Joel Makin in action.
Joel Makin in action.

Day Two Afternoon : Makin Takes Out Momen To Score First British Win

Welsh World No.9 Joel Makin scored his first ever win at the prestigious British Open at the seventh attempt after he put in a masterclass to oust World No.8 Tarek Momen at the Birmingham Rep Theatre earlier today.

Makin has endured an up-and-down season and spent two months out with an injury at the start of 2024 but returned to form with victory at the Manchester Open two weeks ago. He picked up where he left off there with a controlled performance that saw him complete an 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 win over the former World Champion.

Momen’s fleet of foot and impeccable racket skills make him one of the most dangerous players on the PSA World Tour, which Makin knew all too well having won just four of their previous 12 meetings. However Makin – who now lives in Birmingham – quelled his attacking threat to set up a third round match with Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim.

“We’ve had some battles over the last couple of years,” said Makin afterwards.

My squash was sharp and if my body is responding like it did there I can make it difficult for the best players. I’m happy to win that, he’s obviously at the end of his season and he’s pretty tired, we’re all in a difficult place with our bodies but everyone is pushing.

“I hope everybody enjoyed the matches and it should be another good day of squash.

“He’s so attacking and it’s so easy to sit back and defend out of the front. You always end up on the back foot, so I had to be proactive, take the initiative and be direct with my attacks. That’s what you train for and I put it together well.

“Part of being a good player is playing on any court conditions at any time with no excuses. [Ali] Farag’s won eight tournaments in the last year and there were a lot of different court conditions, you have to find a way to work it out and play it to your advantage.”

Men’s England No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy is also through after overcoming fellow Briton Greg Lobban in four games. ElShorbagy, a three-time British Open champion, will go up against USA’s Timothy Brownell or France’s Baptiste Masotti in the next round.

“Greg did really well in Manchester, he took out a lot of top guys and now he’s in the top 16,” said ElShorbagy.

“He’s at his best ever ranking and I didn’t take this lightly. My team and I prepared very well for the match and it was tough. Anytime I lost focus, he jumped on it, and anytime he lost focus, I jumped on it. It was a good match, high quality, and I’m really glad to go through.

“With everything I’ve done in my career, I’m not here for a last 16 or quarter-final. I’ve never aimed for those rounds, you have to aim to win the event, even if you have not been playing well or getting the results, you have to trust yourself.

“If you don’t have the mentality that you want to win all the time, or that you are the best player in the world, even if you’re not World No.1, then you should not be here.

“That’s the mentality I have, I go into every match to win it. Sometimes it doesn’t work, a lot times it doesn’t work, but a lot of times it does work, too.”

Meanwhile, Farkas Balazs has become the first Hungarian to reach the last 16 after beating Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann, while two-time British Open champion Paul Coll dispatched England’s George Parker in four games.

Over at Edgbaston Priory Club, Belgium’s No.4 seed Nele Gilis was pushed all the way to five games by Canada’s Hollie Naughton, eventually avoiding an upset to claim a 15-17, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 win after 74 minutes of tough squash. The 28-year-old will now play Salma Hany for a place in the last eight.

“To be honest, it was purely a mental battle for me today,” Gilis said.

“I woke up not feeling too well today, so physically I wasn’t there and I really just had to find a way to win and dig deep every point. I’m just proud of myself that I was able to do so, because Hollie [Naughton] is such a tough opponent.

“Maybe if I had snuck that first game, maybe my confidence would have been a bit better, but I’m just glad that I was able to come back from that. After the first game I wasn’t sure if I had the energy for that. I’ve been in this situation many times before. I do know that I can dig myself out of any hole and find a way to win.”

Back at The Rep, newly-crowned World Champion Nouran Gohar kickstarted her attempts to add a second British Open trophy to her collection after a comfortable 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 win against England’s Katie Malliff.

“She has a lot of talent,” Gohar said.

“I watched a couple of her matches to see what I should be doing and she’s a big talent. I like as well the attitude that she has on court. Even when she’s waiting for the serve she’s not intimidated and I love seeing players like that.

“It reminds me a bit of myself when I was younger and coming up. She was fighting hard until the very last point and it’s good to see, it’s very good for the sport. I’m happy with the way I handled her, in the last game she obviously played very well, but I gave her some easy points which usually I would be careful of.

“They always ask me what is my favourite tournament and British Open always comes up on the list because of the crowd. Even if I’m playing an Englishwoman they are very fair and I know they are going to cheer for my good shots. They are very knowledgable about the game and they appreciate good rallies and good points.

“I love when people appreciate what we’re doing and you can’t find this anywhere else apart from England. I’m Egyptian, so they always favour me [in Egypt] but I always feel very sorry for non-Egyptians playing in Egypt. But here it’s very fair, very nice, and having this venue at the theatre is amazing.”

Gohar’s next opponent will be Hong Kong’s Tomato Ho, who fought to a tough 3-2 win against Egypt’s Malak Khafagy, while 2022 champion Hania El Hammamy navigated a tricky fixture with Rowan Elaraby.

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 Second Round (Afternoon Session): 2024 British Open

Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (30m)

Farkas Balazs (HUN) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-1: 11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 11-4 (55m)

[6] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Leung Chi Hin Henry (HKG) 3-1: 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (41m)

Joel Makin (WAL) bt [8] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (40m)

Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-2, 11-9 (38m)

Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Andrew Douglas (USA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (28m)

[7] Mohamed Elshorbagy (ENG) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5 (47m)

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Juan Camilo Vargas (COL) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 14-12 (37m)

[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 10-12, 11-2, 11-4 (50m)

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

Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (31m)

Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Hana Moataz (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 (40m)

[5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Rachel Arnold (MAS) 3-1: 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3 (34m)

Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 15-13 (44m)

Salma Hany (EGY) bt Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 4-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9 (58m)

[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-2: 15-17, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 (74m)

[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Katie Malliff (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (31m)

[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-5 (46m)


More Player Reaction…

Hania El Hammamy

Beat: Rowan Elaraby 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-5 (46m)

Next Opponent: Nada Abbas or Grace Gear

“It’s an unlucky draw and it’s very tough for both of us to play in the second round.

“We just played in the quarters of the World Championships, so it’s definitely weird to play her early doors in the tournament. I think it was a weird match as well, we were both making a lot of errors and hitting the tin a lot, it’s not the best match we’ve played against each other. We go way back, and I’m sure we’re going to have some good battles in the future.

“I love it here, I have a good record in the British Junior Open as well. I love the UK and I enjoy myself on court here. Hopefully this week I can do a good job.

“It’s been great [working with former World No.1 Laura Massaro]. They take good care of me and it’s a different vibe to what I get in Cairo. It’s a chilled environment and it keeps me cool, which is what I need, so I really enjoy it.”


Paul Coll

Beat: George Parker 3-0: 11-7, 10-12, 11-2, 11-4 (50m)

Next Opponent: Miguel Rodriguez or Tsz Kwan Lau

“George has been playing great squash since the London tour, which is good to see.

“He’s a good mate of mine, so I’m happy to see him back playing well. I know what he can, I’ve trained with him loads and I know how physically good he is and what he can do with the racket. He’s playing well and hopefully he keeps going.

“She [Gilis] was 2-1 down when I went on, so I was struggling to focus. After the first game I had to find out if she won or not. Thankfully she did but it wasn’t the easiest start for me.

“I had to find my range on court, it’s pretty severe if you hit your targets through the middle.”