Richards Stops Champion Ashour In Montreal
23 March 2012
RESULTS: PSA International 35 Open de Squash Banque Nationale
Groupe Financier, Montreal, Canada
 Tom Richards (ENG) bt  Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 14-12
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11-9, 13-11, 11-6
England's Tom Richards denied champion Hisham Mohd
Ashour a second successive appearance in the final of the
Open de Squash Banque Nationale Groupe Financier in Canada
when he upset the top seed from Egypt in the semi-finals of the
PSA World Tour International 35 event at Club Sportif
MAA in Montreal.
The first semi-final started off at a blistering pace, with
Ashour hitting a behind-the-back drop, followed by a cross-court
dead roller, as a preview of what was to come.
The Egyptian was hitting the ball with more sting than his calm
English opponent, but it was fourth seed Richards who drew first
"The pace didn't let up in the second, as both players continued
to crack the ball with incredible velocity, the well-conditioned
Richards looking more comfortable at this pace of the two, and
Ashour continuing to bestow gifts upon Richards with unforced
errors," explained event spokeswoman Runa Reta.
Ashour drew level from 8-5 down in the second, but underdog
Richards recovered to open up a two-game lead.
From 8-5 down again in the third - with Richards looking to win
in three - Ashour levelled at nine-all and, after an
uncharacteristic error from the Englishman, Ashour hit a winning
drop to take the third.
"Richards changed shirts in the fourth, and now dressed in all
red, was perhaps subconsciously yelling out 'DANGER!' as he came
out flying, taking a 4-0 lead, then a 7-2 lead, attacking with
ferocity and hitting some perfect dying length," continued Reta.
Ashour recovered from 9-5 down to save match ball at 9-10 with a
sweet deceptive boast before Richards eventually clinched his
11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 14-12 victory following a volley drop error
"I'm very happy to get into the final here in Montreal," said
the 25-year-old from Surrey, now in the seventh - and biggest -
PSA Tour final of his career.
"It was a great match with Hisham tonight which I managed to
sneak in the end, at times it seemed like he was hitting nicks
off every shot I played but I kept faith in the overall pressure
I'd applied and it paid off."
Veteran Frenchman Thierry Lincou survived an all-Gallic
clash with Mathieu Castagnet, beating his unseeded
compatriot 11-9, 13-11, 11-6 in the other semi. The 35-year-old
former world number one and world champion from Marseille is
celebrating his 43rd Tour final appearance.
"Tomorrow I play Thierry," continued Richards. "He is someone
who I watched as I was growing up and a player and person I have
the upmost respect for.
"Saying that, I'll be trying my very hardest to win!"