Saturday, September 5, 2009

All Wall and None of the Ball

Last night I watched the live PSA feed of the Ramy Ashour v. Wael El Hindi quarter-final match from the US Open tournament in Chicago. Ashour won it handily, 11-4, 11-6, 13-11, with only the final game having any real drama. Those who know El Hindi describe him as an affable fellow, but he also has a reputation for being one of the most disputatious players in pro squash. Any let call is seen as an opportunity for comment, and any hope of a let point is a straw at which he will assuredly grasp. I wish players wouldn't do that.

Nonetheless, he is still a top player, although as pointed out in the PSA feed's excellent commentary last night, his rankings have recently taken a tumble. Stalking the court in his trademark sleeveless shirt, however, he can still make surprising gets and conjure up unusual shots.

But he is no match for Ashour, who among a list of his many strengths must be added 21-year-old knees. Ah, I remember them....

There was one moment in the match where both players were trading left-wall rails when El Hindi hit a beautiful rail whose length looked like it would be trouble for Ashour to get, so he decided to intercept it before it died in the back corner. He was right on top of the action and swung hard into the ball, only to get all the wall and none of the ball. Ramy glared at the wall a second, shook his head just a little, and got back into the match. It was nice to see Ramy and I share the all-the-wall-none-of-the-ball shot; I know it well.

Appreciation should go out to US Squash for making this live feed available on its site, and PSA for putting on the show. I'd like to be in Chicago right about now....


  1. I hate those balls that slowly angle their path into the wall. The longer you wait, the tighter the ball gets!

  2. I have literally let out a scream on some occasions when I have tracked a tight rail along its glide-path only to realize it is getting tighter and tighter and is about to die in the corner! The scream comes from the awful realization that you should have hit it a second ago when you had the chance! Aaaaargh!


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