Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day Five, Semi-Finals

[4] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt [11] James Willstrop (Eng)
                           11/5, 11/9, 6/11, 11/9 (79m)
[3] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt [2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
                           11/5, 11/9, 12/10 (52m)

It's another all-Egyptian final

Amr Shabana, champion in 2003, 2005 and 2007, reached another odd-year World Open final as he won a tough four-game encounter with James Willstrop. The Englishman, bidding for his first appearance in the final, found the Egyptian too hot to handle in the early stages, but came back to take the third, and at 9-all in the fourth a decider looked on the cards.

But the experienced Egyptian held his nerve to claim the final two points to make the final once more.

"It was an unbelievable match - it was a privilege to have played James today," said Shabana. "I have tremendous respect for him, it's hard to play him - he covers the court well for a big guy, and gives you access to the ball. I was tremendously keen for it not to go to five games. I could see he was not giving up. It took all my patience."

His opponent will be defending champion Ramy Ashour, who overcame world number one Gregory Gaultier in the second semi-final.

Ashour's shotmaking saw him take the first game with some comfort. The Frenchman struck back to lead 8-4 in the second but couldn't hold off another surge from Ashour. Leading 9-8 Gaultier slipped and needed a three-minute injury timeout, but Ashour took three points in a row to double his lead.

Gaultier led again in the third, 5-2, but again Ashour came back, mixing sublime winners with amazing retrieving. Gaultier saved one match ball at 10-9 but could do nothing with the second as Ashour advanced to a second consecutive final.

"I was on my form from the start," said an exuberant Ashour afterwards. "I really wanted to win this - I was really keen to reach the final. I try to enjoy every shot I play."


  1. Wow...In all honesty, I have to say I'm shocked that Ramy made it to the final. His play lately has been inconsistent at best, except for his win in Virginia earlier this year.

    If I had to put money on the match, I'd bet Shabana, but in my heart of hearts, I hope that Ramy can be a repeat champion!

  2. nice ya shabab raf3to rasna rabena ya7mekom