Rooney Carries Home Hopes Into Manchester Open Quarters
19 May 2023
North West local Patrick Rooney looked down and out in his match against world No.11 Youssef Soliman, but - spurred on by the home crowd - showed great determination to claw his way back from two games down to overcome the fifth-seeded Egyptian to secure a surprise berth in the quarter-finals of the Manchester Open, the PSA World Tour Silver event at the city's National Squash Centre.
"It was tough!" said the England international after his 73-minute 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-9 upset. "I thought I was playing well in the first two, I had two good leads. Coach [David] Campion kept telling me to keep with it, I was playing well. It was frustrating to lose those games, but I am proud of myself for keeping my concentration, because it took a lot of digging in.
"I am the one on the comeback, so it was about keeping a level head," added Rooney, who now faces favourite Ali Farag, the recently-crowned World Champion, for a place in the semis.
"He's got no chance, has he! I play well for some reason on this court, I don't know why. I have never played Ali on before, there is no pressure on me. I am just looking forward to the challenge and see what I can do!"
There were further upsets on day two as the women's No.2, 4 and 5 seeds exited the tournament. Japan's Satomi Watanabe, who has recently moved inside the world top 20, continued her good form as she overcame No.4 seed and last year's runner-up Sarah-Jane Perry in a close five-game encounter.
Egypt's No.5 seed Rowan Elaraby suffered a four-game loss to Malaysia's world No.40 Sivasangari Subramaniam, who is on her way back from injury but put together a sublime performance to overturn last week's loss to Elaraby at the PSA World Championships.
No.2 seed and USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy was in great form coming into this event but was unfortunately forced to withdraw in her clash with Wales' Emily Whitlock after just one game due to a leg injury. Whitlock now faces England's Georgina Kennedy for a place in the semi-finals.