Quarter-Finals reports & reaction

The 2022 edition of the Allam British Open – celebrating the Centenary of the sport’s longest-running tournament – has reached the quarter-final stage, with just eight contenders left in each draw in the quest to claim the PSA Platinum titles.

You can watch all the action Live, follow on Live Scoring and our Social Feeds, and we’ll have reports, player reaction and photos right here, with a roundup to follow at the end of the day.

Allam British Open 2022 : Fri 1st April, Day FIVE, QUARTER-FINALS
[5] Joelle King (Nzl) bt [4] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 3-0 : 12-10, 11-9, 11-5 (42m)
[9/16] Mazen Hesham (Egy) bt Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 3-2 : 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-13, 11-5 (52m)

[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) bt  Tinne Gilis (Bel)  3-0 : 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (29m)
[1] Ali Farag (Egy) bt [5] Tarek Momen (Egy)  3-1 : 6-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-5 (63m)

[3] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) bt [9/16] Olivia Fiechter (Usa)   3-0 : 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)
[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) bt [9/16] Miguel Rodriguez (Col)  3-0 : 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (45m)

[1] Nouran Gohar (Egy) bt [8] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)  3-1 : 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 (52m)
[2] Paul Coll (Nzl) bt [6] Diego Elias (Per)  3-0 : 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (58m)


Reports and Reaction

King reaches first British Open semi-final

The opening match of quarter finals day at the British Open 2022 saw England’s only remaining player Sarah-Jane Perry take on No.5 seed Joelle King from New Zealand.

King took a crucial first game after 13 minutes of cat and mouse squash. Perry earned herself three game balls after playing some very accurate squash but King fought back to save those three game balls and take the next two points to win 12-10.

King continued this momentum in the next game and capitalised on loose drives from Perry to deliver some quick boasts which Perry was nowhere near. King led 7-4 in the mid-stage of the game and kept a lead throughout and took the game 11-9.

The end came quickly for Perry as King motored through the third game and booked her place in the semi-finals, winning 11-5 in the third and securing a place in her first British Open semi-final at the seventh attempt.

“SJ and her partner have just had a little baby a few weeks ago so, I know they have been going through so many emotions so I’m just so glad they’ve finally got their little boy. But it’s so hard to come out and play a friend, you have to set all emotions aside and it’s my seventh quarter final and I just want to go further in these tournaments.

“It helps when you’re built the same way, we’re both tall players so it was kind of thinking about how people like to play me and flicking the switch. I’ve got so many people here today, it’s been so long since I’ve seen anyone and I’ve got all my New Zealand teammates here with me.

“They’re both very youthful, they’re exciting players for the future of our sport, and now obviously, I hope they battle it out but I’m just looking forward to playing on here again.

[5] Joelle King (NZL) bt [4] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 11-5 (42m)

Mazen Hesham makes first Platinum semi-final since 2015

Egypt’s Mazen Hesham has booked his place in his first-ever British Open semi-final as he beat in-form Nicolas Mueller in a thrilling five games at the Allam Sports Centre this afternoon.

With both players being well regarded as two of the most entertaining on the PSA World Tour, this quarter final was highly anticipated by the busy Hull crowd.

Hesham started the better of the two and used the severity of his hitting to pin Mueller in the back corners before taking him in short.

After winning the first game 11-7, the winners continue to flow for Hesham. Mueller stuck to his task however and managed to take the second game in a tiebreak 13-11. Contrasting third and fourth games saw the match reach a fifth and final game as Hesham dominated the third game, winning 11-3 and Mueller equalised with another 13-11 win.

Mueller simply couldn’t contain Hesham in the fifth game as the Egyptian shotmaker was on a mission to reach the final four. His movement was that bit quicker than his Swiss opponent and after establishing a healthy lead, he converted the game 11-5 to reach his first Platinum event semi-final since the Qatar Classic in 2015.

