England boasts the top two squash players in the world for the first time since 2004 with the rise of James Willstrop to second place in the December Dunlop PSA Men’s World Squash Rankings, published today,
Willstrop enjoyed the best month of his career in November with stunning PSA World Series title triumphs in both the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open and Kuwait PSA Cup – the latter last week giving the 28-year-old from Leeds the biggest win of his career.
In his second successive final clash with Karim Darwish, Willstrop dropped his first game in ten matches in Kuwait before overcoming the Egyptian in four games to secure his fifth World Series crown since March 2008.
Fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew completes his first full year as No1 in the new list. The 31-year-old from Sheffield became the first player for 15 years to successfully defend the World Open title in Rotterdam last month – and later reached the quarter-finals in Kuwait, but was then forced to withdraw from the event with an adductor injury.
In the first PSA world rankings since December 2005 NOT to feature an Egyptian in the top three, France’s Gregory Gaultier leaps two places to No3 after reaching the World Open final and securing semi-final berths both in Hong Kong and Kuwait.
Egypt, however, takes the next three places in the rankings – led by Ramy Ashour at 4; Karim Darwish at 5, and Amr Shabana in sixth place.
But 20-year-old Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy is in eighth place after title success in November’s Macau Open followed by his first ever World Series semi-final appearance in Kuwait.
Malaysian Azlan Iskandar is rewarded for reaching the Hong Kong Open semi-finals unseeded by rising to a career-equalling-high No10 ranking.
Back-to-back title successes last month in the USA in both the Dayton Open and Pittsburgh Open have taken Alister Walker to No17 – his best ranking for well over a year and the highest ever by a player from Botswana.
December 2011 top 20:
|8||||Mohamed El Shorbagy||EGY||642|
|12||||Laurens Jan Anjema||NED||442|