Ahead of the New Year, we have taken a look at some of the younger stars that are up and coming that you should keep an eye on in 2020.
All ten of the players we have chosen are aged 21 or under, and inside the top 70 of the World Rankings, with five of them currently sitting inside the top 32 in the world.
Hania El Hammamy
The first player on our Ones to Watch list for 2020 is the only member to feature in the top 10 of the World Rankings. Hania El Hammamy sits at World No.10, her highest career ranking, despite having only just turned 19 years of age in September.
The young Egyptian has been a figure in the top 50 since June 2016, when she was just 15-years-old, and has consistently risen up the ranks to now sit inside the top ten.
El Hammamy lifted two titles in 2019, winning the Edinburgh Sports Club Open and the Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Cup in back-to-back weeks in February, with the latter being her biggest win to date.
She has broken through at the majors recently, reaching three semi-finals in her last four events. The teenager made the last four at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open and the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital, before then becoming a World Championship semi-finalist in Giza in October.
El Hammamy will be looking to keep her major form going at Grand Central Terminal in early January, as she competes at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York.
The second Egyptian on the list, and the second star to have been born in the 21st Century, Rowan Elaraby currently sits at World No.21, having previously broke into the world’s top 20 earlier this year.
The teenager has been inside the top 50 since before her 17th birthday, and although she has not tasted title success over the last twelve months, Elaraby has found form in some of the major tournaments.
The 19-year-old made the last 16 of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open in March, before reaching her first ever Platinum quarter final at the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, where she was defeated by Nour El Tayeb.
Elaraby will be a consistent figure in the American run on the PSA World Tour to start 2020, with entries into the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Bahl and Gaynor Cincinnati Cup and the Walter Family Windy City Open.
Sivasangari Subramaniam (right) takes on Sarah-Jane Perry at the U.S. Open
December 2019 sees Sivasangari Subramaniam sit at her highest ever career ranking, World No.32, having risen up the rankings consistently for the past four years.
The young Malaysian, now aged 20, has been a member of the top 100 since December 2015, and thanks to two victories in the middle part of the year, plus solid performances at the majors, she is now inside the top 32 in the world.
Subramaniam has only featured at six tournaments in 2019, starting with a last 32 result in New York. She then won the Racquet Club Pro-Series event in St. Louis, before then tasting success at the Australian Open in July.
Her major form has also improved, having reached the last 16 of both the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships and the CIB PSA Women’s World Championships 2019-2020 in front of the Pyramids, helping her move into that top 32.
As of now, Subramaniam’s first event of 2020 will be the Walter Family Windy City Open in February, held at the University Club in Chicago.
The only English player on our Ones to Watch list is Jasmine Hutton, who has seen her ranking rise from outside the top 100 to inside the top 50 in just 18 months, thanks to some consistent performances on the PSA Challenger Tour.
Hutton has only featured in 26 tournaments in a fledgling career to date, but she now is at her highest career ranking of World No.49. Her rise in 2019 has come from reaching five finals, with two of those appearances being converted into victories.
The Englishwoman won the Johannesburg Open and the Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Squash Open Championships in back-to-back weeks in April and May, beating South African Milnay Louw in the final of both events on her opponent’s home soil.
She also finished runner-up at the Slaight Music Granite Open, Nash Cup and London Open, and made her first appearance at the Allam British Open, beating Hollie Naughton to reach the second round.
Hutton will appear at both the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and the Walter Family Windy City Open to open up her 2020 campaign, as she aims to keep pushing her ranking higher and higher.
The final female player on our list is also the second Malaysian, in Aifa Azman. After reaching a career high of World No.62 in May 2018, she then spent a ten-month period out of the game, dropping outside the world’s top 150, but Azman has fought back in some style.
Despite still only being 17 years of age, the young Malaysian had shown her abilities in 2019, winning the Roberts & Morrow North Coast Open, Squash Melbourne Open and International Squash Classic to move back inside the top 70 in the World Rankings.
