In honour of International Youth Day – which takes place today, Friday August 12 – we’ve taken a look at some of the most promising young players on the PSA World Tour to see who could be rising up the World Rankings in the coming years.
The Story So Far
Peru’s Diego Elias will be looking to break into the world’s top 30 over the next 10 months after showing glimpses of his prodigious talent last season.
The 19-year-old is one of only four players ever to win the World Junior Championship twice – an exclusive club that includes both a current and former World No.1 in Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ramy Ashour and also the current World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy – and has already lifted three PSA World Tour titles in his short career to date.
After turning professional three years ago, the talented Elias reached a maiden Tour final in May 2014 before capturing his first title later that month at the Resistencia Open – becoming the only Peruvian to capture a PSA World Tour title to date.
The victory was all the more impressive given the fact he began the event as the tournament wildcard and, after reaching the world’s top 100 a day later, he would go on to win his first World Junior Championship three months later.
A second Tour title then followed in October 2014 where the then World No.66 defeated top seed Ryan Cuskelly at the Salt Lake City Open.
Elias’s reward was a place in the world’s top 50 for the first time the following month and he would round off the season by winning the Costa Rica Open, again beating the tournament top seed, this time Scotland’s Alan Clyne, in the final in June 2015.
After defending his World Junior Championship crown in the off-season, Lima-born Elias made a strong start to the 2015/16 campaign with quarter-final finishes at the Abierto Colombiano and the Nash Cup, claiming a notable victory over Marwan ElShorbagy in the former.
First round and second round exits at the US Open and PSA Men’s World Championship saw Elias appear at the highest level in front of the SQUASHTV cameras before he rounded off 2016 by reaching the last eight of the Edmonton Open.
Elias began the new year by taking a game off three-time World Champion Nick Matthew at the Tournament of Champions before suffering successive round one defeats at both the Motor City Open and Colombia Open.
February though saw the Peruvian scalp current World No.15 Fares Dessouky in one of the biggest wins of his career, eventually reaching the second round of the Windy City Open and qualifying stage defeats at the British Open and El Gouna International wasn’t enough to prevent him from rising to a career-high World No.32 ranking in May.
Elias rounded off the season with a quarter-final finish at the PSA Sporta three months ago and will be looking to hit top gear when the 2016/17 season begins later this month.
Mariam Metwally (left) takes on World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
The Story So Far
Since joining the PSA World Tour in 2011, Egypt’s Mariam Metwally has already indicated that she looks set for a long and prosperous career at the top level.
After winning her first Tour crown in 2013’s Swiss Open, Metwally broke into the world’s top 100 in April of that year and then reached the final of the World Junior Championship three months later, eventually losing out to current World No.1 and senior World Champion Nour El Sherbini.
A year later in October 2014, Metwally doubled her Tour title tally with victory at the Open D’Italia yielding her maiden W10 crown and a quarter-final finish at the Monte Carlo Classic – where she stunned World No.24 Line Hansen in the first round – enabled her to round the year off inside the world’s top 50.
Metwally then lifted silverware on the junior circuit in April 2015, beating compatriot Mayar Hany to win the All Africa Junior Championship.
The 2015/16 season was one of adaptation for 19-year-old Metwally. She began the campaign by bowing out at the qualifying stages of World Seres tournaments such as the US Open and Qatar Classic.
January 2016 saw Metwally claim the biggest win of her career so far, beating top 20 player Dipika Pallikal Karthik to reach the second round of a World Series tournament for the first time in her burgeoning career.
Subsequent main draw appearances at the Windy City Open, British Open and PSA Women’s World Championship then saw Metwally reach a career-high World No.32 ranking two months ago.
Youssef Soliman with the 2016 Jersey Classic title
The Story so Far
One of the most exciting young talents on the PSA World Tour, 19-year-old Youssef Soliman is part of the next wave of Egyptian talent charting a course to the upper echelons of the game.
Cairo-born Soliman made his PSA World Tour debut in 2013, but initially found the transition from junior tournaments to the professional Tour a challenge and had to wait two years to reach a PSA World Tour final, where he narrowly missed out on winning the Malaysian Tour Squash I title.
Five months later, Soliman unexpectedly made it to the final of the 2015 World Junior Championship, but defending champion Elias stood firm to prevent him from becoming the ninth Egyptian winner of the prestigious title.
