The semi-finals of the Manchester Open take place today, with action beginning at 17:30 (GMT+1) at the National Squash Centre as the final eight players left in the tournament go head-to-head for places in the final.
There is Welsh interest in three of the four matches this evening, starting with women’s No.1 Tesni Evans, who faces English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry. The other women’s match features Emily Whitlock, who will take on the tournament’s top seed, Hania El Hammamy, for a place in the final.
The male Welsh No.1, Joel Makin, will take on surprise package Youssef Ibrahim in the semi-finals, with the other men’s match-up tonight seeing top seed Marwan ElShorbagy take on Peru’s Diego Elias.
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Here’s the Order of Play
(All times are local – GMT+1)
The first match of the evening’s action sees Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans take on English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry for a spot in tomorrow’s final.
The pair have previously met 12 times on the PSA World Tour, with the Englishwoman having claimed victory in nine of those. They have faced off in Manchester in each of the last two years, with both players having taken one win from those contests.
Perry has come through her two matches to get to this stage with ease, spending less than an hour on court in Manchester so far. After receiving a bye through to round two, she defeated compatriot Jasmine Hutton in straight games, before achieving the same score-line against Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam.
Meanwhile, Evans has spent half an hour longer on court, thanks to a 53 minute battle with Belgian No.1 Nele Gilis in the quarter-finals. She won that match 3-1, after coming through against Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in straight games in her first match of the tournament.
Perry currently sits at #6 on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, while Evans is down at #12. According to the SquashLevels algorithms, the Englishwoman has an 81% likelihood of taking the win.
Will Perry move to double digit wins over her good friend and edge closer to a win on home soil? Or can Evans cause a surprise, and make a second Manchester Open final?
The first men’s semi-final sees top seed Marwan ElShorbagy take on the ‘Peruvian Puma’, Diego Elias, with both men aiming to reach the final on Friday evening.
There have been eight previous meetings between the two, and perhaps surprisingly, ElShorbagy has only claimed victory in one of those, with that win back in the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open. Elias has won their last five meetings, including in two semi-finals.
It is the ‘Puma’ who has spent less time on court, dropping just a single game. That came in his second round match-up against Patrick Rooney, where he lost the first, before coming back to win 3-1. He then defeated Omar Mosaad in straight games in the quarter-finals.
ElShorbagy has spent exactly 100 minutes on court across his two matches. Firstly, after receiving a bye through to the second round, he overcame George Parker in a hotly-contested contest. He then had to fight from two games down to defeat Qatari No.1 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi 3-2.
‘The Jackal’ has slipped down to the #7 spot on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, with Elias up in the #4 position. According to their algorithms, it is the Peruvian who just edges the win percentage, with a 55% chance of taking victory.
Can Elias continue his fine record over the Egyptian? Or will the top seed break that hoodoo to reach the final in Manchester?
The second women’s semi-final sees top seed, and World No.7, Hania El Hammamy, take on the unseeded Emily Whitlock.
The pair have only met once previously on Tour, but that clash came just three months ago at the El Gouna International Squash Open in May, where the young Egyptian won in straight games.
El Hammamy has been on fire so far in the tournament, spending just 53 minutes on court across her two matches, and coming this far without dropping a game. She defeated Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold in the second round, before getting the better of Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in the last eight.
Whitlock started her campaign on Monday in the first round, where she defeated Swiss No.1 Cindy Merlo. She then caused an upset by winning 3-1 against No.8 seed Nadine Shahin, before overcoming Frenchwoman Coline Aumard in the quarter-finals to book her place in the last four.
Due to the imperious form that El Hammamy is currently in, the SquashLevels algorithms give their #3 player a 91% win likelihood.
Will the top seed continue that form and make it into another final on the PSA World Tour? Or could Whitlock cause the biggest shock of the tournament so far to make the final?
The last contest of the evening will see British No.1 Joel Makin take on Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim, the unseeded left-hander.
The pair have only met once before, and like the two before them, that also came at this year’s El Gouna International Squash Open. The duo faced off in the third round of the Platinum level event, with the Welshman winning 3-0.
After receiving a bye through to the last 16 at the National Squash Centre, Makin then faced Adrian Waller in a repeat of the British Nationals final on Friday. He defeated the Englishman 3-1, before then having to fight from behind in an 82-minute battle against Egypt’s Mazen Hesham, eventually winning 3-2.
Despite having played a game more, Ibrahim has actually spent ten minutes less on court, coming through against three compatriots. He started his week with a victory over Mohamed ElSherbini, before then downing No.2 seed and former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad. A 3-0 win over No.6 seed Mohamed Abouelghar saw Ibrahim through to the semis without dropping a game so far.
Makin currently occupies the #9 spot, while Ibrahim sits in the #15 spot in the SquashLevels Power Ratings. A 67% win likelihood is in the Welshman’s favour according to their algorithms.
Can Makin secure a move into a second final in two weeks after his victory at the British Nationals last Friday? Or will Ibrahim take out a third seed in three days to make a first final on SquashTV?