PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 outbreak had delayed the inevitable but S. Sivasanagari was delighted to achieve her long-time goal of breaking into the top 20 in the Professional Squash Federation’s (PSA) May rankings.
Sivasangari’s run to the final of the Carol Weymuller Open last week, where she lost to Rowan Elaraby of Egypt, did enough to propel her to the world No. 20 position after occupying the 22nd spot last month.
Currently competing in the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in New York, Sivasangari was delighted with the milestone.
“I feel really happy to finally achieve the top 20 breakthrough. This has been one of my goals for the past two to three years, but things got a little different with Covid-19,” said Sivasangari.
“This is definitely something I’ve been working really hard for, and I’m happy that one of my goals has been achieved.
“But this is not the end. I still have a lot more milestones to accomplish – so I’m glad this is a positive step forward for me.”
Her joy is understandable as her steady progress in the world rankings has almost been at a snail’s pace since 2020 due to Covid-19 where a lack of tournaments only saw the Kedahan improve by just 15 spots from No. 37 (in 2020) to No. 22 until last month.
Uplifted by her rise in the world rankings, Sivasangari got off to a blistering start when she navigated a tricky match against Enora Villard of France to win 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 and reach the last 16 of the Tournament of Champions on Monday.
“It’s my first time playing on the glass court at Grand Central, so I needed to find my corners well on the court. I’m glad I managed to do it,” added Sivasangari.
There was also some good news for Aifa Azman who saw her ranking improve by two spots from No. 29 to No. 27 after her strong performance in the Manchester Open last month where she reached the quarter-finals.
However, Rachel Arnold’s ranking dropped from No. 31 to No. 35 as she missed the Manchester Open due to Covid-19 and was unable to justify her fourth seeding in the Irish Open in Dublin last month after losing in the last eight.
In the men’s ranking, early exits in several tournaments from the beginning of the year saw Ng Eain Yow drop out of the top 20.
Eain Yow, who was ranked No. 20, has slipped down two rungs to No. 22 and will need to produce better results in the World Open in Cairo from May 13-22 to push for his top-20 return.
Ivan Yuen’s ranking at No. 50 remained unchanged while Mohd Syafiq Kamal’s position dropped from No. 74 to No. 77 and Addeen Idrakie remained at No. 81.