It’s semi-finals day at the British Open, with four exciting matches taking place at Birmingham Rep Theatre from 15:00 (GMT+1).
Here’s the Order of Play for tonight (All times are local GMT+1)
Nouran Gohar v Joelle King
The day’s action begins with World No.1 Nouran Gohar taking on World No.4 Joelle King.
Gohar – the 2019 champion – is aiming to reach her fourth successive British Open final, which would make her the first player to do that since Malaysian legend Nicol David in 2008.
The 25-year-old lost to Egyptian opposition in both the 2021 and 2022 finals against Nour El Sherbini and Hania El Hammamy, respectively.
She comes up against a familiar foe in New Zealand’s King this afternoon in what will be their 15th meeting on the PSA Tour, with Gohar winning 10 of those, including the last seven in a row.
Their most recent match saw Gohar prevail 3-1 in the semi-finals of last month’s Black Ball Squash Open, while King is without a win against the Egyptian since that same tournament in 2020.
The odds will be in Gohar’s favour – particularly after King’s gruelling 3-2 win over Rowan Elaraby in the previous round – but those that watch the Kiwi regularly know that she is capable of taking out the world’s best.
Ali Farag v Mazen Hesham
Like Gohar, World No.5 Ali Farag is looking to reach his fourth British Open final in a row, but unlike his compatriot, he is currently on three defeats from three title deciders.
Farag – who is aiming to become the first man since Jansher Khan in 1998 to reach four British Open finals in a row – lost out to Mohamed ElShorbagy in 2019 and then Paul Coll in both the 2021 and 2022 finals.
While he could yet again face the New Zealander in the title decider, he must first navigate a difficult semi-final fixture against the unpredictable and unorthodox Mazen Hesham, who is appearing in back-to-back British Open semi-finals for the first time.
Hesham comes into today’s encounter after taking out former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarter-finals and has gone from strength to strength since a tricky 3-2 win over USA’s Timothy Brownell in round two.
Hesham ended a 10-match losing streak to Farag in the quarter-finals of the Optasia Championships last month, marking one of his two victories against his fellow Egyptian across 14 matches on the PSA Tour.
With Farag still coming back to full fitness after a knee injury and Hesham firing on all cylinders, it could be a tricky afternoon for No.2 seed Farag.
Amanda Sobhy v Nour El Sherbini
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy will come into today’s clash with reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini full of confidence after a spell-binding performance saw her take out last year’s winner Hania El Hammamy yesterday.
Sobhy was in mesmerising form as she completely nullified the World No.2 – marking the first time El Hammamy has been beaten in straight games in over a year – and the 29-year-old will look to bring that form into her clash with three-time British Open winner El Sherbini.
Their last match saw Sobhy prevail after an intense battle at last month’s Black Ball Squash Open, ending a five-match winless run against the Egyptian.
Despite that victory for Sobhy, El Sherbini still has a healthy lead on the pair’s head-to-head record, winning 11 matches to Sobhy’s five.
El Sherbini showed signs of vulnerability though in her quarter-final match with England’s Georgina Kennedy, narrowly squeezing past the World No.10 after five games.
Taking out two of the Egyptian ‘big three’ would be a real statement of intent from Sobhy – and if she puts in the kind of performance that saw her outclass El Hammamy, she could be looking at a first British Open final.
Paul Coll v Diego Elias
Both Paul Coll and Diego Elias come into today’s clash after 3-2 victories in their quarter-final matches.
Coll eventually prevailed against No.5 seed Marwan ElShorbagy after a see-saw 70-minute affair where the Kiwi eventually ground down his opponent to win 11-1 in the fifth.
Elias – who will become the first South American to reach World No.1 on Monday – was forced to come back from 2-0 down against French No.8 seed Victor Crouin, eventually steadying the ship after a slow start.
One thing that stands out when looking at the pair’s head-to-head stats is that they take it in turns to win. In the 10 matches the pair have contested on the PSA Tour, neither player has been able to win two in a row.
With Elias winning their last encounter at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January, the smart money would be on Coll if the form book is to be believed.
But with Elias wanting to cap his ascension to World No.1 with a victory at one of the sport’s most prestigious events, the Peruvian could finally get that elusive second straight win which would bring Coll’s title defence to an end.