Egypt’s Ramy Ashour began his Professional Squash Association (PSA) Men’s World Championship title defence with a comfortable straight games victory over compatriot Mazen Hesham at the Maydenbauer Centre in Bellevue, Washington today.
Ashour, the number four seed, looked in ominous form as he dispatched his teammate with relative ease, emerging with an 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 win in just 26 minutes.
The 28-year-old showed no signs of an injury which forced him to retire from the US Open in October as he dominated proceedings to set up a meeting with fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar in the second round.
“I’m happy with the way I played today - I just need to try and play like that for the rest of the week,” Ashour said.
“I enjoyed the match today.
“I think he’s a very good player and I think he is going to be one of the best one day.
“We’re very similar, he does a lot of quick stuff and it’s refreshing to see someone like that.
“I didn’t feel any pain in the hamstring today so it’s a blessing for me to be moving and lunging freely.”
Number two seed Nick Matthew of England was made to work slightly harder for his place in round two as he clinched a 3-1 success over Australian number one Cameron Pilley.
Matthew, the reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist, progressed thanks to a 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 victory.
He will now go on to face rising Egyptian prospect Karim El Hammamy, who marked his maiden appearance at a PSA Men’s World Championship with a thrilling 12-10, 15-13, 3-11, 5-11, 11-4 win against Declan James of England.
Despite having never competed at the event before, El Hammamy appeared at ease and looked as though he would reach round two in style as he took the opening two games.
But the 18-year-old Englishman fought back valiantly to square the contest at 2-2 but didn’t quite have enough left in the tank as the Egyptian squeezed through in what was a pulsating encounter.
El Hammamy wasn’t the only successful debutant as Peruvian Diego Elias also earned victory in the first round as he beat England’s seasoned campaigner Adrian Grant 11-7, 11-5, 11-9.
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