28-year-old Egyptian Ramy Ashour’s hopes of winning back-to-back PSA Men’s World Squash Championship titles came crashing down at the hands of compatriot Omar Mosaad during the quarter-final stage of the 2015 edition of squash’s most prestigious tournament, taking place at the Meydenbauer Centre in Bellevue, Washington.
The three-time World Championship winner has endured a torrid time with injures during the past 18-months and cut an agonising figure as his notoriously troublesome hamstring once again flared up during the fifth game of the 61 minute battle to prevent him from competing during the final exchanges.
Mosaad, World No.6, produced a display of note during the opening two games as he out-gunned Ashour in an evenly matched duel. Ashour surged back into the match in the third and fourth to level the scores but Mosaad’s astute play and determination took it’s physical toll on Ashour, allowing the 27-year-old to take the match 11-8, 11-7, 1-11, 1-11, 11-5 over a dejected Ashour.
“It’s the first time in my life to reach the semi-finals of the World Championship and it’s amazing, I’m really happy,” said Mosaad.
“I’m pleased with my performance especially in those first two games. In the third and fourth I got a little tired and Ramy was controlling it. I’m really sorry for what happened to him, I hope he recovers soon, but winning is winning and I need to make sure I recover as best I can now.
“I have a World Championship semi-final to prepare for and I will be trying to everything to win the next match.”
Ashour’s exit came just 24-hours after World No.1 and pre tournament favourite Mohamed Elshorbagy bowed out at the hands of England’s James Willstrop, with the 32-year-old Yorkshireman maintaining his challenge for a maiden title with a polished straight-games win over Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
“I’m obviously delighted to be into the last four of the biggest tournament in the squash world – I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Willstrop, the 2010 runner-up.
“For everything to come together in such an important week is tremendously satisfying. Above everything else I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I’m try as best as I can to keep it going and I’ll give it absolutely everything.”
Willstrop’s long-time domestic rival Nick Matthew, the World No.2, was another shock casualty on a night of dramatic action as he fell to Egyptian Tarek Momen in a gruelling 84-minute encounter as the World No.12, who has been in inconstant so far during the 2015/16 season, produced an inspired performance to record the biggest win of his career.
“It’s hard to digest at the moment, beating Nick on it’s own is quite an achievement but to do and make the semi-finals of the World Championship is a huge for me,” said Momen.
“But it’s not over yet. I’m playing my childhood friend Omar (Mosaad) so I need to keep focused. We both of course want to win and tomorrow is a huge match for both of us. I’m in the semi-final and I can’t believe it but hopefully I can get a win tomorrow.”
Four time runner-up Gregory Gaultier completed the semi-final line up after narrowly avoiding defeat against a spirited Ali Farag. The 23-year-old Egyptian took a 2-1 game lead and looked on course to cause another huge upset before the ‘French General’ mounted his own resurgence, taking Farag to the point of physical breakdown to keep hopes of breaking his championship duck alive.
“This is the World Championship and the tournament that everyone wants to win. I have been training so hard all summer to try and make my dream come true and even when you’re down you have to keep your head up – I fought hard to the end and that made the difference.”
2015 Men’s World Championship, Quarter-finals
James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (42m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Ali Farag (EGY) 5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-1, 11-3 (72m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt  Ramy Ashour (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 1-11, 1-11, 11-5 (61m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (84m)