She also reached the last 32 of the PSA Women’s World Championship, having qualified for the event in front of the Pyramids thanks to her win at the North Coast event.
Her only entry so far in 2020 is for the HCL SRFI Indian Tour – Jaipur Leg, as she aims to break into the top 50 for the first time next season.
Mostafa Asal (right) takes on Zahed Salem (left) in the 2019-20 PSA Men's World Championship
Unsurprisingly, the first man on our list is Egypt’s Mostafa Asal, who is into the top 20 in the World Rankings for the first time in his career, despite having only been born in 2001.
Despite having only turned professional less than 24 months ago, Asal has surged up the rankings, flying up from outside the top 500 to inside the top 20 in that space of time, thanks to some solid performances in the major tournaments.
The young Egyptian won the CAS International Squash Championship in Pakistan at the start of the year, and also reached the semi-finals of the Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open. In the majors, he reached the last 16 at the Egyptian Open, Oracle NetSuite Open and the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open to start the 2019-2020 campaign off.
Asal is preparing to feature in the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York at the start of 2020, as he aims to reach a quarter-final in a major tournament for the first time in his career.
Eain Yow Ng
Eain Yow Ng (left) takes on Joshua Masters (right) during the 2018 Hong Kong Open
Another man to currently sit at his highest ever placing in the World Rankings is Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng, who now sits at World No.31 following a solid year on the PSA World Tour.
The 21-year-old won the Malaysian Open, his home tournament, in 2019, whilst also reaching the quarter finals of the Macau Open. At the majors, he started to make some breakthroughs, including reaching the last 16 at both the Egyptian Open and the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill late in the year.
The Malaysian has a busy schedule planned to start the new calendar year, with entries into the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Motor City Open, Troilus Gold Canada Cup, Walter Family Windy City Open and the Canary Wharf Squash Classic.
Youssef Ibrahim in action
Into the top 50 for the first time in his short career is Youssef Ibrahim, who now currently stands at World No.42, his best ever position in the PSA World Rankings.
The Egyptian, who is currently studying at Princeton University in the United States, had risen from outside the top 125 in the past 12 months, thanks to winning two events, both of which were World Championship qualifiers.
Ibrahim took the title at the E.M. Noll Classic to qualify for the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family in Chicago, where he made the second round. He then qualified for the PSA Men’s World Championship 2019-2020 after winning the Growthpoint S.A. Open in the summer, and he went on to achieve a second round result in Qatar in November.
The Egyptian will return to the E.M. Noll Classic to defend the title he won earlier this year, as his only entry into a tournament on the PSA World Tour at the start of 2020.
For the first time in his career, France’s Victor Crouin is into the top 50 in the World Rankings, now sitting at his highest ever position of World No.46, following a solid 2019 year.
The Frenchman, who is only 20-years-old, has risen steadily up the rankings from outside the top 100 in the world at the start of 2018. He has been one of the most successful players this year, racking up five titles.
Crouin won the Mulgrave County Club Victorian Open Championships, Australian Open and Tasmanian Open in the space of three weeks over the summer. He then also tasted success at the CenterState Bank Marietta Open and the Dominicana Squash Open in his most recent event.
The Frenchman has not entered a tournament in 2020, as he will be continuing his studies at Harvard University, where he features for the men’s 1st team.
Leonel Cardenas (left) with Emyr Evans (right) after winning the Kelowna Open
The final member of our Ones to Watch list for 2020 is Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas, who now sits at his highest ever ranking of World No.68 after a solid year.
As recently as February of this year, Cardenas was outside the top 100 in the World Rankings, but has since risen to sit inside the top 70 following five victories and two runners-up finishes.
The Linear Logistics Banker Hall Club Pro Am, Rochester Pro Am, Tour de las Americas – Resistencia Open, APM Kelowna Open and Securian Open were all won by the Mexican, who has made the last eight in all bar two tournaments he has entered over the past two years.
His only entry for the 2020 calendar year comes at the Pittsburgh Open, as he aims to continue his good form into the new year.