Comeback King Ashour Takes Third ToC Title In New York
25 January 2013
RESULTS: PSA World Series J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions,
New York, USA
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
7-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-1 (72m)
squash ace Ramy Ashour became only the third player to
win the prestigious PSA World Series title a third time
when he recovered from two games down to beat French rival
Gregory Gaultier in the final of the J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions at Grand Central Terminal in
The world number one and world champion from Cairo staged a
dramatic comeback on the all-glass court in the Vanderbilt
Hall to overcome third seed Gaultier 7-11, 6-11, 12-10,
11-3, 11-1 in 72 minutes.
The first two games were owned by Gaultier. The 30-year-old from
Aix-en-Provence established possession of the T early in the
match, using stinging pace and tight shots to keep the ball deep
in the backcourt and deadly drops to move his opponent the full
length of the court.
"It was an especially impressive performance given that each of
Gaultier's last two matches had been physically demanding and
lengthy," explained tournament spokesman Beth Rasin.
The Frenchman himself found his initial performance unexpected.
"I was surprised with the way I was moving in the first two
games," Gaultier noted after the match.
The 25-year-old Egyptian, who is often a slow starter, started
to find his rhythm in third game - not a moment too soon. With a
two-point lead for most of the game, Ashour was able to take the
edge off Gaultier's previously relentless attack. Even so, down
game ball at 9-10, Gaultier hit a cross court roll nick that
tied the game.
Just two points away from losing the match, Ashour - as he has
consistently proven himself capable of doing - stepped up in a
big way. Having forced a loose ball to the middle from
Gaultier's racket and with the Frenchman pinned behind him,
Ashour quick flicked the ball for a backhand nick rollout
winner. He followed that with a backhand cross court nick winner
to take the game.
The TV cameras that were providing the live feed zoomed in on
Ashour, whose competitive desire was evident in his wide eyed
and focused expression.
The 20-minute third game took a big toll on Gaultier, who
managed to stay close only through two-all in the fourth game.
At 5-2, the play became fast and furious with each player
hitting three reflex volleys until Ashour hit a backhand volley
winner from the gut which brought the standing room only crowd
to its feet with raucous applause.
Ashour turned to face the crowd and played air guitar with his
racquet to acknowledge his delight in having won the point in
such spectacular fashion. From that point on, Ashour took
complete control of the match.
"Once he saw my energy drop, he raised the pace even more and
that was it for me," observed Gaultier.
Ashour closed out the match with an 11-1 fifth game win to
become only the third player to win three Tournament of
Champions titles, and the first since Briton Peter Nicol
"The thing is, I have never seen Greg so relaxed as he was in
the first two games," Ashour said in his post-match interview.
"He was more than perfect in the first two games."
Ashour, who had previously mentioned his desire to be known as a
fighter, certainly provided ample evidence of his fighting will
in the championship match.
"What Ashour has demonstrated this week is that any lead against
him is tenuous at best," said tournament commentator Will
Ashour continued: "With Greg playing so well in the beginning, I
just had to keep digging. To beat Greg when is playing as well
as he did at the beginning of the match, is amazing. I am so
proud of myself."
For all the latest Tour news: