Delaware Investments U.S. Open 2012
Fri 12 Oct, Finals:

Two new champions were crowned at Drexel University in Philadelphia as Nicol David and Ramy Ashour joined the list of winners of the prestigious U.S. Open Squash Championships.

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [2] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 14-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (45m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt [3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 (43m)

Nicol completes the set

The U.S. Open was the only major title that was missing from Nicol David’s trophy cabinet, but tonight in Philadelphia not only did she fill that particular gap, by gaining revenge for her home defeat in the Malaysian Open final by Raneem El Weleily, she set a new record of WSA titles, moving one ahead of Sarah Fitz-Gerald to 63.

Compared to yesterday’s semifinals this was a fast an furious match with El Weleily unafraid as ever to go for her shots and David, as well as trying to contain her opponent, at times joining in the shotmaking contest, more often than not to good effect.

After the Egyptian made the slightly better start the first game was evenly contested, David leading 9-6 but El Weleily firing in four winners to earn game ball. She would have three chances, but Nicol typicall took her first opportunity as an Egyptian dropshott found the tin for 14-12.

Raneem reduced the errors to lead all the way in the second, taking it 11-8, and at 4-0, 5-1 and 6-2 to the Egyptian in the third Nicol looked in trouble.

As she said last night though, she’s been there before, many many times, and a run of eight unanswered points took her to 10-6, then 11-6 on another Egyptian error.

The top seed held a slight advantage throughout the fourth, and from 8-6 two short volleys into the nick brought up match ball.

A dropshot saw Raneem struggle to reach the ball, tripping over her opponent and she was just being assisted to her feet when the unsurprising, but nevertheless somewhet anticlimactic, “no let” decision came.

A first U.S. Open title, revenge for a home defeat, and a new record, not a bad night’s work even for Nicol!

“I can’t believe it,” said a delighted new champion, “I keep thinking I should still be out there running after Raneem’s dropshots like I’ve been doing all night!

“When she gets on a roll like she did in the third she can score six points before you’ve even moved off the ‘T’, but I just got my act together, became more positive and stronger on my shots, and played my game not hers, which is what Liz [Irving] had told me to do.

“It feels fantastic to be U.S. Open champion! Next I just hope we can get in the Olympics – if we do I’ll make sure I’m there, even if I have to turn up with my walking stick!”

Ramy races to title

There was a first time men’s winner too as Ramy Ashour continued his recent run of good results against Gregory Gaultier to beat the Frenchman in straight games in a match lasting two minutes less than the preceding women’s final.

For Gaultier it was almost like a role reversal from yesterday’s semifinal with James Willstrop. There, he had been in control and in the lead from the outset, yet today he was the one doing the chasing, on the court and the scoreboard.

Ashour, playing with the speed and control with which he finished his semi-final with Nick Matthew, was quickly 6-3 up in the opening game, and took it 11-4. A 6-1 start to the second for the Egyptian, which Gaultier pegged back to 6-7 and then held it to 9-all, but Ashour found two winners to double his lead.

After an even start to the third Ashour raced away again, from 5-all to 9-5 in a flash, and although Gaultier again pulled back, on Ramy’s third match ball Greg’s volley found the tin and another new U.S. Open champion was crowned.

“I lost in this final three years ago so to win a prestigious title like this against such a great player as Greg feels just unbelievable,” said Ramy.. I felt good on court tonight but I had to fight really hard to win.

“It’s been a great week, everyone here does a tremendous job and makes us all feel so welcome, so thanks to everyone involved and we’re all looking forward to next year already!