CAIRO: Whether he has the potential to be the Tiger Woods or the Michael Jordan of squash is debatable. Right now, Ramy Ashour is just beating the sport’s top players like an old pro.
The 19 year-old Egyptian won the Pace Canadian Squash Classic in Toronto on Friday, defeating the second-ranked player in the world in just over half an hour. Ashour is currently ranked sixth in the world.
The Cairene defeated the Australian David Palmer in 31 minutes, claiming his first PSA Super Series title in straight sets, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4.
The 30 year-old Palmer, a formerly number one ranked player who has been in the top ten rankings for nearly seven years, told the Canadian Press after the match that “everything [Ashour] hit was perfect. I was only a fraction off the pace and that was the result.
It was a good day for me. I always try to enjoy myself. I play every match as though it is the last match of my life, said Ashour after his win, according to the Canadian Press.
The sixth-ranked Ashour won the first set in under 10 minutes and the second in less than eight.
The Egyptian Squash Association is honored to congratulate Ramy Ashour on winning first place in the Canadian Classic tournament in Toronto, the biggest PSA tournament, where he beat the second ranked player in the world David Palmer with three straight sets in a historical 32 minutes, said a press statement Nassef George, general manager of the Egyptian Squash Federation, sent to The Daily Star Egypt.
The statement also gave an honorable nod to Wael Hatem, the Egyptian player who came third in the same tournament. It also thanked all who put the effort to make the victory a reality, including federation president Galal Allam, the coaches and the atheletes family and friends.
Ashour had faced Palmer before, when he defeated him in the semifinals of the Cathay Pacific Swiss Privilege Hong Kong Open in October. Ashour also defeated the Frenchman Thierry Lincou, another formerly ranked number one player, in Hong Kong, but lost in the finals of that tournament to countryman Amr Shabana.
Ashour became the first man ever to win consecutive junior world squash titles last July after defeating fellow Egyptian Omar Mossad. When he won his first, at age 16, Ashour was the youngest junior world champion in the sport’s history.
Ashour turned 19 this past September.
He advanced through the tournament in Canada with a quarter-finals defeat of fellow young upstart Mohd Iskandar of Malaysia and a semi-finals win over the fifth-ranked Anthony Ricketts of Australia, in a match lasting 65 minutes.
The Egyptian teenager was ranked well outside the world s top 30 about a year ago, but his climb through the rankings with defeats over some of the sport’s stalwarts has sparked praise and predictions for the future.
In an interview with the Toronto Star, the tournament chair for the Canadian Classic, John Nimick, called Ashour “the Michael Jordan of squash while predicting that the young player could have the same effect on the sport that Tiger Woods had on golf.
The level of squash will improve because of Ramy, Nimick was quoted as saying in the Toronto Star. These more established players are going to have to raise their game. But whether Ramy is at his mature highest or whether he s got another level is what we re all excited to see.