perry responded in the
second by moving her opponent deeper in the court and then hitting
her trademark trickle boast to tie the match. The 22-year-old
left-hander reasserted her status as one of the sport’s most
promising talents when she resumed control in the third game, again
dictating a quicker and stronger pace to win with relative ease.
Despite watching two match balls go to waste in the fourth, Sobhy
regrouped to win the championship on the third attempt, prevailing
11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 12-10.
feeling great right now and I’m just really happy to get the win
here tonight,” said Sobhy, who has embarked on a full-time career as
touring professional after graduating from Harvard University this
past May. “It was a big goal of mine to come here and perform well,
especially leading up to the US Open in a couple of weeks. I’m
playing SJ again there in the first round and I know she’ll come
Joining Tournament Director John Nimick and NetSuite founder Evan
Goldberg for the trophy prsentation was 10-year-old Mika Barden, who
had taken it upon herself to raise an additional $15,000 through a
crowdfunding campaign to increase the women’s purse to $25,000.
Barden's organization, GirlShape, will continue to raise money to
advance gender parity. Champion Sobhy endorsed that goal. “Thanks to
all the organisers for putting on a really great women’s event here
in San Francisco. It’s been fantastic to play here and hopefully we
can keep growing this event in the future and have equal prize money
for the women and men.”
Men's Semi Finals
Ashour Downs Gaultier To Set Up
NetSuite Decider With Nick Matthew
Squash World Champion Ramy Ashour (right) signalled his return to
the upper echelons of the sport following a five-month injury
absence courtesy of a magnificent victory over Gregory Gaultier in
the semi-finals of the 2015 NetSuite Open, PSA M100 tournament.
In front of a capacity crowd outside the stunning San Francisco
Ferry Building Ashour, who beat Gaultier in the title decider in
2013, unloaded his entire arsenal of outrageous shots in a
back-and-forth encounter in which he made the World No.3 appear
average at times.
The victory sees Ashour, who has only competed at three events
during an injury-blighted 12 months, secure a place in his 54th PSA
World Tour final where he’ll be hoping to claim title number 37
against England’s World No.2 and top seed Nick Matthew.
“It’s amazing to be back in San Fran – there’s a great energy from
the crowd here and it’s good to be here and be performing well,”
“To play against someone like Greg takes a lot out of you – he’s a
top athlete and it’s not easy to play him – and it’s the same
against all the top ten players so I’m just happy with my result
today and hopefully I can do the same with Nick tomorrow.
“We both know each other’s games and it won’t be an easy match – but
I’m certain it will be an entertaining match and a really tough
battle. I’m going to give it 100 per cent and may the better player
27-year-old Ashour shot out of the blocks against 2014 champion
Gaultier, hitting winners for fun as he completely outclassed the
former World No.1 in the opening game but it was role reversal in
the second, as the Frenchman enjoyed the better of proceedings to
level the scores and set the scene for what followed.
The 32-year-old from Aix-en-Provence continued to enjoy the upper
hand during the third game before a nervy tie-break ensued which
Gaultier took– but only after squandering several game-ball
The ebb and flow continued in the fourth as Ashour raced into a 6-0
lead and a lung-bursting rally to go 7-0 ahead, which had the
on-looking crowd watching in disbelief, appeared the break
Gaultier’s resolve both mentally and physically and from then on it
was the man know as ‘The Artist’ who dominated proceedings –
eventually taking the match 11-4, 5-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-3.
both played well and pushed each other to the limits. We have great
respect for each other on and off court and it’s a fair rivalry
between us and there’ll be more battles to come for sure,” added
Matthew (left) booked his place in the final courtesy of a composed
and professional 3-1 victory over World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
Quarter Finals Lower Half Report
NetSuite Defence Alive In San Francisco
NetSuite Open champion Gregory Gaultier kept alive his hopes of
retaining the trophy in the 2015 iteration of the PSA M100
tournament, and of claiming the title for the third time overall,
following a thrilling four-game encounter with England’s James
Willstrop in San Francisco.
Frenchman was taken to the brink against Egyptian Ali Farag in the
first round of action but showed no signs of any physical weariness
as he came out all guns blazing to romp to the opening game after
just nine minutes.
But Willstrop, who has been slowly recovering from a career-threating
hip injury during the past 12 months, responded in style, showing
glimpses of the form and signature precision hitting that saw him
top the world rankings for 11 months in 2012 as he dictated the pace
to level the scores.
