BritOpen Update: Ashour returns to squash with stunning fight back
Egyptian Ramy Ashour made a sensational return from injury at the Allam British Open as he came from two games down to beat Cesar Salazar to mark his first competitive match on the PSA World Tour since he crashed out of the 2015 World Championship at the quarter-final stage.
Mexican Salazar stunned Ashour as he deservedly blitzed his way to an 11-1 win in the first game to the disbelief of those watching with Salazar’s movement around the court simply not matched by the world number five.
Ashour showed few signs of improvement in the second while, in contrast, Salazar maintained his momentum with some lovely length play. The Egyptian began to curse his luck when the Mexican managed to lift an improbable get to go 9-4 ahead and steal a march in the second game.
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That frustration culminated in the third game when he received a conduct warning for swearing after losing a point, which cut his lead to 5-4. However it proved a turning point for Ashour as the next exchange, a high quality rally which could have gone either way, displayed Ashour's never-say-die attitude as he powered his way through.
As the quality of squash improved, the balance of power changed and it was Salazar who looked off the pace as he struggled to cope with the 2013 British Open winner’s movement. In the fifth game we saw glimpses of the 28-year-old's best form. He stormed to an 8-1 lead and was in complete control, winning points at the front and he even had time for delightful trick-shot back hand windmill into the nick which saw him go 9-3 up and on the brink of an incredible victory.
With the entire PSA World Tour watching keenly to see how he performed, Ashour's determination shone and while more game time is needed, the Egyptian insists he is pleased to be out there playing.
“I was happy and grateful that I was moving and playing,” he said.
“Even my injuries are a blessing in disguise. I look at the bigger picture and I’m still breathing, still walking. It’s like being annoyed about having slippers and wanting shoes but then you see someone with bare feet and you appreciate your slippers.”
His injury is something that he wants to put behind him and after encouraging signs in the last three games, Ashour just hopes to look forward.
“I don’t want to talk about how hard it was because it’s pointless,” he said.
“What I say is not going to suffice what it was like but that’s how you get by things. I’ve got to the point now where I say bring it on, are there any more injuries? I can face more although at the same time I’m very fragile so it’s a complex formula going round my head.
“At the moment I have no aim, no goal. I’m just trying to forget about what I want, or what I would like.”