The fifth edition of the Manchester Open gets under way today at the National Squash Centre with sixteen First Round matches on two Glass Courts. Today’s winners will face the seeded players in tomorrow’s second round.
Harrity and Pajares score Day One upsets
USA’s Todd Harrity and Spain’s Iker Pajares scored the only upsets on day one as the Manchester Open 2023 got underway from the National Squash Centre as 32 players looked to secure second round spots in the PSA World Tour Silver event.
Harrity needed just 28 minutes to defeat India’s Ramit Tandon in straight games, while Pajares came from a game down to beat France’ Gregoire March to set up a second-round clash with recently crowned World Champion Ali Farag.
There were no upsets in the women’s draw with the closest matches being won by Egyptian duo Farida Mohamed and Nada Abbas who both came through in four games against English pair Lucy Turmel and Katie Malliff. Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam also needed four games to defeat South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller.
Watanabe and Adel Progress In Straight Games
Satomi Watanabe (JPN) 3-0 Hana Moataz (EGY) 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (30m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0 [WC] Saran Nghiem (ENG) n 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (25m)
In the opening matches of the evening session, Satomi Watanabe and Yathreb Adel notched comprehensive 3-0 wins against Hana Moataz and wildcard Saran Nghiem, respectively.
On court two, Watanabe defeated Moataz in half an hour as Japan’s No.1 was in fine form to secure her place in the second round.
Watanabe took the first two games 11-6 and 11-9 as Moataz fought back in a crucial third game for the Egyptian when she was 9-7 up, but some costly errors opened the door for Watanabe to level the game before she clinched match ball at the first attempt.
Afterwards, Watanabe said: “I played Hana in Florida recently and it was 3-2, we’ve played three time together and they’ve all been five games and today was again not easy although it was only three games.
“I was telling myself to be really patient, she rarely makes mistakes and can hit some really good shots and there’s no way you win points easily. I was trying to make sure that I gave no easy points away as well.”
Adel also secured her second round spot with a straight games victory, seeing off tournament wildcard Nghiem.
The Egyptian wrapped up the match in 25 minutes against the 19-year-old on her home court in her first appearance on the PSA World Tour.
Mosaad Pulls Through Stern Test, While Eleinen Prevails in Four
Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1 [WC] Finnlay Withington (ENG) 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7 (44m)
Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 3-1 Cesar Salazar (MEX) 11-1, 11-5, 5-11, 11-3 (44m)
Former World No.3 Omar Mosaad came through a testing battle against tournament wildcard Finnlay Withington to reach the second round.
Mosaad’s experience looked to be too strong for Withington, as the 35-year-old opened up a two-game advantage.
But with the home crowd behind him, Withington responded magnificently in the third – taking the game to Mosaad as the Englishman pulled a game back. Withington continued to impress in the fourth as the 19-year-old made an excellent account of himself against the Egyptian. However Mosaad’s experience and guile came to the fore as he was victorious in the fourth to book a place in the second round.
“Of course experience makes a big difference if you play younger players,” Mosaad said. “I try to play my best in every match, but I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to be in front of this amazing crowd and at this venue.
‘Before this match I tried to focus 100% to make it in three, but he (Finnlay Withington) put me in trouble, especially in the third and fourth games. So I’m really happy to win.
“I’m moving well, but I’m taking it match by match, point by point. I’m really enjoying my time here and giving it my best and that’s it. Winning or losing, you should put 100% in for every match and I’m looking forward to the next round.”
The Egyptian, who recently impressed at the World Championships where he defeated World No.8 Victor Crouin, continued his strong form when he raced into a two-game lead.
However Salazar, who was facing Eleinen for the first time on the PSA World Tour, responded by taking the third 11-5, but Eleinen won the fourth 11-3.
Abbas Holds Off Malliff Fightback; Hutton Dispatches Soini
Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-1 Katie Malliff (ENG) 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10 (57m)
Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-0 Emilia Soini (FIN) 11-2, 11-2, 11-2 (17m)
Egyptian Nada Abbas held off a spirited fightback from England’s Katie Malliff to secure her place in the next round.
Former World No.12 Abbas went two games up, winning 11-4 and 11-4, as she looked on course for a spot in the second round. However Malliff halved the deficit as she clinched a tightly contested third game, which was briefly halted with the score at 8-6 in favour of Abbas due to a contributed blood injury sustained by Malliff.
Malliff was buoyed by her performance in the third, which carried through to the fourth game as she had game ball and looked as though she’d restore parity. However Abbas fought back to force a tiebreak, where the Egyptian came out on top 12-10.
Meanwhile on court two, Jasmine Hutton eased into the second round with a resounding win against Emilia Soini.
“I’m really happy to get off in three. Emilia can be a very dangerous opponent and she didn’t seem quite right today. But I’m happy to keep my focus and hit some good targets,” Hutton said.
“I feel like I was moving well. It’s been a busy few weeks, but mentally I’m feeling really fresh and I’m really excited to keep going throughout this event. I’m feeling good.
