DOHA, Dec 10: Ramy Ashour’s spectacular movement in the victory which took him to the last 16 of the world championships highlighted a transforming process which has rescued his career.
“I could have given up at any second, and instead it’s saved it all for me,” the former world champion from Egypt said after a brilliantly taken 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 win over Adrian Grant, a top 20 player from England.
There were moments when the Grant appeared to have made tight winners at the front, only for Ashour to hurtle to retrieve the ball in a way which would have been impossible in the last two world championships.
Both of those ended with injuries and tears. Now though the sport’s most gifted player looks better than ever and grateful to the experts who have helped him repair his body.
“It’s been one of the biggest changes of my career,” Ashour said of his decision to make regular journeys from his home in Cairo to the Aspire centre in Qatar, which has some of the world’s most up-to-date sports science knowledge.
He next plays his compatriot Omar Mosaad, the tenth seed, whom he described as “dangerous.”
If he wins again he may play Greg Gaultier, the former world number one from France whose strokes looked nicely tuned during a 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 over Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the speedy Colombian.
However Gaultier now meets a surprise survivor, Chris Simpson, the world number 34 from England, who produced a career-best win over the ninth-seeded Laurens Jan Anjema 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9.
Results: Second round: Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (NED x9) 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9; Omar Mosaad (EGY x10) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-9, 11-5, 11-4; Gregory Gaultier (FRA x3) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-9, 11-7, 11-9; Ramy Ashour (EGY x5) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-6, 11-2, 11-9.—AFP