The semi-finals of the Manchester Open take place today, with action beginning at 15:00 (GMT+1) at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, as the last four in both draws go head-to-head for places in the final.
The only all-Egyptian clash on the penultimate day in Manchester will see two former World Champions do battle. Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad will face off for a spot in the final. The other finalist will be either Joel Makin or the unseeded Patrick Rooney, in one of two all-British clashes.
The other will see top seed Sarah-Jane Perry and good friend Tesni Evans go face-to-face for a place in Monday’s final. The first match of the day will see New Zealand’s Joelle King take on Belgian No.1 Nele Gilis.
You can catch all the action live from the National Squash Centre on SQUASHTV.
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Order of Play
Joelle King v Nele Gilis
The first match of the afternoon’s play will see World No.5 Joelle King take on Belgian No.1 Nele Gilis for a place in Monday’s finals.
The pair have met three times before on the PSA World Tour, with the New Zealander holding a 100% record across those contests. Gilis has taken just a single game from those three matches, and that came at the inaugural Manchester Open in 2019, an event that King went on to win.
The Kiwi has dropped just one game so far this week, with that coming in a 3-1 victory over Egypt’s Sana Ibrahim in her first match of the tournament. She then defeated Malaysia’s Aifa Azman in straight games, spending just 23 minutes on court in her quarter final contest.
Gilis, on the other hand, is yet to drop a game so far this tournament, winning in straight games over both Egypt’s Hana Ramadan and Welshwoman Emily Whitlock to make it into the last four. She has spent 75 minutes on court this week, but with both having a rest day prior to this contest, the duo will both be fresh.
Thanks to a great run of recent form, King currently occupies the #4 spot on he SquashLevels Power Ratings, nine spots above the Belgian. The algorithm predicts an 85% win likelihood for the Kiwi in the semi-finals.
Can King continue her 100% run over Gilis and move into a second Manchester Open final? Or can Gilis break the duck, and make a first Silver level final?
Mohamed ElShorbagy v Karim Abdel Gawad
The first men’s match of Sunday’s action will be an all-Egyptian contest between Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad, as the former World No.1s and World Champions go head-to-head.
This will be the 20th meeting between the compatriots on Tour, with the first coming almost a decade ago at the CIMB Malaysian Open Squash Championships. ElShorbagy has won the last four battles, including in the final of this very tournament in 2020.
The World No.3 has won both of his matches so far this week in four games, starting off with a 3-1 win over Frenchman Victor Crouin in the second round. He then defeated good friend and training partner Eain Yow Ng, also by a 3-1 scoreline, in the quarter finals.
Gawad has spent 15 minutes less on court so far this week at the National Squash Centre, starting off with a three-game victory over USA No.1 Shahjahan Khan. He then defeated Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in four to make his way into the semis.
The pair are separated by four spots on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, with ElShorbagy the higher of the two at the #8 spot. He is expected to win in five according to the algorithms.
Can ElShorbagy make his way into another Manchester Open final? Or will Gawad grab just a sixth win over his Egyptian counterpart in 20 matches?
Tesni Evans v Sarah-Jane Perry
The second women’s semi-final will see roommates Tesni Evans and Sarah-Jane Perry do battle, in the first of two England-Wales contests to end the evening’ action.
This will be the 14th meeting between the two, with the English No.1 having beaten the Welshwoman on ten previous occasions. She also has beaten Evans in each of the last two editions of the Manchester Open, while the Welshwoman’s most recent win over Perry came at this venue, in the inaugural event back in 2019.
After receiving a bye through the first round, Evans has spent just 50 minutes on court across her two matches. She got the better of Frenchwoman Marie Stephan in the second round, dropping just nine points, before then causing an upset in the last four, as she defeated No.3 seed Georgina Kennedy in straight games.
Perry has found it slightly tougher than her opponent, spending 37 minutes more on court at the National Squash Centre. She came through a stop-start encounter with Egypt’s Yathreb Adel in the last 16, before beating compatriot Jasmine Hutton in four games in the quarter finals.
The pair are very even on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, but despite being so close on level, the Englishwoman occupies the #10 spot, while Evans is currently in the #15 position. Perry has a 60% win likelihood according to the algorithm.
Can the top seed safely make it through to the final on home soil? Or will Evans take out another Englishwoman and cause another upset?
Joel Makin v Patrick Rooney
The last match of the evening’s action in Manchester also follows the ales v England pattern, as No.3 seed Joel Makin will do battle with England’s Patrick Rooney for a place in the finals.
The pair have met five times previously on the PSA World Tour, with Makin winning the last four of those. Three of those wins have come in the last 13 months, while you have to go back to 2015 and the Christchurch Vets Ipswich Open for Rooney’s only success against the Welshman.
Rooney is the only unseeded player in the last four, and he has had to come from the first round, whee he overcame Scotland’s Greg Lobban. He then caused a massive upset by taking out No.2 seed Marwan ElShorbagy in a five-game thriller, because securing another surprise win in the quarter finals, where he defeated German No.1 Raphael Kandra to make this stage of the competition.
Makin, on the other hand, has come through the tournament to this point relatively unscathed, winning both of his matches in straight games. After a first round bye, he defeated England’s George Parker in the second round, before then overcoming the challenge of No.5 seed Yousef Soliman in yesterday’s semi-finals.
The Welshman currently occupies the #6 spot on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, while Rooney is only just inside the top 20. The algorithm gives Makin an 84% win likelihood.
Can Makin continue his good form in Manchester and make it into another final at the National Squash Centre? Or will Rooney cause yet another upset in this incredible run?