QUARTER-FINALS : British Trio join Egyptian Quintet in Semis

The sixth edition of the Manchester Open continued today at the National Squash Centre with eight quarter-final matches, all on the main Glass Court.

There was only one seeding upset as Fares Desouky beat third seed Youssef Soliman in one of two all-Egyptian matches, joining compatriots Youssef Ibrahim, Nour El Tayeb, Rowan Elaraby an Salma Hany in the semi-finals.

The other three spots were shared by the British as Gina Kennedy, Joel Makin and Greg Lobban advanced.

You can Watch Live on SquashTV, follow on Live Scoring and our Social Feeds, and we have photos in the Gallery and Reports and Reaction below the results..

Manchester Open 2024: Day THREE, QUARTER-FINALS

Women’s Quarters :
[1] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-1 [6] Sabrina Sobhy (Usa)   8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (39m)
[3] Rowan Elaraby (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Nour Aboulmakarim (Egy)   12-10, 12-10, 11-2 (37m)
[4] Salma Hany (Egy) 3-1 [wc] Saran Nghiem (Eng)   11-1, 11-5, 12-10 (36m)
[2] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 3-0 [5] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn)   11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (38m)

Men’s Quarters :
[7] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-1 [9/16] Gregoire Marche (Fra)   11-4, 13-11, 14-16, 11-5 (87m)
[5] Fares Dessouky (Egy) 3-1 [3] Youssef Soliman (Egy)   11-8, 3-11, 11-8, 13-11 (73m)
[4] Youssef Ibrahim (Egy) 3-0 [8] Nathan Lake (Eng)   13-11, 11-8, 11-9 (32m)
[2] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 [6] Iker Pajares (Esp)   6-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (53m)


British Trio join Egyptian Quintet in the Semi-Finals

Ibrahim showcases arsenal of weapons to wow Manchester crowd

[4] Youssef Ibrahim (Egy) 3-0 [8] Nathan Lake (Eng) 13-11, 11-8, 11-9 (32m)

In the final match of the day’s play Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim showcased his arsenal of weapons to the Manchester crowd as he ended home hopes in the men’s draw by beating England’s Nathan Lake in straight games.

Ibrahim led 10-7 in the opening game but was pegged back by an accurate Lake, who knew that precision was the name of the game against the talented Egyptian. Lake lost a game ball at 11-10 and was made to pay by the No.4 seed, who took the next two points to draw first blood in the tie.

Ibrahim looked to be enjoying himself on the all-glass court from the second game as his left-handed wizardry entertained the packed crowd. He doubled his lead by winning the second game 11-8 then moved through the gears in the third game to give Lake no hope of getting back in the contest.

“After that long match yesterday I actually felt great,” said Ibrahim after his win.

“It was just that one lunge that I made, I’m really worried about it, and I was just trying to protect it as much as possible today, hoping that it will be better tomorrow.

“Other than that, the body is fine. Nathan is a great player, he is also technically very good, so he was going to make me move around the court today, so I had to be on my mettle. I’m happy to get the win in three.

“I was not 100% moving with my left leg and I was getting to the front corners a little later than I usually do. I mean every time he goes short, he cuts the ball really short so it stays up high on the front of the court. I was eventually moving better at the end, but you expect nothing less from Nathan.

“I don’t read left handers as well as I read right handers, because I train with right handers the whole time. Tactically it’s different to play, especially when playing on the backhand side. I’m happy to play against left handers and I hope to see more left handers on tour.”

Kennedy powers past Watanabe

[2] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 3-0 [5] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (38m)

In the final women’s match of the night Georgina Kennedy was facing Satomi Watanabe for the third time on the PSA World Tour. Kennedy held a 2-0 lead in the head-to-head and looked confident in the opening exchanges. The England No.1 was spurred on by the home crowd and drew on that support to push up the court and find openings in all areas of the court.

After winning the first two games both 11-8, Kennedy stormed through to a 8-4 lead in the fourth, looking certain to win in three games. Watanabe had other ideas and upped her game to win the next five points to earn a narrow lead at 9-8. The No.2 seed, Kennedy, regrouped and put together two strong rallies to earn a match ball, which she converted at the first time of asking.

“Obviously nerves come into it a lot. I mean she slots a lot of winners in matches, but I think I might get a few more tins from her on a big occasion, which makes sense, I do the same thing,” said Kennedy.

