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Joelle King

BRITISH OPEN SEMI-FINALS: PLAYER REACTION

We’re down to the semi-finals at the Allam British Open 2022. With eight players battling it out for a place in the final.

Opening the day’s play will be New Zealand No.1, Joelle King taking on Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy. The winner of that match will face either World No.1 Nouran Gohar or Amanda Sobhy in the final.

The first match of the men’s draw will feature No.1 seed and reigning World Champion Ali Farag as he faces compatriot Mazen Hesham in a bid to reach his third British Open final.

World No.1 Paul Coll will close out the semi-finals as he takes on ‘The Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal in a highly anticipated affair. Coll had been on the losing end against the Egyptian in previous encounters but got the better of Asal in the last match they played in the Qatar QTerminals Classic 2021 semi-final.

Play gets underway at 14:00 (GMT+1), and you can watch glass court action at the Allam British Open live on SQUASHTV

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Order of play

Order of play

El Hammamy beats King in five games to reach maiden British Open final

El Hammamy celebrates her win

Opening semi-finals day was No.2 seed Hania El Hammamy and No.5 seed Joelle King. This would be King’s first British Open semi-final of her career, despite being involved in 6 previous quarter finals in the prestigious event.

El Hammamy started the better of the two, finding her line and length immediately and forcing King deep into the back corners. This set up numerous attacking opportunities for the Egyptian, which she took full advantage of as she won the opening game 11-5.

In a complete turnaround second game, King stepped up the court and used her hitting power to keep El Hammamy off the T and impose her own game on the match. She capitalised on some unforced eroors from the World No.3 and took the game 11-5 to equalise.

King continued her momentum into the third game and narrowed the angles of the talented Egyptian player. El Hammamy tried to force opportunities but found no way through the solid hitting of King. King took the game 11-7 in 17 minutes to take a 2-1 lead.

El Hammamy responded however and took her chances well in the front two corners. She set up a fifth and final game, winning 11-8.

The momentum El Hammamy gathered in that fourth game showed no signs of disappearing as she ran away with the fifth game playing aggressive squash to dominate King in the final game. El Hammamy went from strength to strength and reached her first British Open final, winning the match in 71 minutes.

El Hammamy had this to say upon reaching her first British Open final:

“It feels amazing. The British Open is one of the most prestigious events on the tour and it's any squash player's dream to reach the final and win the tournament so I'm glad I could go one step further here this season.

“Every time Joelle and I play we seem to kill each other. Anytime I lose my focus I get chopped so I had to focus really well today. I had to minimise my errors and keep telling myself to play safe and fight for every shot and I dug very deep, it's always tough against her so I’m very happy to get through.

“Nouran is World No.1, she's been winning all the big events but you can never predict, but I hope it goes to five as well so hopefully I can watch them fight it out against each other.”

Result
[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [5] Joelle King (NZL) 3-2: 11-5, 5-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3 (71m)

Farag beats Hesham to reach his third consecutive British Open final

Ali Farag in action

Reigning World Champion Ali Farag booked his place in his third consecutive British Open final after overcoming fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham.

Farag dominated proceedings in the first game, forcing Hesham to look for opportunities that simply weren’t there. Hesham hit a string of errors much to the delight of the No.1 seed, who sealed the opening game 11-8.

Hesham got off to the perfect start in the second game and lead 5-1 by hitting outrageous winners to catch Farag off guard. The winners continued to flow from Hesham and he equalised the match, taking the second game 11-6 in nine minutes.

Farag regained the lead after pushing Hesham into all four corners and keeping the ball away from the dangerous Egyptian. The World No.2 continued to work Hesham and the tiredness was beginning to show. Some tired errors from Hesham partnered with superb, accurate squash fro Farag secured the win in four games.

“I had a game plan, whether he's struggling or not it's the same so I wanted to stick to it and not think about my opponent,” said Farag after his win.

“Especially since we're such good friends off court. We came on with a flyer of a ball in the first game and it wasn't easy to control, but I was actually very happy with my weight of shot. I think I put a lot of work into him and in the second, I started a little too open and I tried to get it back but with the repertoire he’s got in shots he was too good and I couldn't close the gap. I was a bit edgy in the third and I don't think it was the best match we've played together but still very good considering the occasion.

