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Ghosal goes down fighting against World No.1 Ramy Ashour

Manchester, Nov 1, 2013 (IANS) 16:33 IST
Photo from his official website. http://www.sauravghosal.in
Saurav Ghosal's memorable run in the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship ended with a loss to defending champion and World No.1 Ramy Ashour. The World No.17 from Kolkata made history in the tournament by becoming the first Indian to reach the quarterfinals of the prestigious men's event.
By contrast, it was Ashour's fourth successive last-eight berth in the championship -- which he won both last year and in 2008.

Ghosal, who went into Thursday's match without having previously beaten the Egyptian in four meetings, made an impressive start -- leading 8-4 and 9-6 in the first game.But the 26-year-old from Cairo -- later described by Ghosal as "the most original squash player I have ever seen" -- pulled out a succession of scintillating shots to recover the deficit and take the game.

Ashour quickly built up a 9-1 lead before taking game two. It was nip and tuck throughout the third until nine-all. After a long rally, Ashour played a deft backhand volley into the nick, then clinched the match after a further lengthy exchange which concluded when Ghosal put the ball into the tin. The 48-minute contest ended with a 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 scoreline.

Ghosal felt that he tried his best against a special opponent.

"Ramy can produce performances right now that nobody can top. I feel privileged to have played in his era - what we have in Ramy is something very special.

"I think I played pretty well in the first and third games - I think I handled myself okay. If I'd won the first game, it could have made a big difference."

"I'm happy with my progress," responded Ghosal when asked how he felt about his breakthrough in the event.

"But what I really want to do is win matches like that today!"

Ashour admitted later that he'd had hospital treatment that morning for "a niggle in my leg".

"I was very happy with the win tonight," Ashour told the crowd. "But it's not just the win, it's the story behind the win!" He continued by thanking a host of people who had enabled him to achieve his victory - adding "and the venue here is amazing".

"For the last three days, I haven't been enjoying my squash," conceded Ashour. "I've been like a machine. It's been too hard - all my problems over the past few years have come back, including my groin and my hamstring.

"It's only been for the last three years or so that I've been looking after myself properly - yet I've been playing for about 20 years and wasn't doing the right things and had nobody to help me."

Ashour shrugged off any suggestion that he was motivated by his current winningstreak: "I'm not thinking about it at all - I just go on court and do what I have to do!"

Results:

[1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (48m)[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [8] Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (43m)

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