Egypt Talent Factory: Nour El Sherbini, Rowan El Araby, Youssef Ibrahim
World Ranking: #2
Last Season Achievments:
Tournament of Champions, World Champs Chicago,
Played: 39 – Won: 30 – Lost: 9 – Win Percentage: 76.9%
Nour El Sherbini’s 2018-2019 season did not live up to her 2017-2018 campaign, but the ‘Warrior Princess’ still won the biggest title on the calendar.
She made the final of the U.S. Open, but was beaten to the title by Raneem El Welily, then went on to the first event of the year 2019, the Tournament of Champions. She avenged her defeat to Welily, by beating her 3-0 to claim the title in New York.
Sherbini then became the youngest player to ever win three World Championship crowns, when she won the biggest event of them all in Chicago in March after beating Nour El Tayeb 3-1 in the final.
However, she wasn’t quite able to keep that winning run going, as she lost out in the final of her next two events to Welily, in epic five game battles at both the Black Ball Open and DPD Open.
Sherbini could then only manage a last eight finish in both the El Gouna International and British Open, as she struggled to find form towards the end of the campaign.
Being crowned PSA Young Player of the Season for the 2018-2019 season has rounded out an impressive campaign for Youssef Ibrahim, which included winning six titles, and a rise from World No.210 to just outside the top 50 in the rankings.
He is one of several young Egyptians who are starting to make their mark on the PSA World Tour, along with Mostafa Asal, Mazen Hesham, Youssef Soliman and many more.
Ibrahim admitted that being named YPOTS at the PSA Awards in Cairo, held ahead of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, was “very special”.
“‘Oh my god!’ was the first thing that came to mind. It felt extra special and I couldn’t be any happier,” Ibrahim said.
“It is always good to see the hard work paying off, but it feels very special to see it being appreciated and respected by the PSA, fellow players and squash fans of course.”
The 20-year-old took his first win on the PSA World Tour in 2017, when he succeeded at the Open D’Italia, beating Frenchman Baptiste Masotti. He fell in love with the city, and the food, on his way to winning.
“It felt very special, I was going into that tournament not knowing what to expect and I was just trying to enjoy myself and my squash on court,” he admitted.
“I loved the city Riccione, so I guess it was something that drove me to play my best squash at that time to win to stay a few more days in the city and eat my favourite food, which is pizza!”
The last twelve months has seen Ibrahim take home another six titles, including a run of winning four consecutive events he entered.
The Egyptian won the Sportwerk Open, CIB Wade Degla Squash Tournament, Swiss Open and Romanian Open in an eight week period in the second half of 2018.
He then won his final tournament of 2018, the CNS International Squash Championship in Karachi, Pakistan. Another victory came at the E.M. Noll Classic in February 2019.
That came a week ahead of the World Champs, where Ibrahim made the last 32 for the first time in his career, and he believes he is playing better than ever before.
“I would say I was playing my best Squash so far, but I was surprised and really proud of myself to have had something that I’ve always lacked and missed throughout my entire life which is consistency, and that was the most important thing during the season,” Ibrahim explained.
After a fantastic year, the 20-year-old has risen from 210th in the world, to currently sitting at World No.62. He peaked at World No.56 in May, but he has much bigger ambitions, even though he will be studying for the next three years in the United States, in Princeton.
World Ranking: No.28
Pakistan International Squash Tournament Women’s
Win Percentage: 47.6%
Egyptian rising star Rowan Elaraby has showed signs that she could rocket up the Women’s World Rankings in 2019 as her stock continues to rise.
Elaraby claimed her second successive World Junior title in July of this year to become the fourth Egyptian to win back-to-back women’s titles after Raneem El Welily in 2007, Nour El Sherbini in 2013 and Nouran Gohar in 2016.
The 18-year-old Egyptian has also enjoyed title success on the PSA Tour this year, claiming the Pakistan International Squash Tournament title when she defeated compatriot Nada Abbas.
These results accumulated in the young player climbing to a career-high of World No.23 in April’s Women’s World Rankings, and she finished the season as World No.28, with things sure to get better for the teenager in the coming seasons.