22 May 2012


Nick Matthew might well have been only second best in the previous five meetings versus Ramy Ashour, this time, at the final of the 2012 British Open he has been clearly the better player. It is one thing - however extremely tough - to suffocate and extinguish Ramy's skills on court. It is another to give him even a lesson in finishing the shots.
Matthew was down in each game (6:8 in the first, 2:4 in the second and 7:8 in the third) and managed to conclude in the crucial parts of the games in Ramyesque style.
I mean, watch the backhand volley-drop on the stretch at 8 all (at 1:15), or the forehand volley-drop to close the first game at 1:52; or the rally at 7-8 in the third, where he prepares with a forehand cross-court volley-nick to conclude with a deaf forehand volley drop at (4:11), not to mention the final mid-court drop shot to win the match at 4:30.
These were all high quality drop shots in crucial moments, and on top of that, they were all different kind of drop shots, requiring different techniques. Matthew mastered them all.
Beyond being the toughest animal on the tour, I've always said that he is also one of the most intellectual guys out there and definitely the best learner. Matthew analysis constantly his own relative deficits and studies and learns from his greatest opponents without allowing them to catch up with him in his primary qualities (fitness, tactics).