2009: magnificent Shabana wins Aon US Open title In Chicago

Amr Shabana overcame a phenomenal fightback from top seed and fellow Egyptian Ramy Ashour in the final of the Aon US Open final to win the $52,500 5-star PSA World Tour squash title in Chicago.

The three-time world champion raced through the opening two games with some astonishing winners to delight a sell-out crowd around the glass court set up in the open air off Chicago's Michigan Avenue, known as the Magnificent Mile.

Number two seed Shabana was certainly in magnificent form and a quick finish seemed on the cards as he won the second 11-2.  Shabana opened up a 4-0 lead in the third game but Ashour began to work his way into the match, taking control from 4-6 down to win 11-7.

Despite that confidence booster, the 21-year-old reigning world champion made a slow start to the fourth game and Shabana won the first five points and maintained that lead to stand within three points of the title at 8-3.

However, Ashour stepped up the pace and produced a succession of blinding winners as the crowd roared their encouragement.  Shabana held match ball at 10-7 but Ashour won five points in a row to force the tiebreak and lead 12-11.  Shabana levelled at 12-12 but Ashour maintained his push to clinch the game 14-12.

The crowd, boosted by hundreds of spectators enjoying a free view of the action through the front wall, were delighted that the match was heading for a fifth game.  Ashour led 3-1 at the start of the final game but Shabana regained control to lead 9-5.  Ashour won the next two points and then sportingly conceded that a backhand drop shot was down as Shabana screamed at the referee.

That gesture gave Shabana match ball at 10-7 and, although Ashour claimed one more point, the 30-year-old closed out an entertaining contest in 57 minutes of spellbinding squash.

"Ramy is such a great player and as a world champion at 21 years old he seems to have been around for years," said Shabana after his epic 11-7, 11-2, 7-11, 12-14, 11-8 victory.

"He came back very strongly to win the third and fourth games and I was pleased to win the fifth game.

"The players have all enjoyed this tournament in Chicago and it's great to see such big crowds around the court every night."

The players earned warm applause for providing an evening of outstanding entertainment and Ashour was given an extra ovation for his sportsmanship.

He said: "As professional players, we have to be honest with each other on court, even though it gave Shabana match ball.  Shabana played very well tonight and made it hard for me in large parts of the match.

"I know I should be angry for losing but I am happy that we made the match very entertaining for the crowd."

The triumph extends Shabana's tour title tally to 24 - and also endorses the latest September Dunlop PSA World Rankings in which the former world number one leapfrogged younger rival Ashour to take third place.

Final:
[2] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [1] Ramy Ashour (EGY) 11-7, 11-2, 7-11, 12-14, 11-8 (57m)

One thought on “2009: magnificent Shabana wins Aon US Open title In Chicago”

  1. Squash by all means necessary is a brutal sport meant for competing as well as sportsmanship and peak physical fitness. It literally saved my life post back surgery from 2008-2009. I am on a journey like no other with Squash. My lessons with Master Pro Dulio Costa are phenomenal, and practice is equally as entertaining as is play. This miraculous game can be summed up in short by five principles (patience, position, anticipation, persistence, and balance.) If you have never tried this phenomenon, ‘I suggest you start today’.

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