SEMI-FINALS : Tayeb, Lobban, Kennedy and Makin reach the finals

The sixth edition of the Manchester Open continued today at the National Squash Centre with four quarter-final matches on the main Glass Court, with three British hopefuls joining five Egyptian stars.

Defending women’s champion Nour El Tayeb got the better of the opening all-Egyptian match, but then Scotland’s Greg Lobban, England’s Gina Kennedy and Wales’ Joel Makin all overcame Egyptian opponents to reach the finals.

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 FOUR, SEMI-FINALS

Women’s Semis :
[1] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-0 [3] Rowan Elaraby (Egy)   11-7, 11-1, 11-1 (26m)
[2] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 3-1 [4] Salma Hany (Egy  ) 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7 (68m)

Men’s Semis : 
[7] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-2 [5] Fares Dessouky (Egy)   11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8 (87m)
[2] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-0 [4] Youssef Ibrahim (Egy)   11-6, 12-10, 12-10 (59m)


Makin reaches repeat final

[2] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-0 [4] Youssef Ibrahim (Egy) 11-6, 12-10, 12-10 (59m)

Men’s second seed Joel Makin put in a faultless performance to negate the attacking threats of Youssef Ibrahim and advance to the final of the Manchester Open.

World No.10 Makin hit his marks right from the offset, pushing Ibrahim – who came into the match with an injury concern – deep into the back corners with some exquisite lines and lengths. The Welshman’s shot selection was on point as he took the 12-minute opening game 11-6.

The second game saw Ibrahim fire a number of winners back at his opponent, taking the middle of the court away with some aggressive volleying on the ’T’. However, at 4-4, three straight errors from the Egyptian gifted Makin a substantial lead, and despite fighting back to force a tie-break, fell two-games behind.

The hit-and-miss nature of Ibrahim’ game was evident early in the third, with the ‘Gunslinger’ having hit 16 errors to Makin’s two. However, once again, Ibrahim found his range with a string of devastating winners from 7-3 down to force a second consecutive tie-break.

From there though, Makin played some superbly controlling squash, pushing Ibrahim to all four corners and timing a duo of attacks to take the tie-break 12-10 and walk off court after just under an hour of action.

 “I don’t know what has changed. I have been struggling for a long time and I arrived here and I was playing George Parker in the first-round, and I had actually lost to him last week.

“I came this week and my body was feeling really good, so I’m really grateful, and I hope it stays this way now.

“I clipped a couple [of errors], but my margin was low and I was still trying to be aggressive with my squash. That’s the brand I want to try and play – a couple of quick winners and then try to be really hard to break down.”

Gina becomes first English women’s finalist

[2] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 3-1 [4] Salma Hany (Egy)   11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7 (68m)

Home favourite and second seed Georgina Kennedy advanced to the Manchester Open final after seeing off the threat of dangerous Egyptian Salma Hany in four tight games.

World No.7 Kennedy, who lost the pairs last meeting at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, delivered a relentless performance to seal victory in 68 minutes and book a date with Nour El Tayeb in the final.

The England No.1’s tactics were evident from the offset, with Kennedy keeping the ball off Hany’s backhand side whenever possible, moving into a one-game lead after 13 minutes.

Hany enjoyed more success in the second game, taking a more aggressive ’T’ position and forcing Kennedy to hit her attacks from deep in the court, levelling by an 11-9 scoreline. However, Kennedy regathered herself to take a tight tie-break in the third, before moving into a crucial lead in the fourth.

From 6-4 up in the fourth, Kennedy never let Hany draw parity, moving through to her third final of the 2023/24 PSA World Tour season.

“Salma never gives you anything easy and I think sometimes when you can get deep into a match, there are some players who are vulnerable to giving you some cheap, easy points, which help you get over the line, but there’s nothing like that with Salma.

“Even if it’s like when I was 10-7 up on that third, she pulled it back to the tie break and it was just so critical that I won that game and kept the momentum. So I’m really really happy to have come through that match.

“It’s really difficult to stay calm and I don’t know how I look on there but I actually felt pretty relaxed today. Sometimes when I’m playing you can see in my face that I’m visibly stressed, but today I just felt pretty relaxed.

