Day THREE : Quarter-Finals Reports & Reaction

The 2021 Manchester Open is at the Quarter-Final stage, with eight matches on the Glass Court at the National Squash Centre.

You can watch live on SQUASHTV and Facebook, follow the matches with live scoring and our social media feeds, and we’ll have reports and reaction from the Glass Court right here, with a roundup to follow at the end of the day.

Check out the reports and reaction below the results ….

Manchester Open 2021 : Day THREE : Quarters

[3] Tesni Evans (Wal) 3-1 [6] Nele Gilis (Bel) 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 (53m)
[4] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-2 [7] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10 (82m)

[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-0 Sivasangari Subramaniam (Mas) 11-3, 11-9, 12-10 (34m)
Youssef Ibrahim (Egy) 3-0 [6] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy)  11-9, 11-5, 11-3 (39m)

Emily Whitlock (Wal) 3-0 Coline Aumard (Fra)  11-4, 12-10, 11-4 (34m)
[3] Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 [8] Omar Mosaad (Egy)  11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (32m)

[1] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 [7] Tinne Gilis (Bel)  11-4, 11-4, 11-1 (28m)
[1] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-2 Abdullah Al Tamimi (Qat)  8-11, 9-11, 11-1, 11-7, 12-10 (58m)

Draws & Results  Live Scores Photo Galleries

Evans Through to Semis

Tesni Evans in action
Tesni Evans in action

World No.11 Tesni Evans has booked her spot in the semi-finals of the Manchester Open after a hard-fought battle with Belgium’s Nele Gilis at the National Squash Centre.

Evans, the No.3 seed, has fond memories of this tournament after reaching the final of the inaugural Manchester Open back in 2019, and the 28-year-old will have another chance to reach the title decider following an 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 victory over Gilis.

It was the pair’s first meeting on the PSA Tour since the qualifying stages of the 2016 Wadi Degla Open, with Evans winning that match as well as their only other meeting at the 2015 Allam British Open.

Things have changed a lot for both players since then – Evans since breaking into the top 10 and Gilis establishing herself as a top 20 player – but the scoreline remained the same as Evans booked her place in her first PSA semi-final since the 2019 Manchester Open.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Evans.

“She’s a fantastic player, she’s been playing really well all season and she’s knocking on that door. She’s basically in the door, she’s not even knocking on it really. I knew I had to play really good squash today and that has not been the case recently.

“I’m really proud of myself for putting out a performance like that, and I’m happy. I naturally start really slowly, and I knew if Nele started really quickly then it would have been even harder for me to get back into it. I knew I had to start rapidly, so I got myself ready and managed to do that today.

“Calm is not a work you’d normally use for me on court, but it’s something that I know I have to do. Recently I haven’t been playing the way I want to play, so I was trying to keep myself calm and keep myself focused on what I have to do. You have to play your best squash, there’s no other way.”

Result: [3] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [6] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 (53m)

Huge Battle as Makin Overcomes Hesham

Joel Makin roars
Joel Makin roars

Welshman Joel Makin came through an almighty battle with Egypt’s Mazen Hesham which saw him finally pull through after 82 minutes of electric squash.

The pair met in March’s CIB Black Ball Open where Makin achieved a 3-0 victory, but Hesham was much sharper this time around as his incredible shot-making talents enabled him to unsettle his opponent, and ‘The Black Falcon’ duly took a one-game lead.

Makin’s grit and determination carried him to victory in the second game, but he was again victim to some sensational winners from Hesham in the third as World No.14 Hesham showed his class to restore his lead, coming back from 5-1 down.

The momentum flipped once again in the fourth as Makin turned the tables on his opponent, before the fifth game was punctuated by a number of refereeing decisions and video reviews, as well as a short break for a blood injury sustained by Hesham, who had been well acquainted with the physio after requiring treatment after each game.

As the drama reached its crescendo, it was Makin who held his nerve to book his spot in the semi-finals, where he will take on either Mohamed Abouelghar or Youssef Ibrahim next.

“I loved that, it’s competitive, it’s hard, and we were getting stuck into each other, that’s what it’s all about,” said Makin.

