With the return of squash coming at the Manchester Open on Wednesday, September 16, we are taking a look back at the inaugural Manchester Open, which took place in May 2019.
The event was a PSA Silver event for women only, and was the lone female-only event that was entirely on SquashTV throughout the 2018-2019 PSA World Tour campaign.
This year’s event will feature both men’s and women’s draws, with 64 of the world’s best players looking to take home silverware from the opening salvo of the new season. The points earned from the event will be the first points awarded on the PSA World Tour in the season-long race to reach the World Tour Finals next summer.
Here are the biggest points from last year’ Manchester Open, which culminated in New Zealand’s Joelle King taking the glory on the final day.
Hany and Tomlinson Need Five Games To Win Opening Matches
There were some interesting clashes in the first round at the National Squash Centre in Manchester. Two of them went all the way to five games, with the higher-ranked players eventually winning out.
Egypt’s World No.14 Salma Hany had to overcome a strong challenge from Canadian World No.30 Hollie Naughton. The Egyptian took the victory in the final game to secure a second round berth after 48 minutes.
World No.22 Millie Tomlinson survived a scare from another Canadian, in Danielle Letourneau. The Englishwoman held a comfortable two game lead, but the World No.38 fought back to send the match into a decider. Tomlinson, though, was able to regroup, and take the win in front of her home crowd.
Elsewhere in the first round, there were wins for former World No.1 Nicol David, the British pair of Julianne Courtice and Emily Whitlock, and the European trio of Coline Aumard, Milou van der Heijden and Nele Gilis.
English Trio Advance To The Quarter-Finals
Alison Waters, Sarah-Jane Perry and Laura Massaro all made sure of their passage through to the quarter-finals in Manchester, meaning there would be three Englishwomen in the last eight on home soil.
Waters took on Salma Hany, who had already come through a five-game clash the day before, and this match would also go the distance. The former World No.3 led by two games, only for the Egyptian to fight her way back into the match. Waters was able to hold on for the win, though, booking her place in the quarter-finals.
World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry was the next Englishwoman through to the last eight in Manchester, after she got the better of eight-time World Champion Nicol David. The Malaysian threatened a comeback after winning the third game, but Perry sealed the deal in four.
Laura Massaro met fellow countrywoman Millie Tomlinson in the final match of the second round. The former World Champion and World No.1 cruised to a victory in straight games, needing just 38 minutes to secure her passage into the quarters.
Nouran Gohar, Joelle King, Amanda Sobhy, Tesni Evans and Nour El Tayeb were the other five women to win their second round matches and make it through to the last eight.
Sobhy and Evans Cause Shocks In Last Eight
No.8 seed Amanda Sobhy and No.6 seed Tesni Evans both defeated higher-ranked players in the quarter-finals, shocking the favourited to reach the last four at the National Squash Centre.
The American overcame the tournament’s No.4 seed, and now-World No.1, Nouran Gohar in the last eight. The way she did it was the shocking part about it, though, as Sobhy needed just 26 minutes to win in a comfortable three games.
It was no so easy for World No.9 Evans, with the Welshwoman coming up against Sarah-Jane Perry in the quarters. Having taken a 2-1 lead, she lost the fourth 11-1. However, Evans was able to fight back, winning the match on a tie-break in the fifth after more than an hour’s work.
The top two seeds, in Nour El Tayeb and Joelle King, made it through to the semi-finals in Manchester, after wins over Laura Massaro and Alison Waters, respectively.
Evans Fights Back From The Brink To Down The No.1 Seed
After winning in five games in the last eight, Tesni Evans had to go through the wringer to make her way into the final of the PSA Silver event, as she produced a stunning comeback to down the tournament’s top seed.
The Welshwoman was up against World No.3, and recent World Championship finalist, Nour El Tayeb, and the Egyptian played some wonderful squash to take a two game lead, en route to what looked like another appearance in a final.
However, Evans summoned all of her strength, and showcased her abilities to produce a thrilling fightback in front of a capacity crowd at the National Squash Centre. She won the third, fourth and fifth games to take the match after 72 minutes of scintillating squash, to book her place in the final.
She would meet New Zealand’s Joelle King in the showpiece match, after the Kiwi got the better of US No.1 Amanda Sobhy, thanks a winning a first-game tie-break, which gave her the momentum in the clash.
King Takes The Inaugural Manchester Title
New Zealand’s King went on to take the inaugural Manchester Open title after defeating Welshwoman Evans in the final, with the World No.9 still feeling the effects of two five-game clashes in two days.
King was on her game from the outset, and never looked like losing the match, as she claimed her second title of the 2018-2019 PSA World Tour season, after lifting the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open crown in November.