It’s finals day of the Manchester Open as the last two standing in the women’s and men’s draws battle it out at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
Joelle King v Sarah-Jane Perry
In the women’s final, two familiar foes clash. New Zealand’s World No.5 King and England’s World No.6 Perry have met 12 times on the tour, with the Kiwi enjoying a 9-3 head-to-head record, with their last meeting a 3-0 King win in quarter-finals of the Allam British Open just over two weeks ago.
The 33-year-old has pedigree in this tournament after winning the 2019 edition. Perry, meanwhile, is targeting a first Manchester Open win, having lost out to Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy in last year’s final.
While the amount of time both players have spent on court is similar, with King having played a total of 154 minutes to Perry’s 143, the Englishwoman may come into today’s final the fresher of the pair following King’s epic semi-final encounter yesterday.
The Kiwi required 86 minutes to beat Belgium’s Nele Gilis 3-2 in an epic battle, following earlier victories over Sana Ibrahim and Aifa Azman.
Though Perry’s final against Wales’ Tesni Evans was 30 minutes shorter, it was no less spectacular, with the top seed launching a great escape as she came from two games down to win 3-2, having earlier beaten Yathreb Adel and Jasmine Hutton.
SquashLevels predict another challenging encounter for King, but one that the World No.5 is expected to overcome to win her second Manchester Open title.
The No.2 seed is given a 79 percent chance of success against Perry, with 3-1 the predicted outcome.
Will King reclaim her crown?
Mohamed ElShorbagy v Joel Makin
The men’s final is a fascinating battle between resurgent former World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and rapidly improving Joel Makin.
When the pair last met, in the final of the Squash On Fire Open in Washington D.C., the Egyptian put in a statement performance to beat Makin 3-0.
With ElShorbagy enjoying a four-match winning streak and an overall 7-2 record against Makin, the Welshman will need to be in top form to down the top seed.
Makin goes into today’s final as the only player left with a perfect record. The Welshman beat George Parker, Youssef Soliman and Patrick Rooney without dropping a game to reach today’s final, and has so far spent a total of 147 minutes on court.
ElShorbagy, meanwhile, has had a less comfortable route through. The Egyptian has had to come from behind in all of his matches so far in Manchester, having recovered from slow starts to beat Victor Crouin, Eain Yow Ng and Karim Abdel Gawad in a total of 166 minutes.
In an eyebrow-raising prediction from SquashLevels, No.3 seed Makin is made the favourite today.
Despite their recent head-to-dead record, the 27-year-old is given a 60 percent chance of winning, with a tight 3-2 the anticipated result.
Will Makin justify this confidence?