“It’s much better when you nick it in the fifth as well. There was a bit of a niggle, there were a few things that I thought he was doing that weren’t on, and I told him. He had an opinion on it as well, and that’s fine. 

“It’s professional sport, we were getting stuck in and he’s a quality player. These guys are coming into it with nothing to lose, everyone is shooting from behind me. He was hitting shots that weren’t on, but he’s doing it with a high percentage.

“You’ve got to take it and absorb, it’s a difficult balance to get right on my behalf when he’s playing like that, but I’m getting through these matches. It might not be the best squash I’ve played, but I’m in the next round.

“You’ve just got to try and get through those patches when he is unbelievable and pin him behind you. I tried to mix the serve but hitting it hard down the middle got it off the volley, at least.”

Result: [4] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [7] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10 (82m)

Perry Moves Through to Last Four After Beating Subramaniam

Sarah-Jane Perry celebrates
Sarah-Jane Perry celebrates

England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry has set up a mouthwatering semi-final fixture with 2019 runner-up Tesni Evans after she overcame Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam in straight games.

Perry dominated the opening game with an 11-3 victory, while she fought back from a 7-3 deficit in the second to double her advantage. 

Subramaniam also demonstrated her considerable talents in the third as she overturned a game ball to take Perry to a tie-break, but the World No.36 refocused and converted to progress to the semi-finals here for the second year in succession.

“I came out really well, and I think one of the things I said to my coach Rob [Owen], having played at this centre for many years, the different between the back court and that glass court is insane,” Perry said.

“The glass back that Siva played on in her previous match is very spongey, but this one is very quick, so I knew I’d probably be finding my corners better than her in the first game. You could see as the match went on she got better and better, so I had to defend against that and nullify what she could do.

“She caught me by surprise in the second when she came out. I didn’t think she found much length in the first game, then in the second she took a bit of pace off the ball and was getting it in the back a lot better. I was trying to attack too much of some shots where I probably should have just hit down the wall and reset.

“Even if you do that and don’t hit it hard enough then she is straight on it, she’s very quick-footed and gets back. I was pleased to win that one and finish that game really well.”

31-year-old Perry will look to extend a 9-3 lead on her head-to-head record with Evans, but did lose out to the Welsh star in the last eight of 2019’s Manchester Open.

“It was really nice to see her [Evans] playing some really good squash today,” Perry said.

“She’s a very good friend of mine, she’s had a lot of things going on in the past year or so and the most recent was a bit of a niggle. It’s great to see her back from that and playing some good squash, but hopefully I can stop her from doing that, which is the goal.”

Result: [2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-0: 11-3, 11-9, 12-10 (34m)

Impressive Ibrahim Ousts Abouelghar

Youssef Ibrahim
Youssef Ibrahim prepares a volley

World No.18 Youssef Ibrahim continued his superb tournament so far as he followed up yesterday’s impressive win over No.2 seed Karim Abdel Gawad with a 3-0 dismantling of No.6 seed Mohamed Abouelghar.

Ibrahim is one of the players to watch in Egyptian squash at the moment and was sublime as he nullified Abouelghar’s attacking talents and rattled off a number of scintillating winners.

The first game was the most competitive of the three, but after Ibrahim won that one, there was little chance for Abouelghar to mount a comeback as Ibrahim closed out an 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 victory in just 39 minutes.

“I’m very happy that I’ve managed to get scalp after scalp,” said Ibrahim.

“I’m the underdog in each match. I never beat Abouelghar in practice and he’s so strong in tournaments too, so it’s a big win for me. I’m happy with the way I played every game and played the crucial points well.”

Welsh No.4 seed Joel Makin awaits Ibrahim in the semi-finals and the Egyptian is expecting a different type of encounter.

“Makin is a completely different player to Abouelghar,” he said.

“They’re both very physical, but Makin relies on his physicality, it makes up probably 80-90% of his game plan. Abouelghar is very attacking, I don’t expect Makin to push me to the front as much, so I will have a completely different game plan.”

