Maverick Egyptian Ramy Ashour marked his return to the PSA World Tour with victory in an entertaining encounter with Indian number one Saurav Ghosal while all four seeded players in action secured their second round spots in contrast to yesterday’s action that saw number three seed Miguel Angel Rodriguez suffer a shock defeat.
Ashour came through 3-0 in an encounter that saw the three-time World Champion moving without any signs of the hamstring issues that have plagued him over the past few years.
Ashour has missed the lion’s share of the past two seasons on Tour and has seen his World Ranking plummet to a decade-low No.12, but he looked to have put his demons to rest as he scampered around court in an encounter that saw both men produce fast-paced, entertaining play.
Ghosal gamely stuck with Ashour from the early to mid stages of all three games before the man known as the Artist displayed his array of attacking talents to push ahead and set up a second round encounter with Marwan ElShorbagy – the man whom he conceded to during the El Gouna International in April when injury struck once again.
“Of course I’m happy to get off to a winning start,” said Ashour afterwards.
“It’s good to have a purpose. It’s been a tough couple of years and I’m looking forward to understanding myself better and being more consistent.
“I think I’m healthy – at least I am up to now. I just want to have a good relationship with my body an keep it that way. It gives you confidence to come through a match – it lets me know I’m doing something right.
“Injuries teach you how important a purpose is. You understand that you can wake up with nothing to do, or you can wake up with a purpose – so even in the worst times you think about it and it’s better to be going after something.”
ElShorbagy meanwhile was made to work hard for his berth in the next round by ‘Swiss Rocket’ Nicolas Mueller, eventually prevailing 3-2, while number two seed Gregory Gaultier made no mistakes as he dispatched compatriot Gregoire Marche in a relentless performance that saw the ‘French General’ pick up from where he left off by winning the season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals.
2016 Hong Kong Open – Men’s First Round, Bottom Half Results
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 11-3, 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7 (50m)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 (47m)
Simon Rösner (GER) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 12-10, 11-4, 11-2 (38m)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 (57m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1: 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 11-7 (53m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (36m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (35m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (40m)
2016 Hong Kong Open – Men’s Second Round Draw
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [WC] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Ramy Ashour (EGY)
Simon Rösner (GER) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Max Lee (HKG)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)