Ramy Ashour wins third World Squash Championship title

Ramy Ashour beats Mohamed Elshorbagy to win third World Squash Championship title

By Joel Durston

Ramy Ashour reclaimed his throne in a thrilling World Championship final against fellow Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy in front of a packed house in Qatar.

As with the pair’s other meeting in the final of squash’s premier competition two years ago, which Ashour also won, the match lasted 90 minutes and went the gruelling distance.

It was dramatic and it was brutal – it was like a fight

Ramy Ashour

Even more so this time as Elshorbagy saved five straight championship balls to take the match 14-12 in the fifth game tie-break (two clear points at 10-10).

Amid much controversy over lets/strokes, debated double bounces and even sweat patches from Ashour’s incredible full-length dives, the three-time champion earned another championship ball, which Elshorbagy again saved before setting up one of his own.

Ashour held his nerve to win that and earn another – his seventh – championship ball, and then a fine backhand drop-shot sent him into seventh heaven.

The ‘Artist’ getting to the tournament was an achievement in itself given the injury problems which have plagued him right up to the tournament.

After his amazing 49-game unbeaten run came to an unfortunate end as he had to walk off injured in this tournament last year in Manchester, he revealed the pain and fatigue he had playing through due to hard-to-pinpoint problems with his hamstring, pressured by his incredible movement.

And similar problems have flared up this season, causing him to pull out of the Netsuite Open, US Open and Hong Kong Open, meaning he had not played a competitive match for six months coming into this tournament.

Indeed, after he took a brutal 30-minute-plus first game here, Ashour seemed troubled by some injury – perhaps his shoulder – as he was playing nearly everything short into the front corners.

But he showed typical character to firstly push Elshorbagy in the second and third games and then come back and take the fourth and fifth games spectacularly.

Ashour said: “I’m speechless. It’s an unbelievable feeling and I just can’t believe it.

“I have worked so hard both mentally and physically to get myself ready for this tournament – it doesn’t get any better than this.

“It was dramatic and it was brutal – it was like a fight. We were both trying to get inside the other’s game but nobody succeeded – we were both producing our best squash.

“In that last game we both had match balls and it was back and forth between us, we both wanted so badly to be World Champion and winning my third world title means so much to me – this is a very special moment.”

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