Malaysian star Nicol David marks 102 months in a row on top of the WSA world rankings
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Less than two weeks after becoming world champion for a record eighth time, Malaysia’s Nicol David celebrates the ninth anniversary of first becoming world number one by topping the January 2015 Women’s World Squash Rankings published by the Women’s Squash Association.
It was in January 2006 that David, aged 22, first headed the WSA list. After slipping to No.2 in April, the 31-year-old from Penang reclaimed pole position in August 2006 – since when she has reigned supreme for a record unbroken 102 months!
At the Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship last month in Egypt, David saved four match balls in the final of the 30th staging of the premier WSA championship to reclaim the trophy and extend her record to eight titles.
Her opponent was home favourite Raneem El Welily (right), the No.3 seed from the Wadi Degla club in Cairo who reached the final against expectations. The Alexandria-born 26-year-old is rewarded by moving up to No.2 in the January rankings, returning to second place for the first time since March 2013.
“The world open week was a crazy week – one that I will certainly never forget,” said El Welily on hearing the news of her new 2015 ranking. “It was the first time for me to have this much support around me. A week that I certainly enjoyed and learned so much from. So much about myself as well.
“I’m thankful that I made it this far at the tournament of course. Losing this way in the final stings – but I’m just thankful, always thankful. I’m happy it puts me back at number two and I’m hoping this won’t be my best stop!
“I am looking forward to a new year, to the next tournaments that will most certainly be challenging as always if not ever. But definitely excited for 2015!”
England’s Laura Massaro slips to three in the new list, with Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini at No.4, and Londoner Alison Waters – who denied Massaro, the defending champion, a third successive appearance in the final after a shock quarter-final upset in Cairo – in fifth place.
Rising Egyptian Nouran Gohar celebrates a career-high No.17 ranking. The 17-year-old from Cairo – the youngest player in the world top 20 – toppled fourth seed El Sherbini in the opening round of the World Championship in her home city, just a month after winning the WSA Silver 25 Monte Carlo Classic from the position of eighth seed!
There are further Egyptian highlights lower in the new ranking list – led by 15-year-old Habiba Mohamed who becomes the youngest player in the top 30 after leaping from 66 in January 2014 to a career-best No.23. Nadine Shahin, a 17-year-old from Cairo, rises to a career-high No.40, while Alexandrian Nouran El Torky moves up to a best-ever No.41.
January 2015 top 20 (inc. points average):
1  Nicol David MAS 3,681
2  Raneem El Welily EGY 2,139
3  Laura Massaro ENG 2,137
4  Nour El Sherbini EGY 1,403
5  Alison Waters ENG 1,336
6  Camille Serme FRA 1,166
7  Low Wee Wern MAS 1,132
8  Nour El Tayeb EGY 1,098
9  Omneya Abdel Kawy EGY 923
10  Annie Au HKG 778
11  Amanda Sobhy USA 774
12  Joelle King NZL 712
13  Rachael Grinham AUS 649
14  Dipika Pallikal IND 622
15  Madeline Perry IRL 614
16  Sarah-Jane Perry ENG 588
17  Nouran Gohar EGY 559
18  Emma Beddoes ENG 550
19  Jenny Duncalf ENG 549
20  Sarah Kippax ENG 520
For the complete WSA ranking list, see www.wsaworldtour.com