Result: Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt [6] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 (39m)

Ruthless Whitlock Brushes Aumard Aside

Whitlock celebrates

Going into today’s clash, Whitlock boasted a 4-1 record in PSA games against her opponent, with the last match coming in the 2018 Windy City Open.

The Welshwoman started the match strongly, as she has throughout the tournament. The World No.23 moved Aumard around the court well, dominating her opponent and taking the first game 11-4 in nine minutes.

Aumard was much improved in the second and the World No. 25 quickly moved into a 4-1 lead. Whitlock soon fought back, though, reaching parity with an immaculate boast. From here the game was closely contested, with neither player able to build momentum.

Eventually, though, Whitlock was able to make the decisive breakthrough, sealing the second game 12-10 with a powerful cross-court drive.

Whitlock’s clinical performance continued in the third and she dispatched the final game in ruthless fashion, securing a 11-4 win to progress to the semis-finals.

Speaking after the match, Whitlock said: “Thank you to everyone who watched, there are some people watching from home who couldn’t make it today, and thanks to everyone who has come.

“I knew Coline can really up the tempo and be really riled up, especially after yesterday. [Aumard’s win yesterday] was not a surprise for everyone on tour, because she’s really athletic, really mobile, trains her socks off and is coming back from a horrendous time out. As someone who has struggled with injury also, maybe not for a prolonged eight-month block, but over a two year span on and of, I know how mentally difficult that can be and I can only imagine how difficult it had been not to see family for 20 months, so fair play to come out and play so aggressively and positively. I think I was just better in those conditions on the day.

“I thought [playing the British Nationals last week would help] the reason would be as prep for this, I asked if there was going to be a bubble for Nationals because I thought ‘I can’t do it if there’s another bubble’  but it was more flexible, so I was really happy about that. But I was actually seeing it really well on the glass at Nationals, even though my first two matches were on court three, I was thinking ‘it doesn’t really matter’ because I came on and was fresh to it. At the end of the day it’s about what kind of game you play and eventually it will come through. I’m glad it worked out today.

“With Tesni and I being in north Wales, the squash there isn’t what it was when I was a junior, but hopefully now that I’m getting my act together and keeping my body healthy and able to get through the rounds alongside Tesni, having experienced that squash side of it, I hope that encourages participation levels, junior play in particular and courts being built again and not taken down.”

Result: Emily Whitlock (WAL) bt Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-4 (34m)

Elias Bests Mosaad in Mistake-Laden Match

Elias leaps

No.3 seed Diego Elias cruised into the semi-finals, courtesy of a 3-0 victory against No.8 seed Omar Mosaad.

Neither player looked at the sharpest, particularly in the first game, with World No.8 Elias’ more accurate performance enough to merit a win.

The rest of the match followed the same pattern, with both Mosaad and Elias appearing frustrated on court. World No.17 Mosaad, in particular, struggled with accuracy throughout.

This, ultimately, proved to be the difference and Elias was able to better compose himself to triumph, finishing Mosaad off within 32 minutes.

After the match, Elias acknowledged that neither player had been at their best. He said: “It was not the best match from both of us, but more from him than me. I was a bit tired from yesterday and maybe he was, too. A lot of unforced errors and I just don’t want to remember this, and play better tomorrow.

“The most important thing is that I won and get to play tomorrow. It’s good that it wasn’t a long match. I’m happy with that and just want to recover and focus on tomorrow.”

Result: [3] Diego Elias (PER) bt [8] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (32m)

Assured El Hammamy Sees off Gilis

El Hammamy controlled the game excellently

Top seed Hania El Hammamy produced a controlled display to see off No.7 seed Tinne Gilis, with the Egyptian needing just 28 minutes to secure her place in the semi-final.

20-year-old El Hammamy started well and was dominant in the first. Despite Gilis making few mistakes, El Hammamy put the 23-year-old Belgian away comfortably, needing just eight minutes to claim the first game.

In the second, World No.19 Gilis initially caused El Hammamy more problems. However, the Egyptian quickly upped the tempo and by the end of the game was looking dominant once more, taking the second 11-4.

