Egyptian genius Ramy Ashour (le) showed he is back on top form by crushing world champion Nick Matthew (ri) to reach the final of the North American Open in Richmond.
Ashour, the 24-year-old world No5, has impressed all week on his comeback after injury. But against Matthew, he stepped up a level with a performance that left England’s reigning champion exhausted after 2 games.
The Egyptian fought back from 7-10 down in the 1st game to win 12-10 and produced a phenomenal recovery to win the 2nd 13-11 after being 4-8 down. Matthew was demoralised after blowing two crucial leads and fell away badly in the 3rd as Ashour took the 12-10, 13-11, 11-3 victory in 52 minutes.
The Egyptian was diving around the court to retrieve what looked like certain winners and played shots behind his back and conjured up a succession of astonishing winners due to the enjoyment of the Richmond crowd. Indian number one Saurav Ghosal Tweeted: “That proves Ramy is an alien – he plays squash from another planet.
Ashour meets top seed James Willstrop in the final and will have another point to prove with the Englishman returning to the top of the PSA world rankings in March.
Willstrop wore down French No4 seed Gregory Gaultier with a commanding performance in a 97-minute marathon. After the opening 2 games took almost an hour to complete, the Englishmen’s strength was clearly evident as he won the 3rd and 4th to take the 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 win.
The 28-year-old from Leeds – who is celebrating the 30th Tour final of his career, and his 6th over the past 8 events – added: “I am very satisfied to beat the world number three and looking forward to the final. “It’s been a long time since my last one. It’s great to have Ramy back in action this week, hitting nicks from everywhere and entertaining the crowds.”
 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Ramy Ashour (EGY)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Greg Gaultier (FRA) 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 (97m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 12-10, 13-11, 11-3 (52m)