Youssef Ibrahim (right) takes on Jonah Bryant (left)

Afternoon Roundup: Ibrahim Fights Back to Halt Bryant

Egypt’s World No.14 Youssef Ibrahim battled through the pain barrier to record a 3-2 victory over 18-year-old English wildcard Jonah Bryant as the 2024 British Open got under way in the spectacular setting of The Rep Theatre in Birmingham.

Ibrahim – who missed seven months of action between June 2022 and January 2023 due to a knee injury – has been struggling with injury problems in recent events and his movement wasn’t at its best today.

Bryant, the reigning European Junior Champion, trains in Solihull less than 20 miles away from The Rep and he was cheered on by his home fans as he took the opening game, playing consistent squash and attacking with aplomb into the front left corner in particular.

A big push from Ibrahim saw him fight back to take a 2-1 lead but World No.69 Bryant wasn’t to be dispatched that easily, drawing level to send the match into a decider. A quick fire start from the Egyptian saw him pull away though to record a 10-12, 13-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-2 victory as he booked his spot in the last 32.

“I came here expecting a tough match,” said Ibrahim, who will play France’s Gregoire Marche next.

“Jonah is one of the brightest talents in English squash and he has a good future ahead of him. It was going to be no different playing him compared to any other top 30 players and he’s one to watch for the future. I was a little bit worried about my movement and the glass court, but I think in the end I started to move a bit better.

“I expected nothing less than a tough match and I’m happy to get the win in the end.

“I’ve spent so many hours with the physio and I’m trying to get my body as fit as possible to play this event. I wanted to push one last time and I didn’t want to pull out of this tournament. Hopefully I have a long time to recover and get prepared for the rest of the season.

“Credit to Jonah, he moved me around a lot and I hope he enjoys the PSA. I don’t want him to have too much pressure on him, he’s a bright talent and should enjoy it. He’s going to reach the highest level of the game and I wish him all the best.”

He will be joined in the next round by USA’s Andrew Douglas, who marked his British Open debut with a 3-1 upset win against Argentina’s World No.31 Leandro Romiglio in bizarre circumstances.

Douglas broke two rackets during January’s Tournament of Champions match with World Champion Diego Elias, and he went one better today, putting three to the sword, leaving him without a back up.

He was offered one of Romiglio’s by the Argentinian but was eventually handed a brand new Dunlop racket. After the plastic covering was eventually disposed of, he returned to court and had closed the match out within two rallies.

“I got into the tournament at the last minute and I was debating whether I was going to come or not, it’s a long flight, it’s expensive, so I only brought three rackets because I didn’t want to check a bag and wanted to save money,” Douglas explained.

“I couldn’t get four in my racket bag, so I brought three and saved £30. I might play with it [his Dunlop racket] tomorrow, it worked pretty well in the last few points. I’ll pay whatever fee it is, less than £30, hopefully!”

There was a home winner in the women’s event this afternoon as England’s World No.42 Katie Malliff defeated Wales’ Emily Whitlock.

Malliff dominated the first two games and Whitlock shook hands after the second as she retired from the match, handing Malliff a place in the last 32 where she will play newly crowned World Champion Nouran Gohar.

Explaining what happened, Malliff said: “She just said that she felt the court was slippy. I felt okay, maybe it was her shoes.

“It’s good to play here, I was at Edgbaston Priory Club last year and thought I’d quite like to play on this court in front of this crowd, it’s really cool.

“The bigger the crowd, the more inspiration you have to win. It’s quite warm on here as well, so I feel like I’ve worked up quite a sweat.

“I was trying to be disciplined and give away no errors. I had to try and be patient as well.

“She [Gohar] will be the highest ranked player I’ve ever played, so it will be a great opportunity and let’s see what I can do.”

Malliff’s fellow Englishwoman – wildcard Torrie Malik – saw her tournament come to an end at the hands of Malaysia’s World No.37 Aifa Azman, who scored an 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 victory.

There was a chance Azman could have played younger sister Aira in the next round, but a win for World No.16 Fayrouz Aboelkheir over at Edgbaston Priory Club – which will host 24 of today’s matches – put paid to those prospects.

“I didn’t play the British Open last year and just got to see all my friends play on the glass court,” said Azman.

“I thought I did well in the first game, but in the second I lost my confidence. Whenever she lifted the ball up I couldn’t see because the lights were so bright. I tried to focus and keep winning points.

