It was a day to remember in Manchester for married couple Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb as they picked up the Manchester Open 2023 Silver event titles, beating Karim Abdel Gawad and Nele Gilis in the finals at the National Squash Centre.
It was the first time in six years that the couple have both been successful in the same tournament, with the last occasion coming at the 2017 U.S. Open.
The men’s final was a rematch of the recent PSA World Championships final as Ali Farag took on compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad and repeated his success in Chicago to claim a 32nd PSA Tour title.
El Tayeb was a winner in 2020 at the Manchester Open and came up against first-time finalist Nele Gilis as she captured a second title.
El Tayeb wins her second Manchester Open
Nour El Tayeb has captured her second Manchester Open title following her 3-1 win over Nele Gilis in the women’s final.
El Tayeb, who first won the tournament back in 2020, bagged her second title of the season after she opened the campaign with the CIB Zed Squash Open crown.
The Egyptian, who returned to court during the World Championships following a spell on the sidelines due to injury, made a swift start to the opening game with a 7-2 lead. However Gilis responded by getting to within a point of El Tayeb, whose crisp hitting helped her clinch the first game.
El Tayeb doubled her advantage by winning the second, but Gilis fought back in the third as she began to find her rhythm. The Belgian had five game balls, which she converted at the first attempt, and the hand went up for the new ball.
The fresh ball looked to have worked in Gilis’ favour as she had a 7-6 lead, but El Tayeb’s experience shone through as she was able to pull away and secure her second Manchester Open crown.
“Even though I can see her getting tired, I couldn’t close it out because even though she’s tired she keeps trying every point and keeps changing her game every few points.
“I’m glad I hung in there and trusted my ability and trusted myself, and luckily I managed to win this one as it was getting very close! I think it was the longest match of the week for me, but I’m glad.
“I was trying to focus on what I wanted to do. The game plan was tough against her – I can see her getting tired and I was tired, but I had to trust myself and I know what I’m doing as I’ve been doing it for a while.
“I’m confident in what I do, I’ve changed my coaching over the last four or five months and I’ve been taught how to be confident at every point and to give myself credit even on the points I lose. In a lot of moments when I felt like I was losing points, I was trusting myself and trusting that I was doing everything I can and it came today.”
Result :  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9 (63m)
Farag clinches his first Manchester Open crown
Reigning World Champion Ali Farag came from behind to clinch his third title in succession after beating Karim Abdel Gawad to lift the Manchester Open for the first time.
In-form Farag came into the Manchester Open having scooped the British Open in Birmingham and secured his fourth World title last week, and the Egyptian made it a hat-trick of successes as he saw off Gawad 3-1.
Gawad came out of the blocks in the opening game with a 9-4 lead, which was clawed back by Farag who sent the game into a tiebreak. Two errors from Farag put Gawad one game up.
Another early lead from Gawad in the second was gone again when Farag pulled himself back to eight-all having trailed 5-0. Another tiebreak was this time converted by Farag to level the match.
Farag’s red hot form was on show when he nudged ahead for the first time in the match with a comfortable 11-2 victory in the third, as Gawad requested physio treatment at the end of the game.
And Farag closed out the match as he triumphed 11-5 in the fourth, capping an excellent couple of months for the four-time World Champion with his third trophy in a row.
“I hate losing! That is what drives me to keep going. In the first, I didn’t start off too badly but Karim was really sharp. It was very similar to the first game in the World Champs – he was 9-4 up and I came back to 10-9 and then he came back to 10-all.
“This time he ended up winning it and I thought I’d put a bit of work into his legs, but at the beginning of the second it was so loose from my end and with Karim you just can’t afford to do it. He gave me some very lucky tins, he could have run away with the game, but I hung in there and once I got there, I think I had the upper edge and I feel better physically.
“I’m lucky that I was only away for four months as he’s been away for 10 months. It’s all on your body and all in your head and I’m so glad I have Nour by my side and having Farida here as well helps to get your mind off things and you don’t think about the matches as much or how tired you are – you just keep pushing. I’m extremely proud and very grateful.”
Result :  Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 13-11, 11-2, 11-5 (57m)