After an absence of nearly six months from squash courts, Ramy Ashour of Egypt came back to claim the men’s championship of the 2015 NetSuite Squash Open in San Francisco. In the title game, the Egyptian defeated England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew. The tournament also included women’s draw for the first time this year and USA’s no.1 player Amanda Sobhy won the inaugural championship by defeating England’s Sarah-Jane Perry, much to the delight of the capacity crowd at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco.
Before the 2015 NetSuite Open, Ramy Ashour had already won 36 PSA World Tour titles in his long cherished squash career. He won his 37th career title on the World Tour on September 29, 2015 after nearly six-month long hiatus from the squash circuit. Incidentally, Ashour’s absence from squash began after he limped off the court in the 2013 World Championship semi-final against Nick Mathews and his intervening comebacks were still fraught with hosts of injuries. On Tuesday, however, Ashour was in sublime form as he defeated the 35-year-old Englishman to announce his latest comeback to the PSA circuit. The Egyptian had a tough tournament regardless of his victory in the final. In the quarterfinal, he had to contend with Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly, against whom the Egyptian had to fight before coming through in four games 11-5, 11-5, 13-11, 11-4. Ashour’s semifinal was even tougher as he faced second-seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier. Ashour won the first game but lost the next two. However, a steely resolve and improved play in the fourth and fifth game saw the Egyptian finally beating Gaultier 11-4, 5-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-3.
In the final, the opening exchanges between Ashour and Mathews were full of errors. However, as the importance of the event dawned on Ashour, he managed to string together a series of winners and took the first game 11-7. Not to be outdone, the Englishman came out strongly in the second and raced away to a 7-2 lead. But the Egyptian rallied to level scores to 9-9. Mathews, however stayed on course and benefitting from a controversial overruling by the video referee at 10-9, pocketed the second game 11-9. Ashour, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, found his rhythm and composure and flew off to a 5-0 lead in the third game and despite Matthew mounting a comeback; Ashour denied him the third game, which was full of one of the finest display in squash. Both players brought out the best in their arsenal. There were power drives, cross court volleys, slow boasts, feather drop shots and the drop lobs. But Ashour’s pinpoint accuracy and indecipherable shots wrong-footed Mathews on several occasions and he took the game 11-5. In the fourth game, Ashour continued in the same vein and after 59 minutes, sealed victory with a score-line of 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4. Ashour also secured his second NetSuite Open title after the first in 2013, when he had defeated Gregory Gaultier. On Tuesday, the crowd sang the birthday song for Ramy Ashour during the trophy presentation to make his victory memorable.
It was the first year that the NetSuite open had included the women’s draw and USA’s no.1 player Amanda Sobhy won the title to the delight of viewers at the Justin Herman Plaza. In the final, Sobhy defeated England’s Sarah-Jane Perry to claim the 2015 NetSuite Open. Despite the chill in the evening air, both players quickly got heated up as they battled for the top honors. Sobhy had a dominant tournament, reaching the final with the loss of just one game. World no.15 Perry had done likewise in her progress to the title match. The two women had played against each other just once on the PSA World Tour and Perry had won that match and therefore, the Englishwoman had an edge. But past performance statistic is no guarantees for the level of play on another day. Sobhy had a strong start and she generated a punishing pace to take the opening game. However, it was Perry, who responded equally well in the second by moving Sobhy all over the court. The 22-year old Sobhy reaffirmed her current status as one of the rising stars in women’s squash and resumed control in the third game to win 11-5. The fourth game was a nail biter and the American missed two match-balls before taking the 2015 NetSuite Open with an 11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 12-10.