Sarah-Jane Perry and Gina Kennedy lead home hopes in Hull
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
Mohamed ElShorbagy and Joel Makin both suffered surprise defeats on the day the top seeds joined the fray in the second round of the Allam British Open in Hull.
Germany’s World No.18 Raphael Kandra claimed one of the biggest wins of his career as he overcame three-time champion ElShorbagy. And Britain’s highest-ranked male player Makin fell to 35-year-old Colombian Miguel Rodriguez, who won his sole British Open title in Hull in 2018.
Kandra, 31, reached the semi finals of the iconic tournament back in 2018, beating Nick Matthew on Yorkshire soil to bring the curtain down on the English legend’s involvement in his final appearance in a tournament he won three times.
Here, Kandra produced a performance reminiscent of that week in Hull as he overcame ElShorbagy by a 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 scoreline to send the World No.3 to a surprise exit at the Allam Sport Centre.
It’s the first time since the 2013 British Open that ElShorbagy has failed to make it beyond the second round of this tournament, while Kandra advances to the third round of this event for the third time, where he will line up against Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller.
“It feels fantastic, I have been waiting for a while,” said Kandra. “I am quite an on-and-off player. I cause problems for the top guys. Sometimes I sneak the win and sometimes I lose and then sometimes I lose to players ranked below me.
“My whole career has had a lot of ups and downs and I have a lot of memories from 2018, when I made the semi-finals. I love this stage, I love the crowd, and I felt good today. All credit [to ElShorbagy], he was still fighting to the end, it shows how professional he is, but I am so happy to be through.”
Meanwhile, Welsh No.8 seed Makin also bowed out of the tournament after he fell to Rodriguez in a gruelling five-game contest.
Like Kandra, Rodriguez has an affinity for the British Open and became the first South American ever to win the event four years ago. Rodriguez won a high-quality battle and he will now take on Egypt’s Youssef Soliman for a place in the last eight.
“This was just my target for this event, to play that match like a final,” said Rodriguez.
“It’s so tricky on these courts and Joel is so physically fit, he’s very hard to break down. But I thought I played the smarter squash when it counted today, and I’m just very pleased to win today and play again tomorrow.”
In a surprise quirk of the draw, No.4 seed Mostafa Asal met Fares Dessouky in a repeat of the recent GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic final. Asal gained revenge for his defeat in London by winning an 88-minute battle 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7.
A relieved Asal said: “I am really happy to play the British Open. This is the third time and I am loving Hull, the tournament as well! Thanks to the crowd, because from the beginning they are there, like it is the final of a Gold event or something.
“I am happy to get my revenge. In the final at Canary Wharf, all credit to him because he played some superb squash, but I was not prepared for the final. It was a tough battle today, tough mentally for me. I wanted to get my revenge, and I am happy to go through.
“When Mohamed [ElShorbagy] lost today, I think all the top seeds got a bit panicked, all credit to Rapha. I love to come here every year, but to play Fares first round is unbelievable, seeing as I just played him in the final at Canary Wharf.”
Asal now meets world No.25 Patrick Rooney, who is the last remaining Englishman in the draw after he got the better of former World No.3 Omar Mosaad to reach the third round of the British Open for the first time.
He becomes the first Englishman to reach the Open quarter-finals since Nick Matthew, when he was runner-up in 2017 (thanks to Howard Harding at squashinfo.com for that revealing stat).
Home hopes Adrian Waller, George Parker, Nick Wall and Nathan Lake all fell by the wayside.
Peru’s world No.6 Diego Elias came back from two games down to overcome Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim.
In the women’s event, 2019 champion Nouran Gohar got her event off to a winning start as she overcame Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam.
Subramaniam dug in her heels and posed Gohar plenty of problems after a slow start, but Gohar’s extra quality made the difference as she closed out the wins in four games.
“It is one of my favourite courts, I like to play here and I feel comfortable,” said Gohar, who will overtake Nour El Sherbini as the women’s World No.1 on April 1.
“Siva played very well and took it on from the very beginning. It wasn’t easy, for sure, but I just had to dig in and find a way to win in the end.
“Physically, I am feeling good. Since Windy City, I have had back-to-back events, with Black Ball and the Nationals, and now straight to here. I am happy with the way my body is holding itself, and fingers crossed it can hold up until the end of this tournament.”
Gohar will take on USA’s Sabrina Sobhy after the American accounted for Wales’ Emily Whitlock.
In another USA-Wales battle, Olivia Fiechter beat Tesni Evans 3-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4.
England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry overcame close friend Lisa Aitken from Scotland to set up a third round clash with Egypt’s Farida Mohamed, who beat Hollie Naughton of Canada.
“It is really hard playing one of your closest friends,” Perry said. “I have a lot of friends on Tour, but Lisa is definitely one of the closest, so it is really tough. It is a lot easier out there when you’re warming up, when you can focus on what you’re doing.
“I was really pleased, not with the first few rallies though as Lisa came out like an absolute bullet there. Once I got into that first game, then I was pleased with it.”
World No.11 Georgina Kennedy continued her excellent run of form by beating America’s Olivia Clyne in four games, taking control after losing the opening game to reach the third round here for the first time.
Egypt’s Salma Hany became the first women’s seed to exit the tournament after she fell to India’s Joshna Chinappa.
2022 Allam British Open, University of Hull, Yorkshire, England.
Men’s Second Round:
 Ali Farag (ENG) bt [WC] Nick Wall (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 (26m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-2: 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4 (66m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (37m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (37m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-2: 4-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (56m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 (28m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0: 14-12, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 (51m)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 (88m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7 (50m)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 13-11, 13-11, 11-9 (53m)
Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt  Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 5-11, 11-3, 3-11, 11-9, 11-5 (85m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (59m)
Shahjahan Khan (USA) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-1: 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 11-6 (59m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-1 (33m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-3 (33m)
Men’s Third Round (Top Half, March 30):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half, March 31):
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
 Diego Elias (PER) v Shahjahan Khan (USA)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Women’s Second Round:
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-0: 11-3, 11-7, 11-5 (23m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Olivia Clyne (USA) 3-1: 6-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 (33m)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (30m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-2: 2-11, 15-13, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 (49m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 15-13 (70m)
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 12-10 (29m)
Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8 (36m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (30m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-: 11-2, 11-5, 11-4 (21m)
Jasmine Hutton (ENG) bt Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (24m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 3-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 (44m)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Hana Ramadan (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (23m)
Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Rachel Arnold (MAS) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (23m)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (24m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-1: 11-3, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7 (35m)
Women’s Third Round (Top Half, March 30):
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Georgina Kennedy (ENG)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
Farida Mohamed (EGY) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half, March 31):
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Jasmine Hutton (ENG)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) v  Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Nele Gilis (BEL)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA