The British Open is almost upon us.
Between April 9-16, the world’s greatest players will battle it out for one of the biggest prizes in squash. Play is split between Edgbaston Priory Club and Birmingham Rep and squash fans can get their tickets to watch the drama unfold here.
The British Open always serves up a range of fascinating storylines and last year’s tournament was no different – here’s our recap of all of the biggest moments from the 2022 edition of the ‘Wimbledon of Squash’.
Wildcard Wall Reaches Second Round Again
In 2021, Nick Wall was one of the wildcards for the men’s draw, and he reached the second round after defeating compatriot Daryl Selby. In 2022, he managed the exact same feat by beating Frenchman Victor Crouin in the opening round of the competition.
The Frenchman was coming off the back of beating new-World No.1 Paul Coll at the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic, and he had to fight through to win the fourth game on a tie-break. That sent the match to a deciding game.
Wall took the decider 11-8 to advance to the last 32 for the second year in succession. The second round saw the Englishman take on top seed Ali Farag, where he lost out in straight games.
Gilis Makes First Platinum Quarter Final
The 25-year-old won her opening three matches all in straight games. Gilis defeated Czech No.1 Anna Serme, Dutch No.1 Milou van der Heijden and Indian No.1 Joshna Chinappa, the latter being ranked above Gilis, to make the last eight. Although Gilis lost out to World No.3 and eventual champion El Hammamy, it was another breakout event for the Belgian No.2.
Hesham Reaches First Platinum Semi-Final In 7 Years
After receiving a bye through the opening round, the Egyptian defeated compatriot Mohamed ElSherbini in straight games. He then came up against Marwan ElShorbagy in the third round, overcoming the No.7 seed in a tough five-game battle.
The quarter finals pitted the Egyptian against Nicolas Mueller, and it was the ‘Swiss Rocket’ who took a two-game lead. However, Hesham was able to fight back, winning a five-game classic to make the semis of a major tournament for the first time since the Qatar Classic in 2015.
El Hammamy Secures First British Open Title
Hania El Hammamy had her breakout year on the tour in 2020 when she took out a world-class field to win her first major title at the Black Ball Open. However, she then had to wait two years before her next Platinum crown, which came at this very event.
The Egyptian started with wins over Swiss No.1 Cindy Merlo, England’s Georgina Kennedy and Belgium’s Gilis before coming up against New Zealand’s Joelle King, the former World No.3, in the semis. El Hammamy had to fight from 2-1 down to take the win that day to set up a meeting with the World No.1 in the final.
El Hammamy took on Nouran Gohar in a hotly-contested battle in the final at the Allam Sports Centre in Hull and found herself two games to the good. Although ‘The Terminator’ won the third, the then-21-year-old regrouped to win the fourth comfortably, securing her second Platinum title and her first British Open crown, cementing herself as one of the sport’s best players.
Coll Wins British Open Without Dropping A Game
Once again, he was in amazing form all week in Hull as he did not drop a game en route to a second British Open title.
The Kiwi started his week with a solid performance against England’s Nathan Lake, dropping just 10 points across their three game contest. That was followed by another straight games win over Frenchman Gregoire Marche, before then overcoming good friend and No.6 seed Diego Elias in three to book his semi-final spot.
In the last four, Coll beat Mostafa Asal in straight games, with all three being won with an 11-9 scoreline. He then took on Ali Farag in the final, a repeat of the 2021 title decider.
A first game tie-break victory was crucial for the Kiwi. He won the opening game 12-10, before then cruising to victory in the next two games to seal his third major title. It leaves him undefeated in his last 10 British Open fixtures and he will now aim to become the first man since the great Jansher Khan in the 1990s to win the British Open three times in succession.