“If I go toe-to-toe with Salma on the skills stuff, she’s always going to pick me off, so I just really tried to get the ball away from her, running away from her all the time and the use that quick counter-drop when I could. I had that belief that I could take it today. So, I’m just happy that it came off.”

Lobban downs Dessouky in five

[7] Greg Lobban (Sco) 3-2 [5] Fares Dessouky (Egy)   11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8 (87m)

World No.20 Greg Lobban advanced to his first-ever PSA Silver final after holding off a determined comeback from Fares Dessouky in a feisty encounter that included over 50 refereeing decisions at the Manchester Open.

Lobban, who was being cheered on by a strong Scottish contingent who had made the journey south of the border, started the match strongly, maintaining a cool head despite a number of interference issues in the middle of the court.

Meanwhile, his opponent, World No.18 Dessouky, grew in frustration as the first game progressed, engaging in numerous animated conversations with the referee, and Lobban subsequently moving a game up by an 11-6 scoreline.

Dessouky grew more and more frustrated in a second game that Lobban took 11-9, receiving a conduct warning from the referee, but bounced back in the third with a string of scintillating winners. At 7-7 in the third, Dessouky was just points away from defeat, but he showed great character to win four consecutive points and take the match to a fourth game.

The stop-start nature of the match only continued in the fourth, as both players were awarded strokes and no lets by the referee. As was the case in the previous game though, it was Dessouky, who produced the goods in the pressure moments, forcing a deciding game after Lobban wasn’t given a let after going to the Video Referee.

A conduct stroke was awarded to Dessouky early in the fifth as the pressure continued to mount, with the pair moving to the latter stages of the encounter within a point of each other. However, it was Lobban who found a great length to move 10-8 up, before being awarded a stroke to seal his spot in the final at the first time of asking.

“I can’t imagine the people at home stayed tuned into that one because it was less about the squash and more about the physicality out there. It’s a real shame when it gets like that. When it gets like that it’s not nice for anyone to watch, it’s certainly not nice to play, but the crowd seemed to be getting into it – maybe not for the right reasons – but I won the last point, and that’s what matters.

“I had to stay really physically and emotionally disciplined today. I was on the verge sometimes, but managed to just close it out.

“I think that is the main thing that has got me through this week is my emotional awareness. I think even in my first-round against Jonah Bryant, I had been watching him and I know he will be beating me very soon, and I just was hoping it wouldn’t be that one. Emotionally that was tough, but that is what has got me through the last few rounds on the biggest of stages.”

Defending Champ Tayeb powers past Elaraby

[1] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-0 [3] Rowan Elaraby (Egy)    11-7, 11-1, 11-1 (26m)

Two-time champion Nour El Tayeb defeated third seed and close friend Rowan Elaraby in straight games to progress to the Manchester Open final.

Top seed Tayeb, who won the 2020 and 2023 editions of the event, was in exquisite form throughout the encounter, using her variety and hold to great effect at the PSA World Tour Silver event.

Tayeb was fast out of the blocks, taking a 6-3 lead, and never let Elaraby back into the match, forcing Elaraby deep into the corners and putting away any loose cross court shots with distain.

After an even first game went Tayeb’s way, errors began to flow from the racket of Elaraby, with her opponent cruising into a 6-1 lead and subsequently doubling her lead in the match.

From there, the World No.6 moved from strength to strength, displaying her wide variety of attacking weapons, in particular some eye-catching cross-court nicks, and efficiently closing out the victory after just 26 minutes of action.

“I wasn’t expecting that. You know when I was planning for the match, and how to play, every point I was thinking, ‘is it going to change, is something going to happen’.

“As I told you yesterday, we are very close friends, so sometimes I knew what she was thinking. As you can see from the head-to-head, it is very close between us, because I don’t like her style of play, but luckily today everything went according to plan.

“I actually looked at her [between games] to try and see what she was thinking. It’s not everyday you play a friend, and we’ve only been very close friends over the last couple of years, and we haven’t really played since then.

“But I think it kept my head in the squash more – usually my head wanders, but because I was so focussed with me and her, I stayed focussed which was good.”