“Satomi is so deceptive, but where I’ve seen her play and seen her play so much, I kind of can read what she is doing as much as she is reading what I’m doing.

“It’s so hard playing Satomi because she is so unorthodox, but in a really disruptive way, so to get through in three against a dangerous opponent like that is a very god day.

“I’m new to playing here, but I love it, I love being in front of a home crowd. Having Ben [Ford] here is such an advantage. At Platinum events I have felt at a bit of a disadvantage because I’m like the only top ten player who doesn’t have someone in their corner like every single tournament. So when Ben can be here, I’m a whole new person. I’m so grateful.”

Hany ends Nghiem run

[4] Salma Hany (Egy) 3-1 [wc] Saran Nghiem (Eng) 11-1, 11-5, 12-10 (36m)

The run of wildcard Saran Nghiem came to an end as the evening session got underway at the Manchester Open. Nghiem fell to Egypt’s No.4 seed Salma Hany in straight games despite the backing of the home crowd. The World No.76 scored a big win over England No.2 Sarah-Jane Perry in the last 16 but looked slightly daunted as she entered the main glass court on quarter finals day. Hany capitalised on this to win 11-1, 11-5 in the opening two games to place one foot in the last four.

Nghiem was determined to give a better account of herself in the third game and that she did. She stepped up on the court and started to volley, taking time away from Hany. The Egyptian earned the first match ball of the tie at 10-9 but Nghiem managed to level at 10-10. Two smart rallies from Hany followed to seal the game 12-10 and earn her a spot in the last four.

“Well obviously she’s a great player and it was very hard from the first point, event he first two games. I think I came out with a solid game plan and I managed to stop her attacking. In the third I think she managed to push and put her foot on the gas a little bit.

“Obviously it was good to come through in three. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the match tomorrow.

“I’ve known Danny Massaro for many years now I feel we are improving a lot. He’s such a great addition to my team. We evaluated my performance yesterday, talked about the positives, and then how I could look to improve today.”

Makin Moves Into Last Four

[2] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-1 [6] Iker Pajares (Esp) 6-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (53m)

Wales’ Joel Makin, champion here in 2022, scored the sixth win of the day to take his place in a fourth semi-final at the Manchester Open. The World No.10 defeated Spain’s Iker Pajares in four games in front of the packed National Squash Centre crowd but didn’t have things all his own way.

Pajares came out the traps quickly in the opening game to surprise Makin, taking the ball constantly on the volley and taking the ball in short to test the movement of the Welshman. Pajares earned a 6-1 lead and held onto a lead throughout to win 11-6.

A change of tactic was needed for the Welshman in game two as he reverted back his default tactics of hitting his targets to the back corners and piling pressure onto Pajares. After a long second game went the way of the No.2 seed, the physical damage looked to be too much for the Spaniard, who won surrendered less than 10 points throughout the last three games to advance.

“He came out differently to what I expected,” said Makin.

“He got three court-nicks in the first few points and he caught me on my heels, so I had to adjust a little bit. That’s a tactic he used today, it’s not his natural game, but he stepped out of his comfort zone and took it to me.

“I would say it was one of those where he took it out of my hands. I was on the back foot and I wasn’t able impose what I was doing. I had to try get my lines past him and then I could work some balls from the middle, and that is what opened the court up and hurt him.

“I don’t know why but I always end up having my best run here. I enjoy it, it’s a good crowd, a nice court and a simple set-up. It’s great and I’m enjoying my squash.”

El Tayeb continues title defence

[1] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-1 [6] Sabrina Sobhy (Usa) ” 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (39m)

Egypt’s defending champion Nour El Tayeb booked her place in the semi-finals with a confident win over USA’s Sabrina Sobhy.

Sobhy was looking to continue her fine form from the World Championships last week and started in great style as she took the opening game 11-8. El Tayeb responded well by finding her length on both sides which set up attacking opportunities to pile the pressure onto Sobhy.

After turning the tide and establishing a 2-1 lead, the Egyptian showed no mercy as she found top form in the fourth game to win 11-3 and book her spot in a fourth semi-final at the Manchester Open and continue her title defence.

“Well as you know, Sabrina beat me last time and I’m a very big fan of her,” said El Tayeb after her win.

“At the end of the last match, me and Sabrina were joking and saying ‘when are we going to go on court’, so we just chilled and had some nice conversations. I warmed up a little bit at the beginning and then you try to stay alert in case the match is over. It’s tough, tough for all of us, but it’s what we have to do.”

