After their dominating presence in the quarterfinals, three squash stars from England could make no further progress as all of them lost their next matches. Nick Matthews was the lone Englishman, who still stood out but he had to bow out of the tournament next day under tragic circumstances. In the quarterfinal matches played on April 8, 2015, Mohamed Elshorbagy had defeated Peter Barker, Ramy Ashour accounted for James Willstrop and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier had ended the heroics of Daryl Selby. But world no.2 Nick Matthews had come through to set up a semifinal clash with one of the best squash players in the world, Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt. On April 9, however, Matthews had to drop out in the middle of his semifinal match with Elshorbagy despite winning the first game. In the second game, while playing a shot, Matthews dropped to the floor clutching his Achilles. Despite support from physios, Matthews failed to recover and had to yield the match. The final of the 2015 El Gouna International, PSA World Series, tournament will now be an all-Egyptian affair with PSA’s World no.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy taking on the reigning World Champion Ramy Ashour, who defeated France’s world no.3 Gregory Gaultier.
Before his exit from the 2015 El Gouna International Tournament, world no.2 Nick Matthews reached a personal milestone of 600 career appearances in PSA World Tour events, when he met Egypt’s Omar Mosaad in the quarterfinals. Matthews went on to win that match and also notched up his 445th PSA World Tour victory. It was a physically demanding match in hot and humid conditions and though Matthews lost the first game, he held his nerves to beat Mosaad. The Egyptian has never won against the Englishman in their previous 6 PSA world tour meetings and probably wanted the victory more than Matthews. But Matthews held on and entered his 12th consecutive semifinal in PSA tournaments. But as luck would have it, Nick Matthews had to bow out against top seeded Mohamed Elshorbagy after winning the first game 11-6 in the semifinal. The 34-year old Englishman was progressing well, when an innocuous court movement in second game caused some trouble to Matthews’ heel. The Englishman slumped on the floor clutching his heel. The Egyptian had taken a 6-3 lead at that time but saw Matthews in obvious pain. The medico tried their best but Matthews couldn’t recover from the injury and he was forced to concede the match to Elshorbagy.
With Matthews out of the reckoning, the final on April 10 will be an all-Egyptian affair, in which Elshorbagy will take on compatriot Ramy Ashour, who became the World Champion after beating no one else but Mohamed Elshorbagy in the final of the World Championships at Doha in November 2014. In the semifinal yesterday, Ashour defeated Gregory Gaultier of France 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 in match that lasted 64 minutes. The Egyptian lost the first game but took hold of himself in disposing of the Frenchman in the next three games to set up the championship clash with Elshorbagy.
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