By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
England’s Georgina Kennedy has reached the top 10 of the PSA women’s world rankings after she got the better of compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry in last night’s Cleveland Classic final.
London-born Kennedy, who was ranked at No.167 this time last year, has had a meteoric rise up the rankings over the past 12 months and her win over World No.5 Perry saw her lift the ninth PSA title of her career.
The 24-year-old has risen seven places to a career-high ranking of No.10 and it’s the first time since Laura Massaro retired in May, 2019 that there have been two English players inside the top 10 at the same time.
Following 50 out of 55 wins, 11 finals, and nine titles in the last 12 months, the 24-year old broke into the top 10 long before she ever imagined. With the world coming to a standstill and squash tournaments put on hold in 2020, Gina certainly made the most out of a challenging year.
Kennedy told England Squash: “I think COVID surprisingly ended up helping me quite a lot. My ranking was lower than it should have been, and with no tournaments running, it helped me to get in more training.
“I had a lot of time with my coach Ben Ford, where we worked on technical adjustments. Having that year just to train and not think about competing was really beneficial to me. It raised my level to top 50 before I started on the PSA World Tour.”
The rankings are once again topped by Nour El Sherbini, who extends her reign as World No.1 to a 16th successive month. The Egyptian is followed by Nouran Gohar (No.2), Hania El Hammamy (No.3), Amanda Sobhy (No.4) and Perry (No.5).
The rest of the top 10 is made up of Joelle King (No.6), Salma Hany (No.7), Camille Serme (No.8) and Rowan Elaraby (No.9).
USA’s Olivia Fiechter stays at No.11 and she is followed by fellow American Olivia Clyne at No.12. Meanwhile, Belgium’s Nele Gilis rises a place to No.13, swapping places with Wales’ Tesni Evans.
India’s Joshna Chinappa falls five spots to No.15, while Nadine Shahin (No.16) and Hollie Naughton (No.17) also drop due to Kennedy’s rise. Emily Whitlock stays at No.18, while both Melissa Alves and Danielle Letourneau move up to No.19 and No.20, respectively.
It’s a career-high ranking for Alves and comes after Nour El Tayeb fell from No.19 to No.81 due to her points for the 2020 Manchester Open and CIB Egyptian Open expiring. El Tayeb gave birth to a baby girl in July of this year and ended a 14-month spell on the sidelines in December, 2021 as she reached the quarter finals of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball.
USA’s Caroline Fouts is the biggest riser on the women’s tour, moving up 114 places to No.238. The 16-year-old appeared at the Cleveland Classic last month where she fell to Sobhy’s younger sister, Sabrina, in the last 24.
PSA Women’s World Rankings Top 20, February 2022.
Picture and graphic courtesy of PSA