“Because our warm-up was very long I think it took me a while to get into the match, whereas she went in firing. I think she got her tactics at the beginning spot on, but thankfully I had Rowan in my corner who told me a few things I should take care of and luckily they worked.

“Me and Rowan are very good friends. I told her before the match that you don’t have to watch if you don’t want to, but she said she would be here, which shows a lot about her and I’m very lucky to have her as a friend on tour.

Dessouky downs Soliman in fiesty affair

[5] Fares Dessouky (Egy) 3-1 [3] Youssef Soliman (Egy) 11-8, 3-11, 11-8, 13-11 (73m)

In the second all-Egyptian clash of the day Fares Dessouky took on No.3 seed Youssef Soliman with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs. The match was intense and feisty from the outset with both players determined to control the middle of the court and not give an inch to their opponent. This caused several discussions with the referee and engaged the onlooking crowd but the antics seemed to be favouring Dessouky.

Soliman score the second to equalise but Dessouky was managing his emotions well on the all-glass court and found ways to hurt Soliman in the front corners. After establishing a 2-1 lead, Dessouky earned a match ball at 10-9 but smart play by the higher seed forced a tiebreak. Many referee decisions followed and it was ultimately a positive video review that sealed the win for Dessouky, taking him to his first semi-final since February.

“Overall, it was very good squash today although a lot of stoppages and a lot of yelling today. Every player who plays me is going to talk about movements and these kind of things, but you know what, I’m trying to play my best squash and I’m getting there.

“I’m happy to be in the semi-finals, so lets think first about the semis, then we will see what will happen next.

“Greg Lobban played really well today, and even in the first round he played super well, so it’s going to be a tough one for sure. I think this is going to be the first time we have played on tour, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Elaraby wins all-Egyptian opener

[3] Rowan Elaraby (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Nour Aboulmakarim (Egy) 12-10, 12-10, 11-2 (37m)

Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby opened day three with a win as she ended the run of compatriot Nour Aboulmakarim in straight games. The younger of the two, Aboulmakarim, was featuring in her first World Tour quarter final after downing No.7 seed Farida Mohamed in the previous round . Aboulmakarim was determined to give a good account of herself in the match and did just that, she was matching Elaraby’s aggression and precision to find winners in all areas of the court.

After losing in a tiebreak in the opening game, Aboulmakarim trailed 10-5 in the second game but impressively fought back to 10-10. The higher ranked Egyptian steadied herself and secured the 2-0 lead before storming to victory in the third game 11-2.

“I watched Nour play yesterday against Farida and I was so impressed with how she fought and competed. I knew it would be difficult today and I’m just happy to be through.

“I wasn’t completely happy with my shots today and I felt her presence behind me all the time which was making me feel quite nervy. It’s just relief to be through at the minute.”

Lobban reaches first silver semi-final

[7] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-1 [9/16] Gregoire Marche (Fra) 11-4, 13-11, 14-16, 11-5 (87m)

Scotland’s Greg Lobban claimed a place in his first Silver event semi-final after defeating France’s Gregoire Marche in four games in the second match of the day. The Scottish No.1 claimed the opening game in comfortable fashion 11-4 as Marche looked to be feeling the effects of his second round efforts against Marwan Elshorbagy. Marche responded well in the second game and earned two game balls but back came Lobban to steal the game 13-11.

Marche wasn’t deterred by losing the second game and again started well in the third game. Lobban errors were breathing more life into a physically fading Marche who again moved to 10-8. After a nail-biting tiebreak, the Frenchman finally converted the game 16-14, after squandering six game balls. Marche struggled to recover in the fourth game which allowed the No.7 seed to move through the gears and earn a spot in the last four.

“The first two rounds, with Jonah Bryant and Greg, they are terrific squash players and it’s been nice to be playing with not an awful lot of decisions. I remember coming down to the British Open when I was very young, so to be on this stage is a bit surreal, to be honest. It’s just nice to be competing with the best guys in the world and it’s a real thrill.

“I want to be as close to 100% to be competing with these guys and when I have been 100% this year, I have been pretty close, so it’s nice to be in these positions.

“We play most of the year away from home and I’m very close to home at the moment. I’ve got a bit of a gang here of players I know in Scotland cheering me on in my corner this week. It’s nice to have these guys here and to be playing in front of such a big crowd. I feel really honoured to be playing here today, so thank you.”