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Squash - 09. January 2008.

Nicol David In Third Year As World Number One

The 24-year-old Malaysian first topped the list in January 2006 - and now moves into her 18th successive month as No1. David enjoyed the best year of her career in 2007, winning eight WISPA World Tour titles from ten final appearances, despite the World Open eluding her grasp.

Recognised within the sport as the WISPA Player of the Year last month for the third year in a row, Nicol David achieved perhaps her most notable accolade at the end of 2007 when voted Asian Sportswoman of the Year in the inaugural awards launched by the Asian Sports Press Union.

Australia's Grinham sisters are behind David - Netherlands-based Natalie Grinham at two, and the 2007 British Open and World Open champion Rachael Grinham, based in Cairo, in third place.

Natalie Grinham finished the year on a high - avenging her defeat by Rachael in October's Madrid World Open final to beat her older sibling in the climax of the Monte Carlo Classic in Monaco in December.

It was the 29-year-old Queenslander's first WISPA Tour title success since capturing the $50,000 Seoul Open crown in South Korea in April: “After winning in Seoul, I hurt my foot, and then later on my wrist," said Grinham junior after her Classic triumph. "I am still having treatment for that and getting a little pain. But though I am not quite 100%, I am well on the way."

Natalie Grainger holds onto fourth position in the New Year list as she celebrates the beginning of her tenth year in the world top ten. The 30-year-old made her top ten debut in January 1999 as a South African, converting to English allegiance later in the year. But this year, Washington DC-based Grainger cemented her status as a US citizen by winning the US National title, the Pan American Games gold medal, as well as five WISPA World Tour titles on her new 'home' soil.

English players occupy the next three positions - with Lincolnshire's Tania Bailey at No5; Manchester's Vicky Botwright at No6; and Yorkshire's Jenny Duncalf at No7. Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy rises one place to No8. There is English movement just outside the top ten where Laura Lengthorn-Massaro overtakes fellow countrywoman Alison Waters to move into 11th place.

Holding her place at No16 in the new list is Engy Kheirallah, the 26-year-old Egyptian who celebrated her marriage to compatriot Karim Darwish, the world No8, last month.

Dutch interest in the world top 20 is doubled by the return of Annelize Naude. The 31-year-old from Amsterdam rises two places to 19.

1 [1] Nicol David MAS

2 [2] Natalie Grinham AUS

3 [3] Rachael Grinham AUS

4 [4] Natalie Grainger USA

5 [5] Tania Bailey ENG

6 [6] Vicky Botwright ENG

7 [7] Jenny Duncalf ENG

8 [9] Omneya Abdel Kawy EGY

9 [8] Vanessa Atkinson NED

10 [10] Shelley Kitchen NZL

11 [12] Laura Lengthorn-Massaro ENG

12 [11] Alison Waters ENG

13 [13] Madeline Perry IRL

14 [14] Rebecca Chiu HKG

15 [15] Kasey Brown AUS

16 [16] Engy Kheirallah EGY

17 [17] Isabelle Stoehr FRA

18 [18] Jaclyn Hawkes NZL

19 [21] Annelize Naude NED

20 [19] Dominique Lloyd-Walter ENG

For the complete WISPA ranking list, see www.wispa.net

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