In truth the final game was largely a formality. Though Gilis continued to fight hard, the in-form World No.7 El Hammamy had too much quality on the day, finishing the match with an 11-1 victory.

“I think I played really well today, I’m so happy with my performance. Playing against Tinne is never easy – playing the Gilis family is not easy! I played [Tinne’s sister] Nele in the last tournament and this one against Tinne. Definitely it’s tough to be playing against someone who is improving constantly. Tinne improves with every tournament. She’s a really good player and I admire the fact that she likes to improve and see the weaknesses, physically and technically. So I’m really happy with my performance and that I was able to win in three today,” El Hammamy said after the match.

She added: “I think I played really well. Maybe some patches in the match I wasn’t accurate enough, but I’m happy that I managed to focus and find my length in each game.”

On her semi-final opponent Emily Whitlock, she said: “Emily has been playing really well. I watched her in the Nationals and today as well. I think she’s playing really well lately. I played her in El Gouna and it was really tough, so I’m expecting a really tough match tomorrow.”

Result: [1] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-1 (28m)

Top Seed ElShorbagy Completes Miraculous Comeback

In the day’s final game, No.1 seed Marwan ElShorbagy came back from two games down and survived a match ball to see off World No.38 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.

Al Tamimi shocked the World No.5 in the first game, with the 26-year-old Qatari continuing his impressive form from the second-round win against Miguel Rodriguez to take the game 11-8.

ElShorbagy continued to struggle in the second, with the usually-dominant Egyptian looking leggy and having difficulty finding his accuracy. 

Al Tamimi, well-loved for his maverick squash, continued to play consistently and with maturity, sensing that there could be a famous upset on the cards. This prospect became even more tangible when he took the second game 11-9.

With a player of ElShorbagy’s talents, it was little surprise that the Egyptian would eventually fight back and the Jackal did so, furiously, requiring just four minutes to blast Al Tamimi aside 11-1 in the third.

Despite the heavy defeat, Al Tamimi did not appear nervous in the fourth game. Perhaps with good reason, with the Qatari also suffering an 11-1 defeat in his 3-1 victory over Rodriguez.

However, with ElShorbagy looking more like his usual self, the fourth game was an entertaining, if niggly, encounter, with both players colliding frequently. ElShorbagy, though, eventually pulled clear, taking the game 11-7.

With it all to play for in the final game, both players pushed hard in their bid for a semi-final berth. No quarter was given by either, as both the lead and words were exchanged.

From 8-8, it was Al Tamimi who first managed to wedge a toe in the door of the semi-final, going up 10-9, and having a glorious opportunity for a fairytale win.

ElShorbagy, though, held his nerve, seeing off Al Tamimi’s match ball and going 11-10 up. This time, though, the match ball stuck, as ElShorbagy finished the match with a straight drive, leaving Al Tamimi disconsolate. 

After the match, ElShorbagy said: “Abdullah played very well today, he had a great tactic in the first two games. I wasn’t expecting it to be honest. I was expecting him to go shorter sooner than that and I should have been smarter, knowing that he can play differently.

“His coach in the US is smart and knows how to play against me I guess. I should probably have thought about that tactic he would play, my brother does that really well against me so I should have expected it a bit, but I’m really happy with how I came back after that. I told myself I have to fight.

“[My coaches] Nick [Matthew] and Daniel [Massaro] haven’t seen me play here in a very long time so I didn’t want to lose in the first match after a long time. It’s good, I’m happy to have both of them here and I was looking at Danny and he was giving me that look [telling me] to breath and giving me confidence.

“I’m really happy with how I fought after the second game. Abdullah played great, he’s really dangerous already. I can’t wait for tomorrow now.”

On tomorrow’s opponent, Diego Elias, ElShorbagy said: “We haven’t played in a long time. I like Diego as a player, I like learning from him and watching him. He’s really good to watch. It’s a good match to have before the British Open, those are the kind of matches you want. But for now recovery is very important and I look forward to the match tomorrow.”

Result: [1] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 8-11, 9-11, 11-1, 11-7, 12-10 (58m)