“Me and Nicky haven’t played in our careers and then in the last four/five months we’ve played so many times and every tie is tougher and tougher, I kept pushing and pushing and he made it even tougher and tougher just to be able to seal the deal. I’m very happy with how I played in the last game and it’s really hard to change the momentum. I’m very happy to be here, enjoying the squash and entertaining the people, having the best time of my life.

“My body is always playing games with me, I’m used to it now, I’m just dealing with every match at a time. I’m really lucky, I want to thank all the PSA physios, they really help me out, people sometimes make fun that I’ve always got the physio but there’s no other way to do it.

“All the Egyptians are so close and we train together, we’re friends but as soon as we’re on court, things are serious, I try to win and they try to win. So may the most tired player win and hopefully have a good game tomorrow.”

Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-13, 11-5 (52m)

El Hammamy storms into semi-finals

Next onto court was women’s No.2 seed Hania El Hammamy taking on Belgium’s Tinne Gilis. Gilis beat India’s Joshna Chniappa to reach the last eight but was unable to recreate that form against a strong El Hammamy.

The world No.3 got to work immediately on volleying everything in sight and giving Gilis no time to settle on the ball. El Hammamy’s striking of the ball was crisp and precise throughout the entire match, giving Gilis no angles to attack.

After securing a 2-0 lead, 11-4, 11-3, El Hammamy continued to dominate proceedings and booked her semi-final place in 28 minutes. El Hammamy will now face New Zealand’s Joelle King for a place in the final.

“I had to be very sharp from the beginning, I had to focus on my game plan and get my length, obviously Tinne is very dangerous and if you leave the ball short she’s going to do something unexpected that will make you lose the point. So I’m very happy to be through in three.

“Both players are extremely talented, playing Joelle is always tough and always physical and hard, you have to be very focused on your game plan but I’m really excited for tomorrow’s match.

“The crowd here is amazing, the venue is amazing, having the crowd here throughout the matches is a great motivation so thank you and see you all tomorrow.”

[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (28m)

No.1 seed Farag reaches semi-finals

An all-Egyptian battle entertained the crowd in the next match at the Allam Sports Centre as reigning World Champion Ali Farag faced former World Champion Tarek Momen to set up a semi-final match with Mazen Hesham.

Momen started the better of the two in the first game and moved Farag into all four corners of the court at a fast pace. Momen was sharp onto all of Farag’s attacks and countered superbly. Momen took the game 11-6.

‘The Viper’ carried this momentum into the second game and ran out to a 6-2 lead. Farag responded however and levelled the game at 1-1 by lifting the ball and mixing the paces. After winning the second game 11-9, Farag continued this tactic into the third game and took the lead in the match on a tiebreak winning 14-12.

Farag moved up the gears in the fourth game and with help from errors from Momen, moved into yet another Platinum event semi-final.

Farag struggled to be mentally ready for the match as he explained afterwards:

“I actually knew how I was going to start today, I need to stop picturing Karim Abdel Gawad as a huge mountain to beat him, because after I beat him I felt like I’d already won the tournament, it was such a big relief off my shoulders.

“Today I was sleepy or not firing enough and then I have to play Tarek Momen, there’s no one worse to feel like that against. He was absolutely dominating it, I tried to play fast and I couldn’t, I tried to attack and I couldn’t so my only option was to slow the game down and hope for errors from his racket. I started well in the third with that game plan until 8-3 then he came back with a flurry of winners until the flip of the coin at the end and that made the difference in the fourth.

“The challenge with Mazen is that you don’t know where the ball is going. He’s got every shot in the book from the same swing. You just stay on the T and pray you guess it right, but you try to stop the opportunities, he has been playing really well recently, we all know Mazen can be a top, top player but he’s been unlucky with injuries and once he got consistently he’s been better. When he gets his back corners right he’s a nightmare and hopefully I can beat him at that and put on a good show for the crowd.