“I’m excited to play Joelle King in round two. We get on really well and she’s like a big sister to me on tour! No respect tomorrow but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Rooney Wins All-English Battle; Pajares Comes From Behind To Triumph
Iker Pajares (Esp) 3-1 Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8 (59m)
Patrick Rooney(Eng) 3-1 George Parker (Eng) 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 (46m)
Patrick Rooney came out on top in the all-English battle in the final match of the opening day, knocking his fellow countryman George Parker out.
Rooney drew first blood by taking the first 11-6, but Parker swiftly responded to equalise. Parker had four game balls, with three of them squandered. However he managed to convert at the fourth attempt to make it one game apiece.
But Rooney found his groove despite a minor setback from conceding the second game, taking the third and fourth games 11-6 and 11-3 to tee up a second round clash with Youssef Soliman tomorrow night.
Post-match, Rooney said: “I’m feeling good. It was coming off the racket quite nicely today and I felt the court was quite dead. I’m not sure if it’s usually like that, but it felt like it today.
“I thought I was playing my shots quite well, working him as well as I wanted to, hitting accurate shots and I’m feeling good.
“I’ve not had an easy draw for around three years now! I don’t think it exists anymore – everyone is really good. Youssef (Soliman) is a class player. He’s solid and I’m in the same age group as him so I grew up watching him play, I know his game, I’ve never beaten him so hopefully tomorrow is the day.”
Over on court two, Iker Pajares came from one game down to defeat Gregoire Marche.
Marche clinched the first 11-3 before Pajares levelled having nudged the second game in a tiebreak. The Spaniard claimed the third and fourth games 11-6 and 11-8 for a second round spot.
The first session of the Manchester Open was played today, with eight exciting encounters taking place in the afternoon at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, England.
Subramaniam and Shahin make assured starts
Nadine Shahin (Egy) 3-0 Enora Villard (Fra) 11-7, 14-12, 11-2 (25m)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (Mas) 3-1 Alexandra Fuller (Rsa) 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 (40m)
In the opening matches of the day, Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam came through a tough battle with South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller to set up a second round contest with No.5 seed Rowan Elaraby, while Egypt’s Nadine Shahin impressed in a 3-0 win over France’s Enora Villard to earn a clash with No.6 seed Georgina Kennedy.
Despite going into her match with Fuller ranked eight places below the World No.32, Subramaniam travelled to Manchester fancied to make good progress, with the 24-year-old previously rising as high as World No.16 before a severe injury suffered last year forced her into a lengthy absence.
The Malaysian No.1 made a strong start as she held off Fuller to take game one 11-8. The South African, however, responded well, taking the second game by the same scoreline to level the contest. Subramaniam was able to reset and took the third game 11-7 and then the fourth 11-6 to wrap up the match.
Afterwards, Subramaniam said: “To get the win was good. I just came into this event with not too much expectation on myself. I think in recent tournaments, I have been putting too much pressure on myself and it’s not gone well. I enjoyed myself on there today and hopefully I can keep going.”
The 25-year-old, playing in her fourth Manchester Open, was tested hard by the French No.2 in the opening two games, with Shahin saving three game balls in the second, before pushing on in the third to secure an 11-7, 14-12, 11-2 win in 25 minutes.
“To get the win was good,” said Subramaniam. I just came into this event with not too much expectation on myself. I think in recent tournaments, I have been putting too much pressure on myself and it’s not gone well. I enjoyed myself on there today and hopefully, I can keep going.
“I play Rowan [Elaraby] next and I recently lost to her in the World Championships. It’s a quick turnaround from Worlds being only three weeks ago and hopefully, I can keep the pressure off and play my game on a court that I like.”
Cardenas comes back from the brink and Lobban cruises through
Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-0 Lucas Serme (Fra) 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (40m)
Leonel Cardenas (Mex) 3-2 Yahya Elnawasany (Egy) 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7 (69m)
In the second set of matches, Mexico’s World No.25 Leonel Cardenas fought back from 2-0 down to beat Egypt’s World No.36 Yahya Elnawasany, while Scotland’s Greg Lobban secured the first British win in Manchester as he beat France’s Lucas Serme 3-0.
In a hard-fought opening game on the second glass court, Manchester Open debutant Elnawasany took the lead with an 11-9 win. In a stop-start second, the Egyptian – who lost to Cardenas 3-0 in their only previous meeting, which came in last year’s 5K in Doha – had one foot in the second round as he repeated the first game’s scoreline to take a morale-boosting 2-0 lead.
Cardenas pushed back in the third game and had two game balls at 10-8 as he looked to pull a game back. The Egyptian saved one, but could not save the second as Cardenas reduced the deficit to 2-1.
In a tense fourth game, both players had big opportunities to make the breakthrough. Cardenas seemed comfortable as he took the first six points, only for Elnawasany to gather himself and begin chipping away at the Mexican’s imposing lead. The Egyptian did well to save two game balls when 10-8 down, and came agonisingly close to closing out the match in four games as he went match ball up at 11-10. Cardenas, however, clung on and forced a fifth game with a 13-11 victory.
