September - Finals
 Ramy Ashour 3-2
 Ali Farag
11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 2-11, 11-5 (60m)
 Nour El
Sherbini 3-0  Nouran Gohar
12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (39m)
Nouran was hungry for her third final in a row.
First against Raneem El Welily, then against Laura Massaro last
year, and finally this time against Nour El Sherbini.
But Nour was the one that started strongly, taking the
game immediately to her powerful opponent, 6/3. A few quick
errors from Nour and we are 8/8. A little interruption due to
Nour's right knee bleeding with profusion, and back on court
they come. This time, Nouran has got the advantage, but won't be
able to concretise her game ball, Nour forcing a tie-break that
she wins 12/10.
The second is about the same scenarion, good start from Nour,
3/3 to 7/4, 8/5, 9/6, 11/7. After 26m of game, Nour seems in
And she carries the momentum right in the 3rd, 4/0. Nouran
fights tooth and nails to come back to 3/4, up Nour goes again
6/3, Nouran is right on her hills 6/6, 8/8. But Nour seems
unstoppable today, and although Nouran will save a match ball,
she bows 11/9 in 39m...
Now, Ali versus Ramy.
Like I often say, there are Squash Players, and then, there is
He is a complete life in 60m, bless him. Up, down, off, out, and
back again... Who ever he plays, it's never really about the
other player, is it. It's all about how HE plays, how HIS body
holds, how HIS head is responding to his Resident Demons....
Ali Farag. Fairest Ali. One of the most
interesting/talented/original players our sport has ever bore.
He doesn't play at a ridiculous pace. He doesn't play a flashy
fast pace. He doesn't block. He doesn't push. He doesn't artgue.
He just plays the ball, relentlessly, at a false comfortable
pace that only he can play. And if you start playing at his
pace, like a spider, he'll patiently imprison you in his web...
Baoum between those two in an all Egyptian Friends Final. Cause
those two really like each other. But if in their previous
meetings, I felt that Ali had a bit too much respect for his
elder, this time, none of that. Ali was on court to win.
But today, he was facing a super Ramy from the first point to
9/5 in the 3rd....
When was the last time Ali got down to 6/0 in a game? It was not
like Ali was not focused, or not playing great squash. Each
rally was a battle, but Ali just couldn't find a way to pass
Ramy. 10/1, all credit to Ali, he was playing as if it was the
first point of the game, never giving Ramy an inch. The Artist
takes the first game 11/3 in 9m.
The second is more balanced, 3/0 Ramy, 3/3, 6/3 Ramy again. A
few lets, as both feel this is a crucial time. A very long
rally, ending by a tin from Ramy who has hardly made an error
since the beginning that gets Ali do one of his trademark Yalla
A few strange decisions from the officials, have Ramy looking a
few times to the Central Ref, questioning them a few times, same
for Ali - neither of the players usually having discussions with
the refs, interesting enough.
A highly questionable no let gives Ramy a game ball, 10/8, won
with a superb kill 11/8 Ramy, 16m game.
The third sees a completely confident Ramy imposing his game
throughout, while Ali seems lost at see and completely
disheartened. Does Ramy relax a bit? Or does he feel a sharp
pain after one of his ridiculous saves? Don't know. One thing is
sure. Ali is clawing back, point after point, and starts to get
into Ramy's head. 7/3, 8/4, 9/5 become 9/9.
Yet again a surprising no let against Ali gives Ramy a match
ball, quickly tinned by the Artist, COME ON goes a pumped up Ali
that will score the next two points, on a stroke and a no let
that saw a Ramy throw his racquet on the floor.
When was the last time that happened....
Ramy doesn't show up in the 4th. And like a lot of people I'm
sure, I thought he was injured as he strung the tins like
marshmallows around a firecamp. 8 I counted, and in 5m, Ali has
completely levelled the score, 11/2....
Ramy comes back with his dark face on. And the first two points
don't look good at all, as he still doesn't seem to play. Surely
Ali must feels he won, surely.
But as often, Ramy just connects back in the game, out of the
blue, accepts to rally, extend the exchanges, finds the same
precision he had in the first two and a half games. Ali has done
a lot of work, and maybe drops the intensity a fraction. That's
enough: 8/3, 9/4, 11/5, on a tin from Ali.
Like I said: up, down, off, out, and back again...
September - Semis
 Ali Farag 3-1  Paul Coll (Nzl)
11-8, 5-11, 11-3, 12-10 (51m)
 Ramy Ashour 3-0
 Marwan ElShorbagy
12-10, 11-3, 11-6 (41m)
 Nour El
Sherbini 3-0 Joelle King (Nzl)
12-10, 11-4, 11-6 (29m)
 Nouran Gohar 3-1 
11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (49m)
A very interesting match between Ramy and Marwan. As
Junior beat Ramy in Bellevue, not to mention being seeded
higher than his elder, I felt that Marwan was tense from the
word go: pressure....