Drama, tension, intense rallies and superlative hitting dominated a
tight third game as both players traded winners to the delight of
the crowd but it was Gaultier who edged it and the physical exertion
took it’s toll on 6’4" Willstrop as his energy levels dropped in the
fourth game, allowing the World No.3 to pounce and secure passage to
“That was a very tough four games tonight,” said Gaultier.
“James is definitely improving and that’s the best I’ve seen him
play for a while. At the beginning I was attacking and I could see
he was struggling to move but in the second he came out and
surprised me and was getting all my shots back.
“Luckily I managed to win the third game which was a big advantage
for me and I was able to let my arm go a little in the fourth so I’m
very happy to go through today.”
The 32-year-old from Aix-en-Provence will now take on World Champion
Ramy Ashour (left), the man who beat him in the 2013 NetSuite Open
final, in tomorrow’s semi-finals when the duo will be facing off for
the 31st time on the PSA World Tour.
Ashour booked his last four berth with a comfortable 3-1 win over
Australian qualifier Ryan Cuskelly while the top half of the draw
will see top seed Nick Matthew take on dynamic Colombian World No.4
Miguel Angel Rodriguez for a place in the final.
Quarter Finals Top Half Report
Digs Deep To Keep NetSuite Glory Hopes Alive
World Champion Nick Matthew was forced to draw on all his 18-years
of professional experience as he came within a whisker of exiting
the 2015 NetSuite Open at the quarter-final stage against German
Simon Rösner in San Francisco today (Sept 26).
In all their seven previous meetings Matthew, the 35-year-old winner
of 33 PSA World Tour titles, had never dropped more than a game
against the 27-year-old World No.7 but needed all his trademark
fighting spirit to keep his tournament alive when he found himself
10-6 and match-ball down in the fourth game.
Matthew, traditionally one of the strongest starters on tour, was
behind from the off as Rösner came out firing with precision and
pace to take the opening game and after sealing the third after a
nervy tie-break, the powerful man from Paderborn looked on course to
record a career-defining win. But Matthew called on every fibre of
his Yorkshire-grit to save four match-balls and force a fifth and
deciding game - which he eventually sealed 11-7 after 96-minutes of
compelling, nail-biting drama.
“I’ve a good head to head record against him and normally I’ve
broken him down after a game or two but tonight I never felt like I
did that and I had to fight for every point,” said Matthew.
“He was taking the volley away from me and mentally I had to put in
so much focus to every shot that I struggled to implement my game
plan. I had to dig deep and all credit to him as that’s the best
he’s played against me.
“I used all my experience in that fourth game to make sure I didn’t
panic and stay composed but aggressive as well. There were a lot of
guts in there as well because I just didn’t want to lose tonight.
“Once it got to the fifth I felt like I had the momentum and the
experience behind me. I thought that if I managed a good start then
I could push on and I’m happy I managed to do that.”
opponent in the semi-final will be the entertaining Colombian Miguel
Angel Rodriguez (left), who secured his place in the last four
courtesy of a similarly dramatic come-from-behind win over
Australian Cameron Pilley in a titanic 108-minute battle.
Rodriguez too was match-ball down in the fourth game against an
inspired Pilley, who produced some of his best play of the last
18-months to dictate the pace and unsettle the Colombian from the
start, but after a series of nervy exchanges the man from Bogota
managed to save the match and force a decider - which he managed to
“Cameron played very well tonight and I had to play at 100 per cent
in the entire match to try and match him,” said Rodriguez.
“He’s a very talented player and he was playing amazing today. I was
focusing so much on retrieving the ball and not making a mistake in
that forth game, which was crucial, and I was lucky to win the
Quarter Finals Report
Home Star Sobhy Shines In San Francisco
number one Amanda Sobhy (right) lived up to her billing as the
number one seed at the 2015 NetSuite Open PSA W25 tournament as she
emphatically saw of Welsh challenger Tesni Evans in the marquee
match-up of the quarter-finals in San Francisco.
Recent Harvard-graduate Sobhy, World No.19, dispatched the World
No.28 3-0 after just 26-minutes to the delight of the partisan crowd
and cruise into the semi-finals where she will be hoping to overcome
Danish challenger Line Hansen and move into the finale.
“I love playing in the US because the crowd is so amazing and when
people come and support me it makes me want to push harder and play
my best and to play at this venue is amazing,” said Sobhy.
“I’ve finally finished with school so this year my focus is to try
and enjoy being a full-time pro and not to try and squeeze in all
the events I haven’t played due to studying.