“I guess watching a bit of squash in the morning helps, have a long warm-up which I didn’t have I kept telling myself to warm up and there was something in my head today I don’t know what it was but I got myself fired up in the second when Tarek let me and in the end, I found a way.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-5 (62m)

Sobhy wins all-American clash to reach final four

Opening the evening session on quarter finals day was a first all-American last-eight encounter at the British Open as No.3 seed Amanda Sobhy faced Olivia Fiechter.

The USA teammates train together a lot away from PSA tournaments and are very good friends, but when it came to the match, both were determined to put in a good performance and reach the semi-finals.

Sobhy was able to dictate the pace from the outset and displayed her amazing finishing skills as she tidied up loose Fiechter attacks and made her compatriot cover a lot of ground. Sobhy took the first game 11-6.

Sobhy’s pressure was relentless and never gave Fiechter a chance to settle in the match at all. Sobhy’s tight straight drops were suffocating Fiechter as all she could do was hit back into the middle, much to Sobhy’s delight.

The USA No.1 took the second and third games confidently 11-7, 11-8 to move into the semi-finals where she will face either the newly crowned World No.1 Nouran Gohar or Nour El Tayeb.

“The last two times she beat me she barely beat me in five and in the first games she beat me like 11-1 so I didn’t want to give her that confidence, and I wanted to send the message that if you’re going beat me then hats off to you but I’m going to bring it.

“We have so much respect for each other, we’re best friends, I knew we were both going to give it our all and whatever happens on court stays on court and we’re in each other’s corners in the next match, but when we’re on court we’re competitors and I think it’s nice to show people that you can be competitive but still be happy for each others success and I think that’s a nice message for females.

“We have similar styles, were very aggressive on the volley and it was just a battle of who’s going to be in front so I told myself to be aggressive and relentless. I tried to make sure I wasn’t giving her the front, we practice all the time and it’s always competitive, but at the end of the day it’s going to be good squash and the best player will win and thankfully that was me today.

“They’re both [Nouran Gohar & Nour El Tayeb] so strong, what Nour has been able to do is incredible, I’ve been trying to be the babysitter as often as I can but I mean hats off to her, squash is hard enough as it is so I have no idea how she’s doing it with a new-born, so it’s amazing the level shes able to play. Gohar is the in-form player, she’s the World No.1 for a reason so I’m excited as I haven’t played either in a while so I’m just hoping to play good squash.”

[3] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (35m)

Asal on top form as he beats Rodriguez to make his first British Open semi-final

In what was always going to be an entertaining match, No.4 seed Mostafa Asal faced ‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Rodriguez for a place in the semi-finals.

Asal thundered his way to an early lead at 5-2, blasting the ball to the back with great accuracy and not allowing Rodriguez any time to settle. Miguel delighted the crowd by fighting back and forcing a tiebreak, but it wasn’t enough to stop the ‘Raging Bull’ as he the Egyptian took the first game 12-10 in 18 minutes.

Game two was again dominated by Asal. The young Egyptian started to make Rodriguez do a lot of physical work and forced errors from the Colombian’s racket. Asal grew in confidence and took a well deserved 2-0 lead.

There was no stopping Asal as he bulldozed his way through to the final four for the first time in his career. The World No.4 constructed accurate rallies to squeeze errors from Rodriguez and fired off amazing winners of his own to win in 44 minutes.

Asal was full of compliments for Rodriguez after the match:

“I want to thank all of Allam’s family for coming, they’ve been supporting squash for so long and it’s just unbelievable to be here for me.

“If you are coming to the British Open it is a nightmare for us to play Miguel, he loves this court and you know I started doing the white and black shoes because of him, he’s an idol for so many players. All the Egyptian juniors love his style and the way he moves so I want to thank him for that.

“It was very tough, Miguel beat Joel Makin which is unbelievable, so I knew it would be brutal after he beat Youssef but I think I played solid today which has seen me through.

“I hope it’s 3-2 in 100 minutes. That’s what I need, I don’t care if it’s Paul or Diego but I need it to be brutal.”