Despite starting the fifth game with a conduct stroke for being late back on court, Cardenas began at rapid pace. The Mexican No.1 raced into a 5-1 lead, and was able to manage the rest of the contest as he earned his place in the second round – where he will face No.2 seed Tarek Momen – with an 11-7 win to end the match after a 69-minute struggle.
“It was tough,” Cardenas said afterwards. Yahya is a great player and I was trying to find a way to get back into the match in the end I did. In the beginning, I was trying to find a way to get in the match and in the end I played well and used a bit of experience to get through.
“I struggled a lot, I like to play to the front a lot and I think I’m an attacking player and when you play someone so quick it’s always so hard so I had to change my tactics a bit as it went on.”
On court one, Scotland No.1 Lobban looked relaxed in his opening game, with the World No.31 controlling the pace of the contest well and picking his shots to take the lead with an 11-7 win in game one.
The 30-year-old continued to play with confidence in the second game, as he doubled his advantage with an 11-5 victory, before pushing on to seal a second round match against No.7 seed Nicolas Mueller with an 11-6 in game three.
Mohamed squeezes past Turmel and a comfortable Whitlock win
Farida Mohamed (Egy) 3-1 Lucy Turmel (Eng) 11-8, 12-14, 14-12, 11-9 (58m)
Emily Whitlock (Wal) 3-0 Cindy Merlo (Sui) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (29m)
In a stop-start battle, Egypt’s Farida Mohamed edged past England’s Lucy Turmel on court one, while on court two, Wales’ Emily Whitlock coasted through at the expense of Switzerland’s Cindy Merlo. In the pair’s last meeting, a 3-1 victory for Mohamed in the third round of the 2021 Egyptian Open, two of the games went to a tie break, and it was a similar story today in Manchester, with little to choose between the Egyptian World No.17 and the English World No.30.
In an even first game, that saw a number of decisions and appeals, Mohamed took the lead with an 11-8 win. The Egyptian made a strong start in an equally fragmented second game, moving 9-7 up before Turmel saved a game ball at 11-10 down to draw level with a 14-12.
The pair went to a tie break once a gain in the third game, with Mohamed able to hold her nerve this time as she regained the advantage with a 14-12 win, before edging the fourth 11-9 to set up an all-Egyptian showdown in round two against No.3 seed Nour El Tayeb.
“It was very tough. I’m jet lagged and have been sleeping for the last 48 hours! I woke up just three hours ago,” Mohamed said.
“Lucy’s a very tough player and I knew it was going to be tough. This is one of the toughest first rounds on tour and I’m just happy to be through in four games and not having to play another one. In tie breaks, it’s more mental. I was trying to stay calm and make it faster.”
The Welsh No.2, though, then began find her targets better as she took seven unanswered points to take the first game 11-8, which she followed up with a comfortable 11-6 win in game two.
In the third game, Whitlock saw off a mini comeback from Merlo to book her place in the next round, where she will play No.2 seed Amanda Sobhy, with an 11-7 win.
Afterwards, Whitlock said: “I’m pleased with that. Considering I was ill last week and wasn’t sure if I could play in the event, I’ll take that today. I had some nerves coming into the match but once I started to get into the rallies and saw that I was hitting the ball in the right areas, I settled down.”
Ghosal comes from behind to down Waller as Harrity breezes past Tandon
Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 3-1 Adrian Waller (Eng) 8-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (52m)
Todd Harrity (Usa) 3-0 Ramit Tandon (Ind) 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (28m)
In the last matches of the afternoon session, India’s Saurav Ghosal came from behind to beat England’s Adrian Waller and USA’s Todd Harrity upset India’s Ramit Tandon.
Waller made a brilliant start to the contest, adopting an aggressive court position and attacking well as he deservedly took the first game 11-8. The Indian No.1 hit back perfectly in the second, though, and quickly chalked off Waller’s advantage with an 11-4 win.
In a fragmented third game, Ghosal was able to push on and punish the inconsistencies creeping into Waller’s game to move 2-1 up with another 11-4 victory.
The Englishman requested a new ball for the fourth game, but was unable to stem the flow of points from Ghosal’s racket, with the World No.19 set to play French No.3 seed Victor Crouin in round two after seeing out the last game with his third 11-4 win.
Afterwards, Ghosal said: “I was able to create opportunities today and it’s been a work in progress. I’ve been trying my best and thankfully today it was, for the most part, pretty effective.
“I’m happy to get through today; Adrian Waller is a fantastic player and as you saw today, any time I left the ball not tight enough, he was punishing me.”
After comfortably taking the first game 11-4, Harrity doubled his lead against the struggling Indian No.2 with an 11-5 win in the second.
Harrity continued to dominate in the third, hitting his targets with ease as he breezed into the next round – where he’ll face No.8 seed Karim Abdel Goad, who last week reached the PSA World Championship final – with another 11-4 win in the third game.