Skip to content

Ibrahim Elkabbani at the 2021 CIB Egyptian Open

University of Birmingham Open QF: Watanabe and Elkabbani Cause Upsets

The quarter finals of the University of Birmingham Open, the third of four qualifying events for the 2021-2022 PSA World Championships in Cairo, saw a couple of surprises, as Japan’s Satomi Watanabe and Egypt’s Ibrahim Elkabbani both took out higher seeds to make it through to the last four of the competition.

Watanabe, the Japanese No.1, came up against the women’s No.2 seed, Marina Stefanoni. It was the former World No.44 who started the stronger of the two in what was the last women’s match of the evening, winning the first game 11-6. The young American fought back to take the second on a tie-break, but from there, Watanabe was able to take control once more, winning 3-1 to advance to the last four.

She will face England’s Alicia Mead in the semi-finals, after Mead defeated compatriot Katie Wells in straight games. Top seed Lily Taylor won the other all-English clash on day three in Birmingham, and she will meet Egypt’s Nour Aboulmakarim, the No.3 seed, in the last four on Friday.

The only seeding upset in the men’s event came courtesy of Egypt’s Ibrahim Elkabbani, who got the better of England’s Joe Lee in straight games. The No.5 seed started quickly in their quarter final contest winning the first two games and dropping just nine points in the process. In the second game break, the Englishman took a three-minute injury break, but the effects of it stayed with him in the third game, and Elkabbani cruised to victory.

The Egyptian will now face Balazs Farkas in the semi-finals after the Hungarian No.1 survived a tense five-game battle for the second day in succession. After beating New Zealand’s Joel Arscott on day two, Farkas had to come from behind once again, this time to overcome Irish No.1 Sean Conroy. The pair did battle for over an hour, with the Hungarian able to win the deciding game 11-9 to move through to the semis.

Men’s top seed Robert Downer also had to go to the very brink before winning his quarter final match. He came up against Egypt’s Seif Shenawy, and after losing the first game 11-1, he fought back to hold a 2-1 lead in the contest. The Egyptian took it into a decider, where Downer was able to scrape through, winning the fifth 11-9. He will now face another Englishman in the semis, in Miles Jenkins, who overcame compatriot Simon Herbert in a four-game contest.

Action from the semi-finals will take place at Birmingham New Street Station, where a glass court has been erected for this event, along with promoting the sport ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games, which will also be held in the city of Birmingham.

Men’s Quarter Final Results: University Of Birmingham Open
[1] Robert Downer (ENG) bt [6] Seif Shenawy (EGY) 3-2: 1-11, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 (75m)
[4] Miles Jenkins (ENG) bt [7] Simon Herbert (ENG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-6 (52m)
[5] Ibrahim Elkabbani (EGY) bt [3] Joe Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (36m)
[2] Balazs Farkas (HUN) bt [8] Sean Conroy (IRL) 3-2: 11-7, 7-11, 11-13, 14-12, 11-9 (61m)

Men’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Friday, April 8
[1] Robert Downer (ENG) v [4] Miles Jenkins (ENG)
[5] Ibrahim Elkabbani (EGY) v [2] Balazs Farkas (HUN)

Women’s Quarter Final Results: University Of Birmingham Open
[1] Lily Taylor (ENG) bt Kiera Marshall (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (28m)
[3] Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY) bt [7] Emilia Korhonen (FIN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (23m)
[4] Alicia Mead (ENG) bt [5] Katie Wells (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-2 (20m)
[8] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [2] Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-1: 11-6, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)

Women’s Semi-Final Draw: To Be Played Friday, April 8
[1] Lily Taylor (ENG) v [3] Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY)
[4] Alicia Mead (ENG) v [8] Satomi Watanabe (JPN)

Join SQUASHTV and get closer to the PSA World Tour