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (44m)

Gohar beats compatriot El Tayeb to complete semi-final line up

Newly crowned World No.1 Nouran Gohar completed the women’s quarter final line up as she defeated compatriot Nour El Tayeb to reach yet another British Open semi-final.

Gohar came out to a blistering start in the opening game and really took the pace to El Tayeb who struggled to match ‘The Terminator’. The relentless hitting from Gohar was stretching El Tayeb into all four corners of the court and paid off after 10 minutes as Gohar took the lead 11-4.

After a more competitive game from El Tayeb, Gohar was still too strong for her fellow Egyptian opponent. Errors from El Tayeb helped Gohar’s cause but the sheer velocity of hitting from Gohar gave El Tayeb no chance to sink into her usually silky smooth rhythm.

Despite losing the third game 11-5 due to some outrageous winners hit by El Tayeb, Gohar completed the match in terrific style. She stuck to her game plan and continued to thump the ball into the back corners. El Tayeb did her best to get ahead and use her superb touch and did so at times, but Gohar was too strong and after 52 minutes, secured her place in yet another British Open semi-final.

“If you’re number 37 in the world and you’re playing like this I don’t know if you should be World No.1. I think she’s playing better now than she did before she was pregnant but obviously all respect to her and what she’s doing, I did enjoy it because I do enjoy playing big matches and there’s no bigger than this one, Nour was playing well and I hope the crowd enjoyed it,” said Gohar.

“I think Nour took some time to adjust, I think the second game was very good and we both played well, the last one too. I dropped my concentration a bit and she knew when to attack and when to play at the back so she was playing well. I’m just glad with the way I pulled back in the fourth and I’m glad I’m not in a fifth right now.

“Amanda is a very good player, she’s one of the most skilful players on tour with strong basic game as well so it’ll be fun out there tomorrow and I’m up for it.

“It goes back to 2016 for me when I reached the final when I was 18, just after I’d won the British Junior Open so it’s very special. I just want to thank the Allam family for their support of squash. When people ask me about my favourite venues I always say the British Open, I usually have my mum here with me so it’s strange not having her here but I just have good memories.”

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9 (52m)

Coll beats Elias in three to advance

In the final match of the day World No.1, Paul Coll took on World No.5 Diego Elias. Defending Champion, Coll, defeated France’s Gregoire Marche to reach the quarter finals whereas Elias comfortably got the better of USA’s Shahjahan Khan.

Coll won a long and testing first game 11-7 in 20 minutes. Both players were getting used to the conditions on the glass court and neither player wanted to risk too much going short. Elias was the more proactive player, but Coll’s counterattacks were more effective.

The second game followed a similar pattern with Elias happy to take the ball in short and Coll happy to sit back and use his quick and strong movement to attack. Elias missed a backhand drop at a crucial time, 8-6, and gifted Coll a healthy lead to close out the second game 11-8.

Elias started positively in the third game and rattled off a couple of outrageous winners to lead 5-2. Coll closed the deficit however with smart, accurate squash. After a brutal rally, Coll levelled at 6-6. The No.1 seed stepped up the gears from this point and closed out the match.

“It was a free-flowing, clean match, they’re the most enjoyable matches to play,” said Coll.

“We’re really good friends. I hope you guys enjoyed it, we always respect each other and give it everything.

“We’re never trying to collide, we can be a bit clumsy sometimes, I don’t think he hates me but there’s no love lost on my side.

“Yeah he’s annoying[Mostafa Asal], he’s 21 and in the top 4 in the world and a very talented man, it’s going to be a good battle tomorrow, I’m going to have to be accurate and hit my corners throughout because he’s hungry and young and he’ll give it everything.

“Diego has been working on his strength and movement and it’s showing in his game he’s a lot stronger on the ball, they’re all strong and fit so I’m confident in my own movement.

“Thanks to all my supporters, my boys coming from NZ, I have my girlfriend here and my physio here. The crowd has been great and I can’t wait to play again tomorrow.”

[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [6] Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (58m)