December 2005 PSA Rankings
Vanessa Atkinson Becomes World No.1 as
World Open underway
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.