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Spain's Iker Pajares Bernabeu in action at the 2019 U.S. Open

2019/20 RoundUp: Breakthrough Stars - Part One

Along with the stars at the top of the World Rankings, and those that have been winning the major titles, there have been some breakout stars over the course of the 2019/20 season, and we have picked out eight of the best.

In this first part, we take a look at two men and two women who have ascended the rankings, and have started to produce some big performances during the 2019/20 season.

Iker Pajares Bernabeu

Spain's Iker Pajares Bernabeu in action at the 2019 U.S. Open

Becoming the top-ranked Spaniard in the sport, breaking into the top 30 in the world, and reaching the last 16 of a Platinum tournament for the first time. It has definitely been a great season for Iker Pajares Bernabeu.

Having won the Migdal Insurance PSA 11k TelAviv in his final event of last season, he came into the campaign in good form, and began with a victory over the higher-ranked Greg Lobban at the China Open in Shanghai.

After a couple of appearances in the last 32 of Platinum tournaments, Pajares represented his country at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships in the United States. He held an incredible record of four wins from four matches before Spain were knocked out at the quarter-final stage, eventually finishing in 8th place, their best ever finishing position in the event.

That great form continued into 2020, as he reached the last 16 of a Platinum tournament for the first time in his career. The Spaniard did so at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family, and after beating Alan Clyne and Arturo Salazar on the traditional plaster courts, he got his chance on the glass in the stunning Cathedral Hall at the University Club of Chicago.

Pajares took the fight to current World Champion Tarek Momen and although he lost the first two games, a comeback looked on the cards as he took the third 11-9. The Egyptian recovered to win the match 3-1, but the now-World No.28 showed he can do battle with the big boys.

Lucy Turmel

Lucy Turmel against Rowan Elaraby at the Windy City Open

The first female player on our list is England’s Lucy Turmel, who has made the climb inside the top 40 in the World Rankings for the first time in her career, and the 20-year-old now sits at World No.37.

The Englishwoman had some good results on the Challenger Tour throughout the season, including a semi-final appearance at the Savcor Finnish Open and a runners-up spot at the Mumbai Leg of the HCL SRFI Indian Tour.

Her biggest result came at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family, as she made it through to the last 16 of a PSA Platinum tournament for the first time. She overcame former World No.1 and World Champion Rachael Grinham in the first round, before beating No.13 seed Victoria Lust in the second round.

Mohamed ElSherbini

Egyptian Mohamed ElSherbini is a late starter compared to some, having made his major breakout this year, at the age of 27. He has gone from outside the top 50 in the World Rankings to currently sitting at World No.36.

He started his season off well with a semi-final appearance at the HKFC PSA International Squash Open before then making it into the last 32 of the World Championships for the first time, overcoming Karim Ali Fathi in the first round.

The Egyptian’s best performance of the season came as an unseeded player at the Motor City Open, a PSA Silver event held in Detroit. He beat three seeded players, including past winners Gregoire Marche and Miguel Rodriguez, en route to the final, where he lost out to top seed Diego Elias.

Jasmine Hutton

Jasmine Hutton in action against Emily Whitlock at the Black Ball Open

The second Englishwoman to make our list of the breakthrough stars of the 2019/20 season is Jasmine Hutton, who has risen ten places in the World Rankings to her current position of World No.46.

Hutton finished runner-up in two Challenger Tour events over the course of the campaign, doing so at the Nash Cup and the London Open, along with a quarter-final appearance at the Monte Carlo Classic.

Her best result came at the British Nationals where she also finished runner-up, losing to Sarah-Jane Perry in the final, as she achieved her best ever finish in the tournament.

The Englishwoman also finished the season with a strong showing at the CIB Black Ball Squash Open where she narrowly missed out to higher-ranked Emily Whitlock in a close first round encounter.

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