LONDON: Ramy Ashour kept alive his hopes of becoming the firstEgyptian in nearly half a century to win the British Open titlewith a performance of athleticism and great artistry which carriedhim into the semi-finals. The former World Open champion from Cairo did that in a wonderfulmatch against his friend and legendary compatriot, Amr Shabana, theyounger man narrowly prevailing 11-8, 12-10, 5-11,1-11, 11-4. The quality of the contest brought passion and warmth to a cool O2arena, which made it even harder to believe that a succession ofEgyptian greats has not won the world’s oldest title since 1966. The 32-year-old Shabana looked as though he might defy the yearswhen he came back from a two-game deficit with a canny mixture ofdiscipline and creativity, of good length and front courtinvention. Air Cooled Water Chillers
In the end though Ashour’s faster movement and greaterstamina proved crucial factors. Shabana nevertheless offered plenty of signs that he has the desireto continue a long and distinguished career, including theunorthodox way in which he finished the match. Infuriated with his failure to scrape a treacherous clinger from asidewall in the penultimate rally, he smashed his racket into acrazy angle on the glass, and declined to leave the court to changethe shattered equipment. Instead he volleyed Ashour’s final servicedown with the mangled head. China Oil Temperature Controller
“It’s so much about what’s happening inside my head,” said Ashour,talking with comically express speed. “I have to escape the badthings and find a soothing spot there. “I am too emotional, I know. It just comes out. But it’s aprivilege to play against such a legend,” he concluded, makingreference to a head-to-head with Shabana which now stands atnine-all. Plastic Auxiliary Machinery
Ashour next plays the winner between another compatriot, Mohamed ElShorbagy, the former world junior champion, and James Willstrop,the world number one from England. If he can survive that and finish a very tough task in Sunday’sfinal the 24-year-old from Cairo will become the first Egyptianwinner since Abou Taleb beat Aftaf Jawaid of Pakistan in the 1966final at London’s exclusive Lansdowne Club. Meanwhile Egypt has earned a women’s British Open finalist for thefirst time. That piece of history became certain after outstandingquarter-final wins for the 16-year-old Nour El Sherbini and the23-year-old Raneem El Weleily, who next play each other. Weleily saved two early game points against the world number two,Jenny Duncalf, the former British Open finalist from England, towin 12-10, 11-7, 11-5.
And El Sherbini, still studying for her grade ten school exams, wona thriller against Annie Au, the seventh seed from Hong Kong, by9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6. Men’s quarter-finals: Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 1-11,11-4 James Willstrop (ENG) bt Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 Women’s quarter-finals: Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Annie Au (HKG) 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11,11-6 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 – AFP/de.