“It always a fine line between trying to use good position to not let your opponent go through and us trying to look for strokes. I think we’re all guilty of that sometimes so we gave the referee a tough time and I think there was some disagreement there of what was a let and a stroke and the umpires have to do their job and it's not ours to worry about.

“Nour and I have this game where we try to call each match every day and we couldn't decide between Paul and Mostafa. It's a real 50/50, they're both very good and different players which will create a great match between the two and they're both very fit. I'm just happy to be through to another final, thanks to Dr Allam for coming as always, it's a pleasure having you sat here watching us, it's his tenth year sponsoring the event and we look forward to coming back every year so, thank you very much.”

Result
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6 (51m)

Gohar storms into her fourth British Open final

Nouran Gohar

2019 British Open Champion Nouran Gohar has stormed her way into her fourth British Open final as she confidently beat USA’s Amanda Sobhy 3-0 in 28 minutes.

Both players reached the semi-finals by overcoming national teammates. Gohar defeated Nour El Tayeb in four tough games. Whereas, Sobhy managed to beat Olivia Fiechter 3-0 to advance.

Gohar dominated the match from start to finish. Her mixture of severe hitting and electric movement gave Sobhy little chance of settling into the match. Gohar took the opening two games 11-2, 11-3.

There was absolutely no stopping Gohar. ‘The Terminator’ continued to bury Sobhy in the back corners before unleashing a devastating attack into the front corners. Gohar was simply too strong on the day.

Gohar becomes the first player to reach nine major finals in a row since the legendary Nicol David in 2012.

Upon joining El Hammamy in the final, Gohar had this to say after the match:

“We don't have rest days so I have to be efficient, because I know I will need every bit of energy for tomorrow’s match. Amanda is a tough competitor and I didn't want to stay on court with her any longer because she will always try and find solutions and fight so I didn't want her to get back in the game.

“A big strength of mine is to be alert, focused and quick. When I'm trying to execute this well it makes me more efficient on court and makes me win easier.

“I’ve been working with my physio and I'm thankful that he’s here, I said to him I had some stiffness in my shoulder so I had the cupping therapy and this is what colour comes out. But you have to recover, it's as important as training. You have to look after your body and get ready for the next matches.

“After this event, I have a month's break. I haven't been with my husband for months now and it's so important for me to see him but I will give it everything tomorrow because I really want to enjoy my break after this event.”

Result
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [3] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (28m)

Coll sets up World No.1 showdown with Farag after beating Asal in straight games

Paul Coll

Fireworks were expected for the final match of the day as World No.1 Paul Coll took on ‘The Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal for a place in the British Open final.

The pair last met at the Qatar QTerminals Classic 2021, where Coll defeated the young Egyptian 3-0 in the semi-finals. Asal had won all three previous encounters before then.

The match started in attritional style with both players determined to keep control of the middle and not give anything cheap away to one another. Asal saved two game balls to give himself a lifeline in the game but Coll managed to close down the court and take the opening game 11-9.

Coll’s control and accuracy were on top form throughout the match. His weight of shot was always forcing Asal into the corners of the court. Asal tried his best to get himself in front of the New Zealander, but the movement of Coll was simply too strong. Coll doubled his lead by the same scoreline as the first game, 11-9.

Despite Asal being slightly more aggressive in the third game, there was no way past Coll. The World No.1 continued to pin Asal in the back corners and kept the ball incredibly tight to the sidewall, allowing Asal no room to fire off the winners everyone knows he is capable of. Asal went down with a slight ankle injury at the end of the third game but that didn’t disrupt the focus of Coll who took the game again 11-9.

Coll has set up a massive match in the final with Ali Farag, with the winner claiming the World No.1 spot.

Defending champion Coll had this to say after his impressive performance:

“It means everything. I came into this week trying to defend, I prepped really well, had a great week in Birmingham with my coach, I brought my physio over and tried to make everything happen to defend the title. I’m loving the court, loving the atmosphere and I’m fired up for tomorrow.

“Nobody gave me the World No.1 spot easy, so I’m not giving it up easy.

“I came in today with a game plan, the body and mind are both feeling great, he’s such a talent, he’s so strong that I had to execute my game plan to win and I’m very happy to do that 3-0 in the semis.

“I stuck to my game plan well. I was aggressive when I needed to be and defended where I needed to, and executed my game plan from the first rally.”

Result
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (67m)

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