Elias ousts top seed ElShorbagy as the finalists are decided
Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias has ended an 18-month wait for a PSA final after he overcame top seed Marwan ElShorbagy to reach the title decider of the 2021 Manchester Open at the National Squash Centre.
Lima-based Elias, 24, had won seven of his previous eight matches against ElShorbagy and extended his winning run over the World No.5 to six successive matches, ElShorbagy becoming increasingly exasperated as the match went on. Elias will now compete in his first PSA final since the Motor City Open in February, 2020.
“It feels good to have a big win after so long. I came back from the World Championships, I played okay, but I feel like my game is coming back now.
“I had a really good length today. The balls were really tight to the wall, I was moving well and I haven’t felt this good in a while. I’m happy it was 3-0.”
Elias will take on fourth seed Joel Makin in the title decider after the Welshman dug deep to end the giant-killing run of Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim with an 11-6, 7-11, 3-11, 11-4, 12-10 victory.
World No.18 Ibrahim had been in red-hot form this week after beating both No.2 seed Karim Abdel Gawad and No.6 seed Mohamed Abouelghar. Makin – who won the British Nationals on this very court a week ago tomorrow – found himself 2-1 down as 344 minutes of on-court action over the past two weeks looked to be taking its toll.
But he tapped into his energy reserves and stayed mentally resilient to draw level.
Ibrahim reached 10-8 in the decider, but then struck the tin four times as Makin advanced to his first PSA final since the Open de France in September, 2019.
“There was a patch in the fifth where there was not much I could do, he was diving across and hitting backhand crosscourt nicks, backhand drops, they were all going in and then four went down in a row at the end.
“You keep trying to force him behind you and make some errors.”
England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry and top seed Hania El Hammamy will go head-to-head in the women’s final after they both beat Welsh opposition in Tesni Evans and Emily Whitlock.
It will be a repeat of December’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open – where Perry came back from two games down to win her biggest title to date – and World No.6 Perry secured her place in the title decider here in Manchester after coming from a game down to beat 2019 runner-up Evans.
Evans took a close opening game, but it was all Perry in the second, and although Evens was in touch throughout the third and fourth it was the Englishwoman who edged through in both to secure the victory.
“I thought I’d just found my rhythm in the fourth game and – boom – it was 9-9. I had to play two really good shots there to close that out, and I’m feeling quite relieved right now.”
El Hammamy will now look to avenge that Black Ball Open defeat after she beat Whitlock – easing through the first and third games but saving game ball in a tense second – to join Perry in reaching her first Manchester Open final.