Egyptian maverick Ramy Ashour looks to be approaching top form after four months out with a hamstring injury, defeating compatriot Ali Farag with an accomplished display to book his place in the semi-final of the 2016 Allam British Open, PSA World Series tournament.
It was the first time Ashour and Farag have met in a competitive match and the first game was a close encounter. It was the World No.5 who struck the first real blow, with an exquisite slice on his backhand seeing him go 9-6 up in the opener. Two costly errors then followed from Farag and Ashour was up and running with a one-game advantage.
Ashour’s quality showed again in the third as he burst into a 5-0 lead and despite Farag’s best effort he maintained his advantage throughout. An error from the World No.14 sealed the win for Ashour – a result that sees the 2013 champion into last four of the British Open for the first time in two years.
“I’m really happy with my performance especially coming back from injury, it means a lot to me and everyone who believed in me,” he said.
“It’s just great to be in the semi-finals but I’m not expecting anything and I won’t get ahead of myself. I wasn’t playing in patches today which is a great sign. I just want to push myself as best I can until my body or my mind breaks down.”
Farag will be disappointed not to have taken Ashour to a fifth game, particularly after his shock win over Nick Matthew, but Ashour had nothing but praise for his fellow countryman, saying: “I’ve been watching him play since a very young age and I’ve seen some unbelievable performances.
“He’s a very respectful character and I think he is now the ‘over-dog’ rather than the ‘under-dog’. His movement is unbelievable and he’s definitely a top-10 quality player.”
Despite bowing out of the competition, Farag was also able to see the positives and was pleased with his tournament as a whole.
“I’m very happy with the way I played in this tournament, not just this match,” said Farag.
“I think it’s all about experience. He’s such a good mover that he makes you think twice about every shot. The British Open is the most prestigious tournament and to get to the quarter-finals is something I’m very proud of.”
Result – Quarter-Final: Men’s Allam British Open 2016
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (56m)
By Paul Joannou
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