Recently crowned British Open champion Ali Farag and World No.4 Joelle King will lead the draws as PSA World Tour action heads back to the North West of England for the Manchester Open between May 17-21 with two all-glass courts in use at the National Squash Centre.
Farag, the reigning World Champion, last week lifted a major title on British soil for the first time as he won the British Open after finishing as runner-up on the previous three occasions. The Egyptian was forced to miss a portion of the season due to injury, which resulted in a slip down the rankings, but the World No.4 is showing signs of returning to his best form to challenge at the top of the rankings once again.
Farag will open his Manchester Open campaign against either India’s Ramit Tandon or France’s Gregoire Marche in round two of the PSA World Tour Silver event and will receive a bye in round one.
Fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen is the second seed for the event and features in the Manchester Open for the first time since 2020. The World No.7 is one of the most consistent players on tour, only failing to reach the quarter-final stages once in his last 37 events. Momen will play the winner of Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas and Egypt’s Yahya Elnawasany in his opening match in round two.
France’s Victor Crouin and defending champion Joel Makin are the third and fourth seeds. Makin beat England No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy last year to secure his biggest title to date and his fine form has seen him break back into the world’s top 10.
Crouin recently held a 2-0 advantage over World No.1 Diego Elias in the British Open quarter-finals but failed to convert, losing 11-9 in the fifth game. The Frenchman will be looking to build on that performance as he takes on either Adrian Waller or Saurav Ghosal in his first match on day two of the event.
Women’s top seed King will be looking to secure a hat-trick of Manchester Open titles after her success both last year and in the inaugural event in 2019. The New Zealand No.1 defeated England’s Sarah-Jane Perry in last year’s final and will be looking to add to the two PSA titles that she has already secured this season. King will be up against either Fayrouz Aboelkheir or Jasmine Hutton in her opening match.
In-form American Amanda Sobhy is the second seed for this year’s event. Sobhy has reached the quarter-finals and the semi-finals of the Manchester Open in the past. The World No.5 picked up the Canadian Open title last month and recently defeated World No.3 Hania El Hammamy in the British Open quarter-finals. Sobhy will face the winner of the all-European battle between Emily Whitlock and Cindy Merlo in round two.
2020 champion Nour El Tayeb occupies the third seed position, and after picking up an injury at the Cleveland Classic in February will be determined to come back strongly to re-establish herself back inside the top five of the rankings.
Last year’s runner-up Sarah-Jane Perry is the fourth seed and will be hoping to receive a boost from the home crowd as she looks to reach her first final since the 2022 event. Perry will face tough opposition in her opening match and will go up against either Japan’s Satomi Watanabe or Egypt’s Hana Moataz for a place in the quarter-finals.
Manchester-born Finnlay Withington and Saran Nghiem are the wildcards for this year’s event.
Reigning European Junior champion Withington has been working his way up the PSA rankings and his attacking style of play might just worry his first round opponent Omar Mosaad. Withington scored two impressive wins at the World Championships Qualifying Event, beating two players ranked 20+ places higher, before losing out to Malaysia’s Ivan Yuen in the finals.
Nghiem is currently a student at Harvard University after receiving a squash scholarship. The 19-year-old will also be up against Egyptian opposition as she takes on Yathreb Adel for a spot in round two.
Both wildcards are well accustomed to the National Squash Centre venue, having both attended the Manchester Squash Academy for many years in their early development.
The action will be shown live on SQUASHTV with tickets for the event available here.