Story of the 2021 Allam British Open
We recap an incredible week of action last time the British Open took place.
Subramaniam and Kennedy Kick Things Off With a Thriller
In the opening match, Sivasangari Subramaniam took on wildcard Georgina Kennedy for a place in the second round, with the Englishwoman coming into the tournament having won five of her last six events on the Challenger Tour.
The pair had met just once before, with Kennedy beating the Malaysian 3-1 en route to the final of the Squash on Fire Open, and their contest in Hull was a cracker.
Subramaniam held a two-game lead after overturning game balls in the first two games, before Kennedy checked her momentum with a 15-13 win in the third and an 11-9 in the fourth to send the match into a decider. Eventually, though, the Malaysian prevailed after 73 minutes of high-octane action. While Kennedy may have lost out, the performance was a sign of things to come for the Englishwoman, who comes into this year’s event sitting just outside the world’s top 10!
Wildcard Wall Makes Second Round
Following the epic battle between Kennedy and Subramaniam was the men’s wildcard, Nick Wall, who made it into the second round of the competition after beating compatriot Daryl Selby. The World No.143 lost the first game of their contest but fought back, winning the next three games to defeat World No.26 Selby in their first ever meeting.
Wall then faced World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy in the last 32, taking a game off the Egyptian in a spirited defeat. The Englishman went on to have a successful 2021, moving into the world’s top 75 for the first time.
Big Guns Survive Tough Early Tests
Although most of the top seeds made it through to the latter stages of the competition, it was not plain sailing for all of them. Mohamed ElShorbagy had to stave off a comeback from Joel Makin in their second round match. ‘The Beast from Alexandria’ led twice, only to see the British No.1 level the match on both occasions. ElShorbagy eventually won, but only after 76 minutes of action.
The third round saw more of the top seeds scrape through, with the Kiwi duo of Paul Coll and Joelle King, along with World No.1 Ali Farag, needing five games to progress. King withstood a comeback to defeat USA’s Sabrina Sobhy in a fifth game tie-break, while Coll came from 2-1 down to defeat Mazen Hesham to reach the last eight.
Farag was on the brink of going out of the tournament in the third round after finding himself two games down against Mohamed Abouelghar, but turned it around to win in five.
Both he and ElShorbagy also went to five in the quarter-finals, beating fellow Egyptians Mostafa Asal and Youssef Soliman, respectively.
Rodriguez Rolls Back The Years
Everyone remembers Miguel Rodriguez’s incredible run at the 2018 Allam British Open, when he became the first South American to win it. Three years later, he threatened to do the same again, going all the way through to the semi-finals.
After a first-round bye, the ‘Colombian Cannonball’ downed US No.1 Todd Harrity in straight games. At 101 minutes, his third-round victory over Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng was the longest match of the tournament, with the first three games going to tie-breaks.
Rodriguez then got the better of No.4 seed Marwan ElShorbagy in the last eight, also going the distance. He went behind twice in the match, but battled back to send the match into a fifth. Both men had their chances, but the former champion took it 13-11 after 87 minutes, before eventually seeing his swashbuckling run end at the hands of Farag in the semis.
El Sherbini and Coll Take British Open Titles
In the women’s final, the battle for the rankings summit raged on as World No.1 Nour El Sherbini took on World No.2 Nouran Gohar, while Farag went into the men’s final looking for his first victory on English soil. Standing in his way was Coll, who was aiming for a first major title.
The women’s final delivered an absolute treat of a match for the crowd. Gohar – known as ‘The Terminator’ – led 2-1, only for El Sherbini to fight back to win in five and claim her third British Open crown.
In the men’s final, Coll secured his first major title, beating Farag in four games to become the first male Kiwi to lift the sport’s oldest title. That victory, followed by wins at the Canary Wharf Classic and the CIB Squash Open Black Ball, helped catapult the New Zealander to World No.1 this month.