Mohamed Abouelghar back in world top 10
By ALAN THATCHER and SEAN REUTHE
Rising England star Declan James has climbed into the top 20 of the PSA men’s world rankings for the first time in his career.
The 25-year-old from Nottingham has made this important breakthrough after beating compatriot James Willstrop in the final of the Nantes International last month.
It is a solid reward for the hard work and progress James has made over the past 12 months or so. At the end of last season, he was ranked 35 in the world, and many experts wondered if his build (he is 6ft 5in tall) might hold him back.
However, his selection to represent England at the Commonwealth Games, where he partnered Willstrop in the doubles, was a massive confidence boost.
With Nick Matthew retiring, and Willstrop and Daryl Selby enjoying the twilight years of their careers, the England number one spot has his name on it if he continues to advance.
He has improved his movement, his speed around the court, his reflexes and shot selection to a degree where he is on the verge of knocking on the door of the elite group at the very top of the game.
He is a dedicated professional who is intent on learning from all those above and around him, and this season can only offer greater rewards if he continues his upward curve in all of the above areas, and adds the results to match.
Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar has returned to the top 10 for the first time since May courtesy of his title win at the J.P. Morgan China Open last month.
Abouelghar, who celebrates his 25th birthday today, defeated New Zealand’s Paul Coll in Shanghai to capture the biggest PSA Tour title of his career and he moves up four spots to World No.9 as a result.
Abouelghar’s compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy stays at World No.1 for an eighth successive month ahead of Ali Farag (No.2), Marwan ElShorbagy (No.3), Tarek Momen (No.4) and Germany’s Simon Rösner, who completes the top five.
Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez and France’s Gregory Gaultier stay at No.6 and No.7, respectively, while Coll moves up to two places to No.8 to sit one spot ahead of Abouelghar.
2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad drops two places to round off the top 10, meaning the Egyptian is now at his lowest ranking since November 2015.
A semi-final finish in China is enough to see India’s Saurav Ghosal rise to a career-high No.11 ranking, while 2015 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad rises two spots to No.12, which is his highest ranking since February 2017.
Peru’s Diego Elias falls two places to No.13, with Hong Kong’s Max Lee moving up five places to No.14 after last month’s HKFC International win. Meanwhile, three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour drops six places to No.15.
Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly (No.16), Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller (No.17) and England’s James Willstrop take the next three spots, while Germany’s Raphael Kandra (and Declan James) move into the top 20 for the first time at the expense of Englishman Daryl Selby and Australian Cameron Pilley.
James’s title win at the Open International de Squash de Nantes has ensured that he has become the second highest ranked English male, with Kandra rising three places after reaching the quarter-finals in China.
PSA Men’s World Rankings Top 20 (October 2018)
Pictures and graphic courtesy of PSA