Elias Ousts Top Seed ElShorbagy as Finalists are Decided
Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias has ended an 18-month wait for a PSA final after he overcame top seed Marwan ElShorbagy to reach the title decider of the 2021 Manchester Open held at the National Squash Centre.
Lima-based Elias, 24, had won seven of his previous eight matches against ElShorbagy and extended his winning run over the World No.5 to six successive matches following an 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 victory in 46 minutes. Elias will now compete in his first PSA final since the Motor City Open in February, 2020.
“I felt pretty good today, I had a good game plan and the court was bouncy, so I didn’t want to make any errors,” said Elias.
“It feels good to have a big win after so long. I came back from the World Championships, I played okay, but I feel like my game is coming back now.
“I had a really good length today. The balls were really tight to the wall, I was moving well and I haven’t felt this good in a while. I’m happy it was 3-0.”
Elias will take on Welsh No.4 seed Joel Makin in the title decider after he dug deep to end the giant-killing run of Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim with an 11-6, 7-11, 3-11, 11-4, 12-10 victory.
World No.18 Ibrahim had been in red-hot form this week after beating both No.2 seed Karim Abdel Gawad and No.6 seed Mohamed Abouelghar. Makin – who won the British Nationals on this very court a week ago tomorrow – found himself 2-1 down as 344 minutes of on-court action over the past two weeks looked to be taking its toll.
But he tapped into his energy reserves and stayed mentally resilient to draw level, before grinding out a victory in the fifth game to reach his first PSA final since the Open de France in September, 2019.
“That was tough, he was hitting stuff from everywhere,” said Makin.
“There was a patch in the fifth where there was not much I could do, he was diving across and hitting backhand crosscourt nicks, backhand drops, they were all going in and then four went down in a row at the end.
“You keep trying to force him behind you and make some errors.”
England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry and top seed Hania El Hammamy will go head-to-head in the women’s final after they both beat Welsh opposition in Tesni Evans and Emily Whitlock.
It will be a repeat of December’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open – where Perry came back from two games down to win her biggest title to date – and World No.6 Perry secured her place in the title decider here in Manchester after beating 2019 runner-up Evans 8-11, 11-5, 14-12, 11-9.
“Kudos to Tesni there, she just doesn’t go away, she’s an absolute fighter and probably the gutsiest competitor out there,” Perry said.
“I thought I’d just found my rhythm in the fourth game and – boom – it was 9-9. I had to play two really good shots there to close that out, and I’m feeling quite relieved right now.”
“I’m definitely looking for revenge after being 2-0 up in the Black Ball Open and then losing in five,” El Hammamy admitted.
“She beat me in my home crowd, so hopefully I can beat her in hers. Hopefully it’s going to be a good one against SJ.”