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Nour El Tayeb in action against Amanda Sobhy

Manchester Open: The Main Contenders

The inaugural Manchester Open takes place next week when a world-class draw, featuring seven of the world’s top 10 female players will line up to battle it out for the PSA World Tour Silver title.

The Manchester Open – a women’s only tournament – will see players compete for the inaugural trophy and a $76,000 prize fund at Manchester’s National Squash Centre this month.

Egypt’s World No.3 and this season’s PSA World Championship runner-up Nour El Tayeb headlines the draw and we take a look at some of the main contenders for the title…

Nour El Tayeb

Egypt’s World No.3 El Tayeb headlines the draw and will be looking to add a third title to her tally this season after claiming both the Carol Weymuller Open and Cleveland Classic titles earlier in the year.

El Tayeb possesses a natural shot-making flair and confidence that can produce spell-binding results which makes her a crowd favourite to watch in action.

El Tayeb has enjoyed a strong second-half to the season, which saw her reach the final of the prestigious PSA World Championships for the first time in her career, where she lost out to compatriot and World No.2 Nour El Sherbini.

Since Chicago, she has reached the semi-final of the DPD Open Squash and the quarter-finals of the El Gouna International, losing out to World No.1 Raneem El Welily and USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy, respectively.

The Egyptian will face either France’s Coline Aumard or compatriot Mayar Hany for a place in the second round.

Joelle King

New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King is the number two seed at the tournament and will be looking to add to her title haul this season, which saw her pick up her first PSA World Tour Platinum title.

King stormed to victory at November’s Hong Kong Open, defeating the newly crowned World No.1 El Welily in straight-games to win her maiden Platinum title. The Kiwi has also reached the semi-finals of both the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and Black Ball Squash Open in 2019.

This season the 30-year-old rose to a career-high of World No.3 in February and has regularly reached the latter stages of the big tournaments to cause a threat to the top Egyptian women.

World No.5 King will be hoping to continue that form when she heads to Manchester and is due to meet El Tayeb in the final.

King will face either Belgium’s Nele Gilis or Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in round two.

Sarah-Jane Perry

England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry will be hoping to produce a strong showing on home turf when she leads the English charge at the Manchester tournament.

Perry started the 2018/19 season strongly, retaining her title at the Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco, before going on to reach the final of the Carol Weymuller Open.

2019 has produced a mix bag of form for the Englishwoman while she recovers from surgery on her elbow. However, Perry looked to be back to her best at the recent El Gouna International where she reached the quarter-finals, losing out narrowly to France’s World No.4 Camille Serme in a high-quality match.

She will face either eight-time World Champion Nicol David or Canada’s Samantha Cornett in round two.

Nouran Gohar

At just 21-years-old Nouran Gohar already has a list of impressive achievements to her name including winning her first PSA Platinum title at the age of 18 in 2016, when she claimed the Hong Kong Open title.

The young Egyptian has enjoyed a resurgence of form this season, after a couple of lacklustre years by her high standards following that Hong Kong Open win.

This season Gohar has pushed on and has become one of the main contenders on the women's tour. The Egyptian recently reached the final of the El Gouna International – her first final appearance at a Platinum tournament since the 2016 Hong Kong Open.

She also reached the semi-finals of both the Black Ball Squash Open and 2018 Hong Kong Open, losing out to World No.1 Raneem El Welily in both.

Gohar will face either New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy or England’s Emily Whitlock in the last 16.

Laura Massaro

Former World No.1 and 2013 World Champion Laura Massaro will be hoping that home advantage can be on her side in Manchester as she eyes her second title of the season.

Preston-based Massaro has won nearly all the sport has to offer and is one of the greatest female players from England to play the sport.

She will be looking to add the inaugural Manchester Open to her cabinet when the PSA Silver tournament gets under way next week.

The two-time British Open winner will be aiming to cause an upset in Manchester as she looks to finish the season on a high note following a disappointing season by her high standards. The Englishman has just one title to her name this season following her victory over Welshwoman Tesni Evans at the Monte Carlo Classic.

She will face either fellow Englishwoman Millie Tomlinson or Canada’s Danielle Letourneau in round two.

Tesni Evans

British Nationals champion Tesni Evans will be one of the big names to watch when the Manchester Open gets under way.

The Welshwoman has become one of the main contenders on the women's tour for the big tournaments after a string of impressive performances.

The 26-year-old is currently at her highest World Ranking to date and has acquired runner-up finishes at both the Cleveland Classic and Monte Carlo Classic.

One of her best performances of the season came at the 2018 U.S. Open when she reached the semi-finals for the first time at a PSA Platinum event. She also made history as the first Welsh player to reach the last four stage of that tournament.

The Welshwoman is sure to be one to watch for the title in Manchester and will be aiming to break through the field to claim her first PSA title of the season.

Evans will take on either wildcard Rachael Chadwick or Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden in the last 16.

Amanda Sobhy

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy has recaptured the form that saw her reach her highest World Ranking of No.6 before she ruptured her achilles at the 2017 Ciudad de Floridablanca.

Sobhy has made huge strides on the PSA World Tour since her injury and in 2019 won her biggest PSA title to date at the Texas Open and reached the semi-finals of the El Gouna International last week.

The American is one of the most charismatic players on the women's tour and is a big threat to the top seeds at the tournament, having already recorded wins over No.1 seed El Tayeb this season – including most recently at the El Gouna International last week, where she came from 2-0 down to reach the semi-finals of the Platinum tournament.

Sobhy will face either compatriot Olivia Blatchford Clyne or England’s Julianne Courtice in the second round.

Alison Waters

England's former World No.3 Alison Waters will be another Englishwoman who will be targeting glory on home soil.

The 35-year-old has been a consistent feature in the top ten for the past few years and her experience often causes problems to the top players on the women's tour.

Her best finishes this season have come at the Carol Weymuller Open and Cleveland Classic when she reached the semi-finals after losing out to Egypt's El Tayeb both times.

Waters will face either Canada’s Hollie Naughton or Egypt’s Salma Hany in the second round.

Live coverage of the entire tournament will be shown on SQUASHTV (rest of world), the PSA World Tour Facebook page (excluding Europe & Japan) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and final will also be shown live on mainstream broadcasters around the world such as BT Sport, Fox Sports Australia, Astro and more.

Tickets for the tournament are available to purchase via Ticketmaster or via the event website: www.manchesteropensquash.com