The semi-finals of the Manchester Open take place today, with action beginning at 16:00 (GMT+1) at the National Squash Centre as the last four in both draws do battle to reach the finals of the Silver level competition.
After some surprise results throughout the week, only one of the women’s top four seeds will feature today. Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb will take on England’s Gina Kennedy, before Belgian No.1 Nele Gilis does battle with Japanese No.1 Satomi Watanabe.
Defending champion Joel Makin will be the only non-Egyptian in the men’s semis. He will take on four-time World Champion Ali Farag, while Karim Abdel Gawad and Tarek Momen will face off in the other match in the men’s last four.
Manchester Open Semi-Finals: Order of Play
(All times are local – GMT+1)
Nour El Tayeb v Georgina Kennedy
The opening match of the day’s play will see Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb take on England’s Georgina Kennedy for a place in the final.
The pair have only met twice on the PSA Tour previously, with both of those coming in 2022. El Tayeb won both of those, with wins coming at the El Gouna International and the South Western Women’s Open. This will be the first time the two face off in a semi-final, though.
Kennedy has been in great form so far this week, yet to drop a game across her two matches. She has gotten the better of Nadine Shahin and Emily Whitlock, both in straight games.
Meanwhile, after overcoming compatriot Farida Mohamed in straight games in the second round, El Tayeb and to fight from behind to get the better of Malaysian Sivasangari Subramaniam, eventually winning in four games after almost an hour on court.
Will El Tayeb continue her 100% record over Kennedy? Or can the Englishwoman delight the home crowd to reach the final?
Karim Abdel Gawad v Tarek Momen
The second match of today’s play is an all-Egyptian encounter, as World Championship runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad takes on former World No.3 Tarek Momen.
There have been 12 meetings between the pair on the PSA Tour before, but this will be the first battle between the two since December 2018. Gawad holds a 9-3 record, but both men have changed a lot since their most recent contest.
The ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ has continued his good form this week, and is yet to drop a game. He defeated American Todd Harrity in the second round, before then downing World No.8 Victor Crouin in straight games in the quarter finals of the competition.
Momen also started his week with a straight games win, beating Mexican No.1 Leonel Cardenas on Thursday. He had to go the distance yesterday in his last eight match with Nicolas Mueller, though, fighting back from 2-1 down to win in five.
Can Gawad reach a second final in a many weeks? Or can Momen take his first win over his fellow Egyptians in three attempts?
Nele Gilis v Satomi Watanabe
Belgium’s Nele Gilis and Japan’s Satomi Watanabe have set up a surprise semi-final clash, and they will face off to reach the final of the Manchester Open.
This will be the third meeting between them on the PSA Tour, with Gilis having won the previous two. They have both come within the last seven months, including in the semi-final of the Challenger 30 level City Tattersalls Club Australian Open. The Belgian No.1 was also victorious when the two played at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York City earlier this year.
Watanabe is the only unseeded player in the semis, having played three matches this week. She started with a victory over Hana Moataz, before knocking out England’s Sarah-Jane Perry in the second round. Her knockout run continued, as she downed Welsh No.1, and No.8 seed, Tesni Evans, in the last eight on Friday.
Gilis started her week by losing the opening game of her first match. However, she fought back strongly to down Egypt’s Yathreb Adel in four games. She then took on top seed and defending champion Joelle King in the quarter finals, beating the Kiwi for the first time in her career, and she did so in straight games.
Can Watanabe continue her incredible run and knock out another seed in Manchester? Or will Gilis back up her big win over the top seed to reach the final?
Ali Farag v Joel Makin
The last match of tonight’s play will see defending Manchester Open champion Joel Makin take on four-time World Champion Ali Farag at the National Squash Centre.
This will be the sixth meeting between Farag and Makin on the Tour. Farag has won four of the previous five, with the Welshman’s only win coming at the 2021 U.S. Open. Farag won their last meeting, which came at last year’s Optasia Championships.
The World No.4 has lost the opening game of both his matches this week. He had to come form behind to down Spanish No.1 Iker Pajares Bernabeu in the second round, before doing the same against Englishman Patrick Rooney on Friday night.
Meanwhile, defending champion Makin got the better of Egypt’s Aly Abou Eleinen in straight games on Thursday, bu then had to go the distance yesterday. He went to five against Egypt’s Fares Dessouky, eventually winning 3-2 after 81 minutes.
Can Makin continued his unbeaten run in Manchester? Or will Farag prove too much for the Welshman?