Not that Ramy didn't play very good squash from the beginning
mind, but 4 errors in 5 points that doesn't happen that often to
Marwan. From 6/0 down, Junior started to get into the match, but
Ramy was still the one proactive. Still, 7/7, 8/8. Marwan is in
front, 10/8. The Artist will score the next 4 points - with a
little help from the refs, a nice stroke at 9/10 that probably
was only a let.
To be fair, the refs were very mean/generous with both players
it felt, or maybe I lost the plot during the off season...
Second game again, Marwan on the back foot from the start, but
this time, Ramy is playing truly superb squash, not letting his
opponent breathe for a single second, always in front, putting
immense pressure, 6/1, 8/2, 11/3 in 8m, first game was 15.
The third sees a much more positive Marwan, taking the game to a
Ramy that seems a bit off mentally, 5/1. But Ramy wants his
revenge. He will retrieve some exquisite shots from Marwan that
seriously were incredible. At 5/6, an stupendous rally, Marwan
is attacking at will, Ramy will dive 3 times on his bionic
leg/hip/wrist, saves it to make 6/6.
From that point on, Ramy is flying, the writing in on the glass
wall, and a few seconds later, it's 11/6 in 13m for the Artist.
Marwan will be disappointed for sure. Had he taken the first,
things could have been different...
“For me it’s not just about the
match and the result.”
“It’s beyond that – it’s about a whole lot of things coming
together. There are certain matches that allow me to prove
things to myself – none else – over the long term. They tell me
things about me and the journey I am on.
“I do a lot of things on my own, go through the struggles on my
own, and try to find the right formula and balance – the reward
is when I can prove I’m doing it right.
“Being introduced onto court as the former this and former that,
we’re in the now. I’m proud of my achievements but it’s about
now. Other players come up and I’m trying to stay there and I
showed I can still be there today.
“It’s the first event of the season. For the past few seasons
I’d do well in one event, but not be able to back it up or have
that consistency. I’m trying to get things right, find that
balance, and at the moment, it’s good.”
"For me, it's all about now. I'm proud of my achievements but
other players come up. I showed I can still be there too"
"I'm very, very happy to win."
"I've enjoyed being here this week - it's my first time
competing in Shanghai. I always seem to play well in the Far
East, I'm not sure why but I feel comfortable in this part of
"And with a venue like, with these views, it's make me proud of
our sport. But I couldn't have done it today without the team
who've been behind me both at this event and back home.
"Ali is a very fair and smart player and it was a great battle
on court today - and I hope we are going to have many more in
"It was a great match. He's one of the most naturally gifted
players ever to play the game so to be on court pushing him to
five games in a final was a privilege for me. We both gave it
our very best.
"I'm really happy - it's a great start to the season."
"I'm happy with the way I played and the level of my
performance. I had no real expectations today - I was just
focusing on my game plan and I think the first game gave me a
lot of confidence.
"So I'm happy with the way it came together today and hopefully
I can continue to play well throughout the season."
Leonard Lee reports on the semis
“All our past matches have been
very tough – she won the last few meetings so I knew what to
expect from her"
“She’s been on top of her game recently but I tried to focus on
enjoying the match. I didn’t put any pressure on myself, I just
concentrated on enjoy being here and just giving it my best.
“I like this event and I’ve a good record here – it’s an amazing
location. I’ve made the final here three times and the first
time I reached the top ten, my first win over Nicol and my first
big final all came here.
“I’ve got great memories here so hopefully I can add another one
by winning the final tomorrow.”
“She had two big wins and has been playing well in this event so
I knew I had to stay focused and stick to my game.”
“She’s one of the tallest players I’ve played and she covers the
court very well. Taking that first game was very important for
“It’s my first time here and I’m excited to be in the final. I’m
excited about the match – it’s been a good start to the season
so far, so hopefully I can keep it going.”
“He likes to take the ball early
and in the second I went too short too early.”
“I had to vary the pace and get him behind me. I did that in the
third. In the fourth it was close but a few edgy errors from him
helped. He’s known as being one of the fittest guys on Tour so
I’m happy I tightened up to see it out.
“Tomorrow is a big final. It’s my fifth in a year and I haven’t
won any of them so hopefully I turn it around and against
players like Ramy, they help you raise your game.
“Hopefully tomorrow we can have a great game – I’m looking
forward to it.”