Soliman exploded onto the scene in the 2015/16 season, bouncing back from his World Junior Championship heartbreak to record semi-final finishes at the JSW Chennai Circuit and Qatar Circuit.
After beginning 2016 with a first round exit at the Wimbledon Open, Soliman wracked up three straight tournament wins in April and May, first battling through qualification to break his title duck at the North of Scotland Open before going on to win the Ipswich Open and Jersey Classic.
His 14-match unbeaten run came to an end during the Kent Open three months ago, but he will begin the new season ranked inside the world’s top 100 after achieving a career-best World No.95 ranking in the August World Rankings.
We spoke to Youssef Soliman in our new issue of SquashXtra, where you can also find exclusive interviews with the likes of Ramy Ashour and Nouran Gohar, coaching tips from the legendary Jonah Barrington, comprehensive ball reviews, a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes at SQUASHTV and much, much more.*
Nadine Shahin (left) during her PSA Women's World Championship clash with Jenny Duncalf
The Story so Far
Nadine Shahin, the 19-year-old from Cairo, has made great strides up the World Rankings in recent years, winning seven PSA World Tour titles since 2014.
After a semi-final finish on the Malaysian Tour Grand Final tournament in November 2013, Shahin was rewarded with a place in the world’s top 100 the following month and it wasn’t long before she was making a name for herself in 2014.
Three successive tournament wins at the Geneva Open, NSA Open and Gauteng Open saw Shahin begin the year in style, before she claimed two further titles in the August to move into the world’s top 50 a month later.
Shahin made to the step up from W5 to W10 & W15 events in 2015 and a series of quarter-final finishes saw her ranking hover around the 50 mark for much of that year.
She began last season with appearances at the NSCI Open and Qatar Classic and it wasn’t long before Shahin returned to winning ways with a title double on the ninth and 10th instalments of the 2015 Malaysian Tour.
Shahin made limited appearances throughout the first half of 2016, reaching the quarter-final of the Bahria Town International and then the final qualifying round of the British Open.
It was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April where Shahin gave a true glimpse of her talent, claiming her biggest ever win over former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf to reach the second round of the PSA Women’s World Championship.
Shahin’s next appearance on the PSA World Tour will be later this month at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, where she will aim to battle through qualification to reach the main draw.
In the meantime, check out our Player Spotlight article on Shahin here.
Patrick Rooney (right) goes head-to-head with Nick Matthew in the 2015 British National Championships
The Story so Far
European Junior Champion Patrick Rooney is the highest ranked English teenager and, with stalwarts Nick Matthew and James Willstrop entering the twilight of their glittering careers, is one of the leading candidates to replace them towards the top of the World Rankings.
The World No.160 from St. Helens, who turned 19 two months ago, made his PSA World Tour bow towards the end of 2014 and showcased his potential by claiming a silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games the following summer.
Rooney began the 2015/16 season ranked at World No.224, but managed a semi-final and two quarter-final finishes in his first four tournaments to break into the world’s top 200 by the end of 2015.
He kicked off 2016 with a series of first round exits, but the Englishman returned to form by triumphing at the European Junior Championship in March, defeating Hungary’s Farkas Balasz in the showpiece final in March of this year.
Rooney provided another look at his potential with a semi-final finish at the Ipswich Open before capping off the season in style by claiming his maiden PSA World Tour title at the Madeira International.
The Story so Far
16-year-old Nada Abbas is one of the few players on the PSA World Tour to have been born this century, but the World No.70 from Egypt has already emerged as one to watch over the next few years.
A promising childhood gymnast before injury curtailed her progression, Abbas turned her attentions to squash and has worked incredibly hard to move up the World Rankings since making her PSA World Tour debut two years ago.
At the outset of the 2015/16 season, Abbas was ranked outside of the world’s top 100, but came up with a series of magnificent performances towards the end of the campaign to outline her intentions to join her fellow Egyptians towards the top of the World Rankings.
After reaching the semi-final stage of the Edinburgh Open, Abbas made it to her first PSA World Tour final in Paderborn – eventually falling to top seed Nele Gilis.
However, Abbas was soon celebrating less than a month later as she defeated Birgit Coufal to claim the Lion Cup crown.
Find out what makes Abbas tick by reading our Player Spotlight article.