The Manchester Open quarter finals take place today at the National Squash Centre as the competition for the PSA World Tour Silver title hots up.
All of the top seeds prevailed in yesterday’s round two matches to set up what is sure to be a thrilling day of action.
The day’s play begins at 17:00 local time (GMT+1) when Egypt’s World No.7 Nouran Gohar takes on United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy for a place in the semi-finals.
They are followed on court by England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters against number two seed New Zealand’s Joelle King.
The evening session sees Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans go up against England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry, while the final match of the day sees a tasty battle between Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb and England’s former World No.1 Laura Massaro.
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Quarter Finals Schedule
Sobhy Downs Gohar in Three to Reach Semis
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy produced a dominant display to take out Egypt’s World No.7 Nouran Gohar in straight-games and book her place in the semi-finals of the inaugural Manchester Open.
The American had the head-to-head record strongly in her favour, with a 5-1 advantage over Gohar, and Sobhy ensured that record continued as she executed her game plan to perfection to reach her second successive semi-final, after a strong showing in El Gouna.
World No.8 Sobhy started strongly to take a tight first game before comfortably doubling her advantage in the second with Gohar looking as though she was struggling with her movement.
It looked as though Gohar was going to get a foothold back in the match when she took the lead in the third, but Sobhy soon chipped away at that lead and was able to take advantage of some errors from the racket of the Egyptian to close out an 11-9, 11-2, 11-8 winner in just 26 minutes.
“It hasn’t happened for a while,” said the 25-year-old from Boston.
“We haven’t played in a while and she just had a good result [in El Gouna]. I kind of knew what to expect from her, she is a relentless player, so you just kind of have to absorb it and chip at it.
“I grew up playing my brother, who smacks the ball a lot harder, so I’m kind of used to that. It’s been a long season and I just told myself to enjoy it and I’m just happy with how I played today.
“I love a good forehand boast and fortunately most of them went in. It was a good day, I had to catch her off guard a little bit, but she just keeps coming back and I just had to hang in there in that third game and capitalise on any mistakes. I’m really glad to be off in three.
“It’s nice not to play the top three, which I have done for most of the season. The level is so deep at the moment that anyone can beat anyone on any given day and fortunately I showed up today.”
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 11-8 (26m)
King Reaches Semis
New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King continued her strong run at the National Squash Centre in Manchester as she conquered England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters to reach the last four.
The Kiwi and Englishwoman had not played each other in two years and it was a closely contested first two games as Waters caused problems for King, but in the end it was the tall New Zealander who was able to close out on the tie-break in the first and edge ahead to take a crucial second game.
The third proved to be straight-forward for the No.2 seed as she shut out Waters to take a 12-10, 11-9, 11-6 victory.
She will now face United States' No.1 Amanda Sobhy for a place in the final.
“I was 2-0 up so I didn’t want to give Al a sniff or allow her back into the match,” said 30-year-old King following her impressive win.
“I’m happy to be off in three. She was down and out in the fifth yesterday and she managed to come back and win. She is so dangerous when she goes for it and on this court her kills are pretty dangerous. I just tried to go for it and weather the storm when I could. I’m really pleased to stay strong at the end of each game. It was really close and that can be the decider in the match, so I’m pleased to be off in three.
“It’s nice to see so many people out here supporting us. It’s nice to have the support for everyone and thank you to them for coming along.
“It’s been a while – the last time I was near in the final was in Hong Kong when I went onto win it. It’s nice to be in contention for the final, but I’ve got a tough opponent in front of me in Amanda. She has just come back really strong after an Achilles injury. She’s young and hungry and I’ve got to try and weather the storm, so we will see tomorrow.”
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 11-6 (31m)
Evans Topples Perry in Thriller
Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans booked her place in the semi-finals after an epic five-game battle with English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry.
The last few times the two players have met on the PSA World Tour it has been a firey affair, with Evans taking the last victory at the PSA World Championships in Chicago.
However, a strong start from Perry saw her take the first game before Evans built up a healthy lead in the second to equalise. The Welshwoman then continued her charge in the third to take the lead as the duo treated the packed out crowd in the National Squash Centre to some high-quality squash.
Incredbile hands from— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) May 11, 2019
tesnievans</a> and check out that roar! <br><br>Evans and <a href="https://twitter.com/SJPerry15?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">SJPerry15 are throwing everything at each other in Manchester #MCROpen #SquashTheGap pic.twitter.com/UlE7g7FvDE
The momentum did not stay with Evans, however, as Perry took back control of the encounter to draw level in the fourth for the loss of just one point.
The fifth then saw the lead constantly exchange hands with both players showcasing some of their best squash, before Evans took the match on the tightest of margins to sneak a 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 1-11, 13-11 victory in a mammoth 68 minutes.
“We have played a few times,” said 26-year-old Evans.
“We played at European Teams last week and we played in Chicago, but both times SJ wasn’t at her best, so it was good for me to get those wins but to me it doesn’t matter until someone is back at their best. You can see SJ is back now and playing at her best and I’m just really happy that I got over the line. I was struggling at the end of the fourth and mentally just down, but I wasn’t going down without a fight, the problem is she doesn’t do that either, so it was just a battle to the end. You win some and you lose some, but I was just happy to get the win today.
“I love it here, I think I might try and take this court back to Wales! I don’t know what it is, I get to have all of my family here today, which is amazing. When you have had some good memories in the past, you want to keep those memories going.
“I’ll just prepare as best as I can tomorrow, it will be a tough match whoever I play.”
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 1-11, 13-11 (68m)
El Tayeb Takes Out Retiring Massaro
Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb overcame England’s former World No.1 Laura Massaro to advance to the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Silver tournament.
Massaro announced earlier this week that she would be retiring from the sport at the end of the season and she made sure she went out with a strong performance in Manchester as she battled hard against El Tayeb.
The Egyptian took the first game before Massaro drew level in an epic second game, which lasted 18 minutes and saw the pair constantly exchange leads before the resilient Englishwoman was able to close out 17-15 on the tie-break.
However, World No.3 El Tayeb came back strongly in the third and put in a business-like performance to ensure she didn’t give anything away to Massaro, eventually claiming an 11-7, 15-17, 11-4, 11-6 win in 52 minutes.
She will now face Wales’ Tesni Evans for a place in the final tomorrow.
“I was happy to play Laura,” said 26-year-old El Tayeb.
“I wanted to give her something to remember me by. It’s the last two tournaments for her and I have always looked up to her. I’d love to work with her one day, she is the most professional on tour, I wish I could have half of her career.
“I am very happy with my performance, Laura is retiring but you can see that she is still fighting. I’m very happy with my performance today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
“I wanted to step it up the third. I was hoping that Laura would be a bit tired from the second game, like I was. Luckily I started well and that gave me a lot of confidence going into the business end of the third and fourth game.
“I’m very lucky to have played with Laura here and hopefully she can do well at the British Open, because we’re not playing each other!”
Massaro added in her interview on court about her special Manchester memories:
“It’s probably the National Championships, it’s been the home of it for so many years and I grew up watching that event.
“It means so much to win a National title, with so much history and probably my proudest Manchester moments for me are winning my four National titles here.
“I played well in PSL on Tuesday. Yesterday and today being able to fight back against the World No.3 was my only goal really. When I announced my retirement, I didn’t want to have an events procession, I wanted to fight hard, play well and put a few blows into the top five girls in the world and I’ll be looking to do the same thing at the British Open.”
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 15-17, 11-4, 11-6 (52m)