Ramy Ashour Wins Australian Squash Open

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

OzchampsEgyptian squash player Ramy Ashour won the Australian Open by upending world No1 Nick Matthew in five games. The final score was 12-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, the 23-year-old Egyptian revealed a robust mental game was behind his success.

His coach was not able to be in his corner for the match so when asked by The Canberra Times for the keys to his victory, Ashour was not quite able to formulate his thoughts. But he did seem to suggest that came down to his mental state. ‘‘It’s a bit complicated really, I can’t really describe it,’’ Ashour told The Canberra Times. “You have to always be right in your head as much as you can and that’s your mission on court.

‘‘Your mission’s not to keep on running or hit the right shots. You need to have all kinds of plans, you can’t just stick to one plan. In everything in your life you can’t just stick to one plan and that’s what most of the people do, they just don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. When they don’t get out of their comfort zone they don’t achieve much.’’

Ashour got off to a slow start, losing the first game, and two of the first three, before building momentum with his patented arsenal of shot-making. Eventually, he was a runaway train. ‘‘He just ran away from me, sometimes he can get on a run of points in a blink of an eye,’’ Matthew told The Canberra Times. “I couldn’t stop the rot.”

‘‘He played a good fifth, I played a bad fifth and that was the difference. From the games I won I had the lead and he fought back and took it to tie breaks both times. Everyone gives him credit for his shot-making. Some people forget he’s got that [mental strength] side of his game as well which you need to go alongside and that makes him such a champion.’’

The victory was Ashour’s seventh in 12 meetings with Matthew, with Ashour being the only player on the professional squash tour with a winning record against the world number one. ‘‘It’s such a thin margin,’’ Ashour said. “Maybe Nick has a little bit more pressure on him because he’s No1 and I’m No2.’’

The two now have the men’s world team championships in Germany to look forward to later this year. And that should be a competition in which Ashour has ample reinforcements, with fellow Egyptians Karim Darwish and Amr Shabana ranked number three and number five in the world respectively.


Dinara Safina to Miss Rest of Year Due to Injury

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

File:  Safina bites her Rome 2009 victory trophy.

Former world number one women’s tennis player, Dinara Safina, will not play again this year due to unrelenting low back back pain, the Russian announced on her official website this week.

She stated the following on DinaraSafina.com, “Hey everybody. I’m sorry to report that my back is still acting up and I will not be able to play at least until the end of the year. Thanks for your support and I will update you on my status when I have more information.”

The 25-year-old Russian sounded just as pessimistic about returning when she addressed the Russian media earlier this year.  “I don’t know how long my time out is going to last because I don’t want to torture myself and my body anymore,” she was quoted as saying. She had already missed much of last year due to injury as well as poor form. She finally made a comeback at the Australian Open in January of this year, but was blitzed in the first round in embarrassing fashion 6-0, 6-0 by Kim Clijsters in the very first round. Afterward, Safina, even at that time, expressed thoughts of quitting tennis.
Safina is the younger sister of former men’s number one Marat Safin. And the two of them are the only brother and sister pair to have both reached the world number one spot in professional tennis. While her brother was a Grand Slam winner, however, Dinara reached the number one spot without ever winning a Grand Slam tournament. She reached three Grand Slam finals, the French Open in 2008 and 2009 and the Australian Open in 2009. But she came up short in all three of them.

Now she has another mountain to climb as she tries to regain her health, regain her confidence, and regain her spot in the rankings.


Sania Mirza Loses in French Final

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

french-open-preview-L-BewaPyIndia’s Sania Mirza was within a whisker of winning her second Grand Slam title, but at the end of the day, it was “So close, yet so far away,” for Mirza and her Russian doubles partner Elena Vesnina at the French Open. Mirza and Vesnina, the seventh seeds in the ladies’ doubles division, lost in the finals to the unseeded Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. The final score was 6-4, 6-3.

Sania previously won the mixed doubles at another Grand Slam event, the 2009 Australian Open, which she won with fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi. Mirza did become the first Indian female tennis player to reach a women’s doubles final. But it ended up being an off day for Mirza and Vesnina, as they were unable to overcome their unforced errors, especially in the face of inclement weather.
Mirza and Vesnina split the 165,000 euro second prize, while the victors took home a total of 330,000 euro. After the match Vesnina was thankful to her partner announcing, “Thanks Sania for the great experience we’ve had here. Hope we’ll have more of such games in the future.”

After the tournament, Mirza reached a career high doubles ranking of 14. And as a team, Mirza and Vesnina moved into the number three position in the WTA Championship rankings, putting them in contention for the year-end WTA championship event in Istanbul, Turkey. The event is only for the top four teams in the WTA rankings.