I can stay injury free and keep pushing hopefully I can crack the
single digits in the rankings and put in some good performances in
the bigger tournaments and see how it all goes.”
The bottom half of the draw will be an all-English affair between
number two seed Sarah-Jane Perry and Victoria Lust (left) after the
latter knocked out fourth seed Habiba Mohamed 3-1.
NetSuite Champion Narrowly Avoids First Round Exit
champion Gregory Gaultier came within a whisker of a shock first
round exit at the 2015 NetSuite Open, PSA M100 tournament, saving
multiple match balls against Egyptian Ali Farag to keep his
tournament alive following a dramatic 90-minute encounter.
After booking his place in the main draw after a 70-minute match
with French number three Gregoire Marche, the 23-year-old from Cairo
attacked the ball to take the match to Gaultier and unsettle the
French World No.3 from the off and it was a strategy that paid off
for the Harvard graduate as he came from 2-1 down to level the match
and force a fifth game.
Farag’s continued aggression was rewarded when he found himself with
two match balls in hand but he couldn’t convert and it was the a
relieved Gaultier who eventually sealed it 12-10 in the fifth.
“He played so well, it was unbelievable,” said Gaultier.
“I haven’t lost many first round matches over the last ten years but
the way he was playing I wouldn’t have had many complaints tonight.
I played quite well, I lost my concentration in places, but there
were only a few points that made the difference and I was lucky that
I won those points tonight.”
After the match Farag said: “Of course it’s disappointing to lose
but he has been in these situations hundreds of times and it was
experience that made the difference in the end.”
seed Nick Matthew, the World No.2, and 2014 World Champion Ramy
Ashour, the World No.5, suffered no such difficulties as they began
their campaigns with comfortable victories over Mazen Hesham and Tom
Richards, respectively while qualifier Ryan Cuskelly’s rich vein of
form continued as he followed up his surprise win over top seeded
qualification player Alister Walker with an impressive performance
against Mathieu Castagnet, taking out the World No.9 3-2 after a
brutal 101-minute battle.
Fellow Australian Cameron Pilley also upset the seeding to take out
World No.8 Peter Barker 3-0.
the women’s PSA W25 tournament American number two and World No.37
Olivia Blatchford (right) produced the performance, and shock, of the first
round as she surged to an impressive 3-2 win over Indian number
three seed and World No.17 Dipika Pallikal.
Blatchford stormed into an early two game advantage only to see
Pallikal mount a comeback and force a decider, but Blatchford
gathered herself and showed impressive maturity as she held her
nerve in a tense fifth game to take the match 11-9, 11-9, 6-11,
She was joined in the quarterfinals by compatriot and top seed
Amanda Sobhy, who ruthlessly saw off Mexican Samantha Teran in just
20 minutes as she bids to add a 14th PSA World Tour title to her
Galore In NetSuite Qualification
The final round of qualification at the 2015 NetSuite Open
a plethora of upsets across both the men’s PSA M100 and women’s PSA
W25 events as the top ranked players in both draws exited the
tournament in a series of shock results.
Cesar Salazar (left) of Mexico
defeated Dutchman Laurens Jans Anjema in straight games.
Australian Ryan Cuskelly produced a fine display to take out top
seeded qualifier Alister Walker in the men’s draw, seeing off the
former World No.12 in straight-games, while England’s Tom Richards
recovered form losing the opening game against second seeded Alan
Clyne to record a 3-1 win and book his place in the main draw where
he will go up against 2014 World Champion Ramy Ashour in what will
be the Egyptian’s first appearance on the PSA World Tour since
Ali Farag made it a hat trick of upsets in the men’s draw as he
overcame Frenchman Gregoire Marche following a thrilling 70-minute
battle in which he twice came from behind to earn his main draw
berth against French number one and World No.3 Gregory Gaultier -
the defending NetSuite Open champion.
In the women’s event English duo Fiona Moverley and Millie Tomlinson
(right in red) continued the underdog theme as they knocked out the
number one and number three seeds, respectively, while Tomlinson
impressing in her 3-1 win over Aisling Blake and Moverley edging
Frenchwoman Coline Aumard in a tense 3-2 encounter.
Local Players Are Gearing Up For
The Most Important International Squash Event In Northern California
NetSuite Open is around the corner and local players like Charlie
Johnson (right) have the opportunity to be part of it. Charlie is
the No. 1 ranked in California and he has very clear expectations
about the event. “I feel like I have nothing to loose and this is my
home court with my home crowd.” Charlie will be against another
English squash player Tom Richards, who is the No. 24 in the world.
