5:46 am
24 Jun 2024

Makin Becomes First Welshman to Make British Open Quarters For 22 Years

5 Jun 2024

Birmingham-based Joel Makin has become the first Welshman since 2002 to reach the quarter-finals of the British Open after battling to a 3/2 victory over Egypt's world No.14 Youssef Ibrahim at Birmingham Rep Theatre.

Makin, who was born in Pembrokeshire but moved to Birmingham a decade ago, scored his first British Open win yesterday with an upset against former World Champion Tarek Momen and followed that up with a dramatic 11-5, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8 win to reach the last eight.

The world No.9 has continued his recent fine form following his Manchester Open title win a fortnight ago - where he beat Ibrahim in the semi-finals - and will now be the first man from Wales to compete in the quarter-finals of the historic British Open since current PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough 22 years ago.

"I got good leads and I don't know what happened there," said Makin, who will play current World Champion Diego Elias in the next round.

"I was in and out concentration-wise today, which was poor. Against someone with this class and skill level you're just going to lose points quickly. I had a disappointing end to the third, so I had to get back on top and get my concentration right for the next one.

"The more you train and the more you live in that discomfort area, you feel comfortable in those rallies and I think today was an anomaly. I like to think I'm very solid in those positions but that was poor today. This is professional sport, it's hard to win and everyone is looking for scalps."

In the women's event, USA's world No.4 Olivia Weaver reached the quarter-finals of the event for the second time in her career after fighting to an 11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6 win against fellow American Sabrina Sobhy.

Weaver had only won one of their five previous matches on the PSA Tour and was put to the test by a tenacious Sobhy. After squandering big leads in the second and third games, Weaver found herself up against it, but she regrouped to take the next two games without reply.

The 28-year-old will now face defending champion Nour El Sherbini. The pair met in the semi-finals of last month's PSA World Championships, with the Egyptian winning in five games.

"The head-to-head really favoured Sabrina, especially if you consider our college career," said Weaver.

"We've been playing for a very long time, and as you can see, she's such an incredible player. She's so skilful and so physical. I knew that I was going to have to dig deep and put in a really good performance to win today.

"I'm so grateful to have had Danny Massaro in my corner, who I've been working with now for years. He doesn't get to see me live that often, but he was so critical to get me back to the basics and finding my game out there."