“I lost to her [Azman’s sister, Aira] at the Australian Open, so I was really looking forward to playing her in the next round. Hard luck to her, I think she played well [against Aboelkheir], but maybe next time.

“I always love coming to Birmingham. My coach, Andrew Cross, is from England and I think he’s watching my match now. I played all the junior tournaments here and won all of them apart from the under 19s, so I’m very happy to be back here.”

The evening session at The Rep begins at 17:30 (GMT+1), with play at the Edgbaston Priory Club beginning at 16:30. All of the action will be live on SQUASHTV.

For more information on the British Open, visit the offical tournament website or follow the PSA on XFacebookInstagramTikTokYouTube and WhatsApp.

Results – Men’s First Round (Afternoon Session): 2024 British Open

Auguste Dussourd (FRA) bt Rory Stewart (SCO) 3-2: 3-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (71m)

Farkas Balazs (HUN) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7 retired (29m)

Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) bt Curtis Malik (ENG) 3-2: 10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-4 (79m)

Leung Chi Hin Henry (HKG) bt Iker Pajares (ESP) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 (50m)

Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-1: 4-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-2 (43m)

Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt [WC] Jonah Bryant (ENG) 3-2: 10-12, 13-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-2 (59m)

Andrew Douglas (USA) bt Leandro Romiglio (ARG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-5, 14-12, 13-11 (55m)

Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (32m)

Results – Women’s First Round (Afternoon Session): 2024 British Open

Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Salma Eltayeb (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8 (46m)

Hana Moataz (EGY) bt Alicia Mead (ENG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-6, 11-8 (30m)

Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-2: 11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (43m)

Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Enora Villard (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (21m)

Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-2: 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5 (44m)

Katie Malliff (ENG) bt Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 0-0 retired (23m)

Aifa Azman (MAS) bt [WC] Torrie Malik (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6 (41m)

Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) bt Aira Azman (MAS) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 11-5 (68m)


More Player Reaction…

Fayrouz Aboelkheir

Beat: Aira Azman 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 11-5 (68m)

Next Opponent: Aifa Azman

“I’m very pleased today to get the win. The last two times we played she beat me, so I thought that I just wanted to go in there and get the win either way. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match but I’m happy to be through.

“During Hong Kong and the first half of the season I wasn’t that mentally good and I had a lot going on through my mind, so I think I didn’t play my best. I just came here this year with a new mental game and Jesse [Engelbrecht] just helped me to get it all there. I just learned that I need to be focused on my squash more on the court and it helped, especially in that third game.”


Nour Aboulmakarim 

Beat: Nadine Shahin 3-2: 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5 (44m)

Next Opponent: Hana Ramadan

“I’m so happy with my win today, especially because we played against each other at the ToC and I lost 3-1, so I was a bit under pressure before my match, but I tried to deal with it as best as I could and I’m happy to be through it.

“Last time I didn’t play well, I wasn’t physically very well on court and my squash wasn’t that good. Today I just tried to be relaxed, take that match off my mind and go point by point.

“The last tournament in Manchester gave me a lot of confidence, especially because I had two good wins and I played very well against Rowan [Elaraby]. I have positive vibes in this tournament, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”


Zeina Mickawy

Beat: Salma Eltayeb 3-2: 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8 (46m)

Next Opponent: Satomi Watanabe

“I feel very relieved that I got through.

“Last time we played was the first tournament of the season and I lost in five. Today I was 2-0 up, and I don’t know why, but that match came into my mind. I’m happy though that I came back and won the match.

“I thought to myself [at the end of the fourth game] I’m the more experienced player and that I would find a way, no matter how I was feeling or playing, and it was very physical, there were patches when I got tired. After the fourth I had a silent moment and told myself I had to give 100 per cent because it is the last tournament of the season.”

Auguste Dussourd

Beat: Rory Stewart 3-2: 3-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (71m)

Next Opponent: Yahya Elnawasany or Mohamed Abouelghar

“I’m really happy to come back. I was like 2-0 down and my coach came to speak to me, I was just done mentally. For the last six months I have struggled mentally and I haven’t found my right way on court. I don’t really know how I won that match, but I’m happy to be through.

“The fifth is always 50/50, but I came back from 2-0 down, so I knew I was mentally at a little advantage. I’m happy it went my way in the end. I always play Rory [Stewart] and I always find a way to win.

“I have been travelling without my girlfriend because I haven’t had many expectations recently, but because it was the last tournament of the season, so I asked her to come. My coach was there, my friends, so it was a great help in those tough moments.”