The finalists were strangers to Manchester finals – Joelle King was the winner of the inaugural event in 2019 while Sarah-Jane Perry was runner-up in last year’s third edition.
In similar vein, Mohamed ElShorbagy was the winner of the first men’s event in 2020, with Joel Makin finishing runner-up in the 2021 event.
King claims second Manchester Open title in style
Opening finals day at the Manchester Open 2022 was 2019 winner Joelle King against No.1 seed Sarah-Jane Perry. Perry was looking to claim her 12th PSA World Tour title and add the Manchester Open to her trophy haul.
King started the match in terrific form, finding her targets with supreme accuracy and stretching Perry into all four corners of the court. King took the opening game 11-8 in just nine minutes to take the lead in the match.
The New Zealand No.1 continued this momentum into the second game, taking time away from her English opponent and firing the ball short with pace. King earned herself a game ball at 10-9 and after a video referee decision, King doubled her lead.
Perry had to find something different in the third game to give herself a lifeline in the match but started poorly as King ran out to a 5-2 lead. Perry gathered some momentum to claw back to 8-9 but after a solid rally from the No.2 seed, King had two championships balls. She converted at the first time of asking to win her second Manchester Open title.
“I’m actually quite emotional,” admitted King afterwards. “It’s been a long time since I won an event, a lot has happened in my life since then. I’ve been through a lot of downs and to be at this point winning a tournament against the calibre of players we have on tour means so much. It’s nice to have so much support, some of my team aren’t here and my body is in bits so it’s just so nice and emotional.
“It’s been three years since I’ve seen anyone in my family, and I love them, this is what all the sacrifices are for. I wanted to give my squash everything that I have and this one is for them and to everyone who stood by me. When you’re doing well there’s so many friends and people but it’s those that are there when things aren’t doing so well that mean so much.
“Everyone has the World Championships at the top of their minds. I’m choosing to miss the other tournaments to be at my best for that but everyone will go about it in different ways so let’s see what happens.”
Result :  Joelle King (NZL) 3-0  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (41m)
Makin beats ElShorbagy to capture biggest title to date
Following on from the women’s final, No.1 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy and Joel Makin took to the court to go head to head for the men’s title.
The match is a repeat of the Squash On Fire Open final that took place earlier in the year with ElShorbagy winning on that occasion in a 69 minute 3-0. Makin made sure that wasn’t going to be the scoreline again as he took the opening game in this encounter 11-7 in 18 minutes.
ElShorbagy responded in the second game and started to pick off Makin’s drives, causing the Welshman to cover a lot of ground to retrieve the Egyptian’s attacks. The former World Champion took the game 11-5 to equalise.
Makin started the third game superbly, narrowing ElShorbagy’s angles of attack and counterpunching with great accuracy. ‘The Golden Tiger’ set himself up with five-game balls to take the lead. ElShorbagy started to fight back however and impressively won the next five points to set up a tiebreak. Makin recovered and after squandering another game ball, took the game 13-11.
Makin continued to press on in the fourth game and his relentless energy and intensity was proving too much for the World No.3 to deal with. The Welshman ran out to a 5-1 lead and showed no sign of slowing down. The World No.9 earned himself with six championships balls at 10-4. Makin only needed one attempt to secure his first title since winning the Arnold Homes Tring Open 2018 and his biggest title to date.
“That was a massive push for me, I’ve been close to getting a win like this for a while. You feel like you’re putting in the work and you get close and then you lose. You put together matches but you don’t quite get it together all through the week. I’ve managed to get off 3-0 in earlier rounds here, which has been great for me and I was able to have a big push in the final then.
“I know what Mohamed has been doing to get back, he set six months aside to get back. I know he was hungry to get the win here today, he pushed hard and he was tactically difficult at the start of the match. A tense third game as well, it was tight but that’s what you want, to be able to compete like that. I enjoyed all of it and it’s great to be back here. We had the Manchester Open last year but we didn’t get to have a big crowd and this is what we want, people here enjoying the sport and tight, hard matches.
“The form coming into this tournament wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I just kept working hard and wait for a week to come together like it has done.”
Result :  Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 11-7, 5-11, 13-11, 11-4 (70m)