The December WISPA rankings were bound to feature some big changes with the World Open and Hong Kong Open taking place in November, and sure enough there were career highs aplenty throughout the top 100, and the highest of those was at number three as Laura Massaro, the WISPA Player of the Year, moved into the world’s top three for the first time.
Massaro started the year ranked at number 10 but after success in Cleveland and the British Nationals in the first half of the year, followed by her first World Series win in the prestigious US Open, she has asserted herself as a major threat to Nicol David’s reign on the women’s game.
The top two remain unchanged. Jenny Duncalf reached her first World Open final to consolidate her number two position, showing great form before being outclassed by Nicol David who collected a record sixth world title.
David had a few surprise losses this year – two at the racket of Massaro -but still amassed seven titles, and has now been at the top of the rankings for 85 consecutive months.
Kasey Brown makes her debut in the top five, becoming the Australian no.1 for the first time as she leaps above Rachael Grinham. Grinham’s drop to no.6 ends her stay in the top 5, a place she has impressively held since February 2003!
Raneem El Weleily moves back up to a career high equalling no.7 after reaching her first World Series final in Hong Kong, and Natalie Grinham moves up one place to no.9, her highest ranking since August 2010, after reaching the World Open semi final in front of her home crowd in Rotterdam.
Outside the top ten, Low Wee Wern records her highest ranking at no.11.
The Malaysian wasn’t having the best year as she saw her ranking drop to 21 in October, but winning the China Open, her biggest title to date, seemed to change her fortune and she reached the Qatar Classic and World Open quarter finals as well as the Hong Kong Open semi final, with victories over four top ten players along the way.
Two players who achieved a best-ever world open result for anyone from their respective countries are rewarded: Mexico’s Samantha Teran has moved up to no.13 on the back of her semi-final appearance in Rotterdam, and the star of Dipika Pallikal, the first ever Indian to reach the World Open quarter final, continues to shine as she moves up to a career high no.17.
Joey Chan had a November to remember, capturing her biggest title and first of the year at the Macau Open, then just days later reaching the Hong Kong Open quarter final, upsetting Kasey Brown before losing a thriller to El Weleily. She makes her top 20 debut at no.20.
Full report and full rankings: www.squashsite.co.uk/2009/wisparankingsdec2011.htm