While Egypt’s Ramy Ashour stretches his lead at the top of the Dunlop PSA Men’s World Squash Rankings, it is India’s Saurav Ghosal and South African Stephen Coppinger who produce the most notable breakthroughs in the new February list.
Ashour – who, after a two-year gap, reclaimed the world number one ranking in January – extended his unbeaten run since May last year by winning last month’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, the first PSA World Series event of the year, in New York.
The triumph, which brought Ashour’s winning Tour streak to 26 matches, strengthens the 25-year-old from Cairo’s grip on the top world ranking – almost 500 points ahead of second-placed Nick Matthew, the Englishman who bowed out in the semi-finals in New York.
England’s James Willstrop and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier hold onto third and fourth places, respectively, whilst Egyptians Karim Darwish and Amr Shabana move up – Shabana, winner of last week’s Motor City Open in Detroit, to eighth place, and runner-up Darwish to fifth place.
And fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen also has cause for celebration – the 24-year-old from Cairo rising to a career-high No11.
But solid recent performances from Ghosal and Coppinger have seen the pair appear in the top 20 for the first time.
Saurav Ghosal, already the highest-ranked Indian of all-time, now becomes his country’s first top 20 male player. The UK-based 26-year-old from Kolkata followed an eighth success in the Indian National Championships in December by making the last 16 of the PSA World Championship in Qatar – again becoming the first Indian to achieve this. His reward is a four-place leap to No18.
“Making the top 20 is something that I’ve been working towards for a pretty long time,” said Ghosal on hearing the news. “I’m glad I’ve done it and hopefully I can play better and get even higher!
“Malcolm Willstrop has made me the professional player I am and I wouldn’t be here if not for him,” added Ghosal, who trains at Pontefract in Yorkshire with Willstrop’s son James, the world No3. “I would also like to thank Ritwik Bhattacharya for his help over the last two years, and my physical trainer Kevin Garlick who’s definitely made me stronger!
“This is also a great milestone for Indian squash and should spur us on to greater things!”
Becoming the first South African to make the men’s world top 20 since the late 70s, Stephen Coppinger jumps three positions to No20.
The 28-year-old, who currently divides his time between Cape Town and Orlando in the USA, made a stunning start to the New Year by reaching the quarter-finals of both the Tournament of Champions and Motor City Open, unseeded – in the former upsetting higher-ranked Englishmen Peter Barker and Adrian Grant to make the last eight of a PSA World Series event for the first time.
“It is obviously fantastic for me to get into the top 20 and a sure sign that the hard work is paying off with good results over the last few months,” explained the five-time South African national champion. “I am based in Orlando now for a lot of the season, working with David Palmer, and it has been great to be able to work with him and draw on his wealth of experience in the game.
“Rodney Durbach has also been a huge influence over the last five years and continues to help me a lot too. Hopefully with their help, and others around them, I will be able to keep climbing the ladder bit by bit.”
February 2013 top 20
|6||||Mohamed El Shorbagy||EGY||637|
|15||||Laurens Jan Anjema||NED||330|