WISPA Rankings
December 2005                    PSA Rankings

Vanessa Atkinson Becomes World No.1 as World Open underway 

After 11 months in second place behind Australia's Rachael Grinham, Dutch star Vanessa Atkinson has finally overtaken her long-time rival to become world number one for the first time in her career in the new December Women's World Squash Rankings, announced today (30th November) by the Women's International Squash Players' Association (WISPA). 

Whilst the 29-year-old from The Hague becomes the eleventh woman to head the world list since the inaugural WISPA rankings in 1983, Atkinson is the first ever world number one from the Netherlands.

Atkinson, born in England and raised in the Netherlands, has enjoyed a sensational two years on the WISPA World Tour since winning the Kuala Lumpur Open in February last year.  The eight-times Dutch national champion went on to pick up eight Tour titles in 2004 - being successful in all the finals she reached and rounding off the year by clinching the World Open title in Malaysia.

In addition to adding the European Individual title to her collection this year, Atkinson has also made it through to six further WISPA finals - claiming four more trophies, including last week in Doha the richest of them all, the Qatar Classic.

If Atkinson retains her World Open crown in Hong Kong this week, she will join squash greats Susan Devoy, Michelle Martin and Sarah Fitz-Gerald as the only players who have successfully defended the sport's most prized title.

Rachael Grinham slips to No.2 in the new list, while Malaysia's Nicol David remains at three, and Rachael's younger sister Natalie Grinham stays at four.

A notable breakthrough in women's squash is achieved by Vicky Botwright, who rises to a career-high No.5 to become England's highest-ranked player for the first time.  The 28-year-old from Manchester, who only netted her first WISPA title last year, has reached four Tour finals in 2005 - most notably upsetting the first and third seeds in last week's Qatar Classic to celebrate her maiden appearance in a WISPA Grand prix final.

Two further English players boast best-ever rankings in December: Londoner Alison Waters - a quarter-finalist in the British Open as a qualifier, and a surprise semi-finalist in this month's Monte Carlo classic in Monaco - rises to No.12, while Lancashire's Laura-Jane Lengthorn, also a qualifier who reached the lst eight of the British Open, leaps two places to 16.

With three WISPA Tour titles to her name since August, including the Atlanta Masters in the USA this month, Egypt's Engy Kheirallah makes her top twenty debut at 20.

FULL WISPA RANKINGS

Rank Prev Player Pts Ctry
1 [2] Vanessa Atkinson 2409 Ned
2 [1] Rachael Grinham 1817 Aus
3 [3] Nicol David 1747 Mas
4 [4] Natalie Grinham 1356 Aus
5 [7] Vicki Botwright 1042 Eng
6 [6] Linda Elriani 894 Eng
7 [5] Natalie Grainger 872 USA
8 [9] Jenny Duncalf 664 Eng
9 [8] Tania Bailey 646 Eng
10 [10] Omneya Abdel Kawy 604 Egy
11 [11] Madeline Perry 590 Irl
12 [13] Alison Waters 504 Eng
13 [12] Shelley Kitchen 477 Nzl
14 [14] Annelize Naude 472 Ned
15 [15] Isabelle Stoehr 459 Fra
16 [18] Laura-Jane Lengthorn 408 Eng
17 [17] Rebecca Chiu 396 HK
18 [16] Fiona Geaves  392 Eng
19 [19] Pamela Nimmo 355 Sco
20 [24] Engy Kheirallah 303 Egy

FULL WISPA RANKINGS


Vanessa Atkinson World Number 1
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