The Manchester Open starts this week in as squash returns to the big stage for the first time in over six months, following the enforced suspension of the tour due to COVID-19.
The last major events on the PSA World Tour took place back in March, as the CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open and the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic were held simultaneously in Cairo and London, respectively.
Now though, the Tour returns to Manchester, where it last held an event in 2019. The inaugural Manchester Open was a great success, and was the lone female-only event to be covered by SQUASHTV.
New Zealand’s Joelle King won the title 16 months ago, after beating Welshwoman Tesni Evans in the final. The Kiwi is back to defend her crown this week, and she will start off against Latvian No.1 Ineta Mackevica.
Evans, meanwhile, will begin her campaign at the PSA Silver event a day later, against Egypt’s Zeina Mickawy. The top seed in the women’s draw is Camille Serme, the World No.3, and the Frenchwoman will do battle with USA’s Sabrina Sobhy in round one.
Sarah-Jane Perry is the main English hope in the women’s draw, with the World No.5 looking to win on home soil. She takes on Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in the first round on Thursday evening.
Sarah-Jane Perry is the leading Englishwoman in the draw
Nour El Tayeb, Hania El Hammamy and Amanda Sobhy are the other members of the world’s top ten who are featuring this week in Manchester, all looking to get off to a perfect start on the return of squash.
Unlike the 2019 Manchester Open, which was female-only, there is a men’s event this time as well, with eight of the top ten in the world taking part, including the entirety of the top five.
World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy will be looking to maintain top spot in the rankings, and he starts with a clash agains Germany’s Raphael Kandra on Wednesday. The World No.29 is in good form, having reached the final of the Expression Networks Nolan and Liam’s Tournament in Prague on Sunday, the first event back after the suspension.
World No.2 Ali Farag knows that a win in Manchester could see him move back to the summit of the World Rankings. He faces England’s Nathan Lake in the first round. Karim Abdel Gawad and World Champion Tarek Momen make up the rest of the top four.
The highest-ranked non-Egyptian in the event is Paul Coll, the World No.5. The New Zealander will face Baptiste Masotti in the first round of the tournament. Joel Makin is the highest-ranked British player in the men’s draw, while Adrian Waller is the English No.1.
Play begins on Wednesday, September 16 at 11:00 (GMT+1), with action then taking place across the next seven days.
The action will be available to watch throughout the week, with play from the glass court streamed LIVE on SquashTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.