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Hania El Hammamy (left) takes on Laura Massaro during the 2017 Hong Kong Open

2017/18 Season Review: Breakthrough Stars - Part Two

Title wins for Egyptian duo Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini at the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals earlier this month brought the curtain down on another thrilling season the PSA World Tour.

We’ll be reviewing all of the major talking points from the past 10 months of action over the next few weeks and have already analysed the season’s most outstanding players..

We’re continuing our look at the breakthrough stars of the 2017/18 campaign – read part one here.

Hania El Hammamy

World Ranking: #20
2017/18 Honours: Granite Open

Played: 25

Won: 13
Lost: 12

Win Percentage: 52%

17-year-old Hania El Hammamy looks to be the next young star to come off the conveyor belt of Egyptian talent after a successful season that has seen her break into the world’s top 20, lift a second PSA World Tour title and claim a shock victory over one of the world’s greatest ever players.

Cairo-born El Hammamy made history back in March 2015 when she became the first player born in the 21st century to win a PSA title – and she ended a two and a half year wait for a second trophy with victory at the Granite Open.

Wins over Charlotte Orcutt and Amanda Landers-Murphy sent the number three seed through to the semi-finals where she prevailed in a gruelling 70-minute clash with home hero Samantha Cornett.

And she was crowned champion the following day when her final opponent – compatriot Yathreb Adel – picked up an injury to hand El Hammamy her second PSA crown.

The 2017 World Junior Championship runner-up next made the headlines when she completed a stunning victory over Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David during February’s Windy City Open.

The pair had met in the opening round of the tournament a year previously when David achieved a straightforward 3-0 victory over the teenager.

David, who spent nine years at World No.1 between 2006-2015, looked certain to repeat the feat when she went two games up.

But, staring down the barrel of defeat, El Hammamy played without fear as she fought back to level the scores before going on to win a tense and nervy fifth game to complete the biggest win of her career.

The Egyptian rose into the world’s top 20 soon after and will now look to establish herself at the sport’s major events over the next 12 months.

Sivasangari Subramaniam

World Ranking: #40
2017/18 Honours: Beijing Squash Challenge, Malaysian Tour Squash XI, Ohana Malaysian Open
Played: 34
Won: 26

Lost: 8

Win Percentage: 76.5%

Three PSA titles, victory at the British Junior Open and a handful of appearances on SQUASHTV have earmarked Malaysian youngster Sivasangari Subramaniam for stardom as she aims to follow in David’s illustrious footsteps.

The 19-year-old – who is currently based in Alor Setar – began the season in style with a run to the quarter-finals of the Nantes Open where she appeared in front of the SQUASHTV cameras for the first time.

Subramaniam, then ranked at No.61 in the world, gave a good account of herself and went down to a narrow 3-2 defeat against England’s Millie Tomlinson who was ranked almost 40 places above the Malaysian in the World Rankings.

A week later, Subramaniam was celebrating after lifting her seventh PSA title, with a 3-0 victory over Hong Kong’s Vanessa Chu in the final seeing her capture her first PSA crown outside of her native Malaysia.

That victory kicked off a run that saw Subramaniam go 14 matches unbeaten as she added both the Malaysian Tour XI and the Australian Open.

Subramaniam finished off 2017 with a fifth straight final where she lost out to World No.11 Annie Au in the Chief of the Air Staff International Women’s Squash Championship title decider.

The nine-time PSA title winner wasn’t quite as prolific in the second half of the season but did make it to the semi-finals of the Salt Lake City Open, in addition to winning the British Junior U19 Open title, while she also performed in front of the SQUASHTV cameras again during April’s El Gouna International.

Subramaniam avenged her Open International de Nantes defeat to Tomlinson in qualifying and her reward was a first round matchup with World Champion Raneem El Welily.

Despite falling in straight games, Subramaniam moved into the world’s top 40 for the first time the following month and will aim to continue her rise up the rankings next season.

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