Rachel fancies chances of breaking into world’s top 30 by year end

Climbing up the ranks: Rachel Arnold (right) moved up to world No. 31 after a splendid performance at the Egyptian Open in Cairo last week where she reached the last 16.

PETALING JAYA: Rachel Arnold’s aim of breaking into the top 30 by the end of the year looks achievable as she has improved her world ranking to No. 31 this week.

The Malaysian, who was previously ranked No. 34, moved up by three rungs after a splendid performance at the Egyptian Open in Cairo last week where she reached the last 16.

Rachel achieved her career-best win by beating World No. 7 Rowan Elarabi of Egypt in Cairo and she will be looking forward to achieving more success as the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour moves to the United States.

The first stop will be the Oracle Netsuite Open in San Francisco which begins tomorrow and concludes on Oct 4.

Rachel, on a high after winning a women’s doubles bronze medal with Aifa Azman at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games last month, will begin her campaign against Cristina Gomez of Spain before an expected second-round clash against fourth seed Hollie Naughton of Canada.

This tournament will be followed by the platinum level event, the US Open in Philadelphia from Oct 8-15 where Rachel will be joined by Aifa.

Aifa, returning from a right thumb injury, will be playing Julianne Courtice of England while Rachel will face another England player Grace Gear in the first round.

Should Rachel get past Gear, she is expected to set up another mouth-watering clash against Elarabi in the second round in Philadelphia.

Aifa needs a strong performance if she intends to improve her No. 24 ranking which has stagnated for some time.

S. Sivasangari’s ranking at No. 16 has remained unchanged although the Malaysian has not competed in any tournaments since the National Championships in June due to a road accident.

Ng Eain Yow, the highest-ranked Malaysian in the men’s section, saw his position slip by four places from No. 22 to No. 26 and he too will be looking at the US Open for redemption.

His first-round opponent will be Alan Clyne of Scotland and a win will pit him against world No. 1 Ali Farag of Egypt.

Eain Yow will then fly to Zurich to compete in the Grasshopper Cup (Oct 18-23) where he opens his campaign against Iker Pajares Bernabeu of Spain.

Victory will set him up for a rematch of the Commonwealth Games quarter-final clash against Joel Makin of Wales, the world No. 7, in the second round.

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