“I know Richards pretty well, we are good friends. He is a top
player and I know what to expect. I’m just going to try no get
chopped so badly.”
Morgan (left) is a 17 year-old are squash player from Stanford,
California. At the age of 14, he was crowned the U.S. National
Junior Squash Champion in the U15 Boys division. He was the first
junior player from California to ever win a national championship.
Nationally, as a junior, Gabriel currently is ranked #4 in the Boys
U19 division and for him, being part of the NetSuite Open is
something more than special. ”It’s a big honor to again play in the
NetSuite Open, and I’m really looking forward to my match with Alan
Clyne (SCO). I’ve known Alan for a couple of years and, this past
summer, I trained with him at Yale as Team USA prepared for the
World Juniors. Alan is a terrific guy, a world-class squash player,
and it will be exciting to jump on court with him again. Hopefully,
we’ll put on a great show!"
Mariam Kamal is a 17 year-old squash player living in Novato,
California who got a local spot in the event. Mariam got 1st. Place
at the JCT Frank Miller Massachusetts Junior Championship this past
weekend. “It is a privilege for me because there were a lot of local
girls who wanted to participate in it and I got the opportunity. I’m
so excited to play. I know I will get a lot of experience from the
top players in the main draw, which I’m hoping I can get into. Also,
it is my first professional tournament so I know it will help me by
building up my career.” Mariam will play against Amanda
Landers-Murphy No.40 in the world from New Zealand. Tara Ayra is
also participating and she will play against the No. 44 in the world
Nouran El Torky. We wish them all the very best of luck.
Open To Begin With Bitter Rivalry
One of the most intense grudges in squash history will be rekindled
this September during the opening round of the 2015 NetSuite Open,
PSA M100 tournament, when three-time World Champion Nick Matthew
will lock horns will long-term domestic rival James Willstrop for
the first time since the final of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in
what promises to be a blistering encounter.
The duo, separated by just three years in age and thirty miles
geographically in their home county of Yorkshire, have maintained an
acrimonious relationship since first clashing in 2001 with Willstrop
going as far as citing his rival as ‘pretentious and vicious’ during
a 15-year rivalry that has produced some of the most memorable
matches in the history of squash.
Fans in San Francisco will be hoping to witness the latest
instalment of their epic saga when they meet in a mouth watering
first round match-up and with both men holding the World No.1
ranking in recent years they are certain to deliver a high-quality
“The draw for this year’s NetSuite Open is the strongest in the
tournament’s history and nowhere is that more epitomised than in a
first round clash between two of the greatest players we’ve seen in
recent years in the form of Nick and James,” said NetSuite Open
promoter John Nimick.
“The English pair have lit up squash courts around the world with
gruelling and compelling battles and squash fans on the West Coast
are in for a real treat when these two meet again here because
neither man will give an inch to the other.
“With such a high-class encounter headlining the opening day and
with a plethora of other recent world number ones seeded to clash
throughout the event, I believe we’re in for a special tournament in
Such a challenging opening encounter will make Matthew’s task of
living up to his number one seeding a daunting one while his main
title contenders such as current World Champion Ramy Ashour and
defending NetSuite title holder Gregory Gaultier will begin their
campaigns against yet-to-be-confirmed qualifiers.
Both men will be hoping to avoid drawing unpredictably talented
Egyptian shot-maker Mazen Hesham, the 24-year-old who tops the
qualification draw, while World Junior Champion Diego Elias, who won
silver during the recent PanAmerican Games, will also be a name to
watch during the qualification campaign.
2015 NetSuite Open PSA M100 - First Round Draw:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v James Willstrop (ENG)
[WC] Mike Lewis (USA) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[Qualifier] v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[Qualifier] v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2015 NetSuite Open PSA M100 - Qualification Entry List:
Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Alister Walker (BOT)
Tom Richards (ENG)
Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Alan Clyne (SCO)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Adrian Grant (ENG)
Ali Farag (EGY)
Diego Elias (PER)
Raphael Kandra (GER)
Charlie Johnson (ENG)
Gabriel Morgan (USA)
Julian Illingworth (USA)
Chris Hanson (USA)
The 2015 NetSuite Open takes place at Justin Herman Plaza, San
Francisco, with tickets for the tournament priced from $40 and
available to purchase by visiting