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Hania El Hammamy

2018-19 Season Review: Ones to Watch – Part One

Another enthralling season on the PSA World Tour has come to a close, with Egyptian duo Karim Abdel Gawad and Raneem El Welily taking the honours at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in Cairo, Egypt earlier this month.

We’ll be reviewing all of the major talking points from the past 10 months of world class squash action over the next few weeks. We have already looked over the outstanding performers from the season and now we’re turning our attention to who has made an impact and are the ones to watch for next season.

Hania El Hammamy

World Ranking: No.15
2018-19 Honours
Edinburgh Sports Club Open
Bahl and Gaynor Cincinatti Cup
Played: 29
Won: 19
Lost: 10
Win Percentage: 65.5%

Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy has already made herself a consistent top 20 figure on the women’s tour after a breakthrough season saw her reach a career-high ranking of No.15 in March 2019 at just 18-years-old.

The Egyptian teenager has impressed since bursting onto the scene in 2014 and this season showed that she is a force to reckoned with in the women’s game with two titles and a handful of big wins.

Cairo-born El Hammamy began the season strongly with a runner-up finish to Hong Kong’s Annie Au at the Queclink HKFC PSA International, before going onto securing two titles at the Edinburgh Sports Club Open and Bahl and Gaynor Cincinatti Cup, where she defeated the top seeds, America’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne and England’s Victoria Lust respectively, on both occasions.

The 18-year-old also enjoyed big success on the junior circuit when she won the prestigious British Junior Open title, defeating compatriot and No.2 seed Jana Shiha by an 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 scoreline in the final.

The Egyptian also recorded a huge win in round two of the inaugural CIB Black Ball Squash Open when she defeated then World No.3 and PSA World Championships runner-up Nour El Tayeb at the PSA World Tour Gold tournament back in March.

El Hammamy is sure to have a bright future ahead of her and will be looking to break into the world’s top 10 in the coming seasons.

Youssef Ibrahim

World Ranking: No.62
2018-19 Honours
Sportwerk Open
CIB Wadi Degla Squash Tournament
Swiss Open
Romanian Open
13th CNS International Squash Championship
E.M. Noll Classic
Played: 39
Won: 33
Lost: 6
Win Percentage: 84.6%

Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim has enjoyed a formidable 2018-19 campaign on the PSA Tour, winning six PSA Challenger Tour titles and also being crowned the PSA men’s Young Player of the Season.

As well as those accolades, the 20-year-old Egyptian also enjoyed a rise from World No.210 to just outside the top 50 in the men’s World Rankings.

The last 12 months has seen Ibrahim take home six titles, including a run of four consecutive trophies after the Egyptian won the Sportwerk Open, CIB Wadi Degla Squash Tournament, the Swiss Open and the Romanian Open in an eight-week period in the second half of 2018.

That winning streak also saw Ibrahim qualify for the prestigious PSA World Championships, after winning numerous qualifying evens for the iconic tournament. Ibrahim went onto reach the last 32 stage, where he was eventually knocked out by Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly.

The Cairo-born Egyptian will be hoping to build on his impressive season as he looks to make a mark at some of the sport’s bigger tournaments.

Low Wee Wern

World Ranking: No.24
2018-19 Honours
Australian Open
Q Open
Singapore Open
Played: 28
Won: 23
Lost: 5
Win Percentage: 82.1%

Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern has endured a tough few years suffering with serious injuries that led to her having three surgeries. However, the former World No.5 announced her comeback to the tour in incredible circumstances, winning her first four titles back-to-back.

Low, who was in the top 10 in the women’s World Rankings prior to injury, came back onto the tour for the first time in two years at July’s Malaysian Open, where she was a qualifier and tore through the draw to defeat Japan’s Satomi Watanabe in straight-games in the final.

Later that month the Malaysian stormed to victory once again, this time at the City of Devonport Tasmanian Open, when she defeated Australia’s former World No.1 and tournament top seed Rachael Grinham in the final.

The Malaysian’s return to action continued to go from strength-to-strength as Low formally got her 2018-19 season under way in August with success at the Australian Open, shortly followed up by another title, this time at the Q Open, again held in Australia.

Low picked up her final title of the season at the Singapore Open, before finishing the season with a runner-up finish at the Macau Open.

The 28-year-old Malaysian began the season at World No.252 in July before rising all the way up to World No.24 as she continues to show that she is getting back to her best.

Fares Dessouky

World Ranking: No.15
2018-19 Honours
CCI International runner-up
El Gouna International semi-fnalist
Played: 21
Won: 14
Lost: 7
Win Percentage: 66.7%

Like Low Wee Wern, Dessouky also made his return to the PSA Tour this season following a serious injury lay-off.

The Egyptian tore his ACL at the Hong Kong Open back in 2017 and dropped as low as No.606 in the World Rankings before returning to action in January’s CCI International. Dessouky went on to reach the final in India, losing to World No.3 Tarek Momen in the final.

That tournament set the platform for a strong second-half of the season for the Egyptian. Dessouky secured last16 finishes at the Tournament of Champions PSA World Tour Platinum tournament and at the coveted PSA World Championships.

He continued to get stronger as he was a quarter-finalist at the Canary Wharf Classic, before reaching the last four stage of the El Gouna International, where he also knocked out former World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy during his strong performance in Egypt.

That run led to the Egyptian being named April’s PSA Player of the Month to round off an incredible return to action.

Dessouky finished the season as World No.15 and will be looking to break back into the top ten and get back to his career-high ranking of No.8, where he was before his injury.

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