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New Zealand's World No.10 Joelle King

Beyond The Big Four - Which Women To Watch Out For In 2017/18

During the 2016/17 PSA World Tour season, the major spoils were shared between the big four names on the Women's Tour: Nour El Sherbini (World Championship) Raneem El Welily (Windy City Open) Camille Serme (U.S. Open & Tournament of Champions) and Laura Massaro (British Open).

But, with a proliferation of young Egyptian stars on the rise and already at the top of the Women's World Rankings, the status of the likes of Laura Massaro and Nicol David as title-challengers looks like it could be under threat – with both failing to reach the last four of the recent China Open.

With talents like Joelle King – who looked reignited during her China Open run – and the awaited return of American Amanda Sobhy later in the year – the field of players vying to reach the top is getting stronger and stronger, with the upcoming US Open giving squash fans around the world their first opportunity to get a glimpse of the rising talent in action.

We asked our panel who they are most keen to see this season and who they expect most from.

Lee Drew – SQUASHTV Lead Women's Commentator

I think we're in a golden era for Women’s squash and it's not just the incredible standard that the players are achieving, but the number of players that can win events or knock out one of the favourites.

El Welily can turn on the style to dismantle a field at any point while Nouran Gohar is a World Series winner and can blast anyone off the court with her ferocious and laser-like hitting! England's Sarah-Jane Perry is on the rise and appears to like the taste of reaching the latter stages of majors while taking a few scalps along the way.

Nour El Tayeb is back from injury and has had a season of settling back down and getting up to speed and the Tour will also await the return of Amanda Sobhy to see what the explosive American brings. Having such an impressive selection of contenders is also making the chasing pack lift their game to new levels – all of this makes for a very exciting season of world-class squash!

Vanessa Atkinson – Former World No.1 & World Champion

The current World No.1, Nour El Sherbini, has really taken the women's game to a new level in terms of sheer racket ability and she's still just 21 years old, so will continue to evolve as a player.

However, the top end of the game is as good as it's ever been and I fully expect Sherbini to be challenged at every turn. She is just one of a number of young players who will all continue to develop and improve, including Nouran Gohar, who is an obvious one to watch having already won a World Series event in Hong Kong last year.

However, I would like to see her expand her game. The pace she plays at and the quality of her hitting is incredible. however compared to the other top women, there is a one- dimensionality to her game that will slow her improvement if it isn't addressed.

Sarah-Jane Perry is certainly worth noting, her rise up the rankings over the past two years has been astounding. Her attacking qualities are as good as any and have become all the more effective now that she has improved her basic hitting and Amanda Sohby will be back in action this season after a long lay-off due to a torn Achilles' tendon. The early half of the season could prove challenging for the American though as her movement may have suffered and she will need time to get back to the level she was at before the injury.

New Zealand's Joelle King also deserves a mention. King lost some ground due to injury at the end of 2015, and her absence coincided with a big shift in the women's game. Having started the season very well with back to back wins against Massaro and David at the China Open, this could be her time to really start making her mark at World Series level.

The depth of the women's game is as good as it's ever been and will only get better as the Tour continues to grow and provide incentive for the young players trying to make their way up the rankings.

Jonah Barrington – Former World No.1 And Squash's First professional Player

There's a host of young Egyptian players coming through but Hannia El Hammamy certainly looks like a player with a lot of potential and one who is already dangerous.

I also saw young Malaysian youngster Sivasangari recently. She's a beautiful striker of the ball and already has that competitive edge. Tactically she looked mature as well so she looks like a very exciting talent to watch through the next twelve months.

I'm also keen to see how Sarah-Jane Perry has developed her game over the summer. I feel she has the potential to contend even more so than she has up until now.

Richard Eaton – Journalist for AFP and SquashPlayer Magazine

The most entertaining moments in the women’s game may be those when Raneem El Welily gets all her mental and technical abilities working together at the same time. She then creates poetry and destruction simultaneously – something that makes her a must watch.

More frequent may be the new heights to which the powerful Nour El Sherbini aspires. If so, she is capable of dominating the Tour in a style more forceful than any female before her.

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You can watch all the best action from the 2017/18 PSA World Tour season by tuning into Eurosport Player (Europe Only) while viewers in the rest of the world can log into SQUASHTV.

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