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Joelle King Makes Women's Squash World Champs Quarters

New Zealand squash pro Joelle King kept up her perfect record against seventh seed Sarah-Jane Perry as she ousted the England No.2 in a thrilling four-game encounter to reach the last eight of the women’s Sqaush World Championships in Manchester for the first time since the 2013 instalment.

The New Zealander ended Perry’s hopes of reaching consecutive World Championship quarter-finals, coming through 11-1, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 in 54 minutes.

Ninth seed King burst out of the blocks from the start and clinched the first game within a startling eight minutes, dictating play and looking like the more aggressive of the two with her attacking style.

It was a story of forced errors for Perry, who gifted several easy points to the New Zealand No.1 on several occasions.

But 27-year-old Perry appeared more settled in the second, establishing a five-point lead.

The Englishwoman brought the game to her 29-year-old opponent, reflected in a fizzing kill at 7-3 before executing the softest of drop shots at 10-5 en route to closing out the game 11-6, matching the pair’s previous eight-minute encounter in game one.

And the momentum stayed with this year’s Oracle NetSuite Open winner in a highly entertaining third, racing into a 6-1 lead as she retrieved King’s shots with greater agility – a telling sign of her growing confidence.

But King, who had won all four previous battles in this tie would not let up and fought back, adding enough topspin on a perfect slice to pip in front at 8-6. Both players then went on the attack, pushing each other all the way in a crucial moment of the game.

Perry, buoyed by winning a let decision at 9-9, produced a pin perfect drop at 10-9, but King again fought back to level again in a tense 11-11. A breath-taking rally ensued as Perry levelled at 12-12 stumbling on her way to retrieve a direct rebound from King.

It seemed to have fatigued the 2016 World Championship quarter-finalist, who could not muster enough strength to return King’s serve, with the Kiwi capping off a 22-minute duel at 14-12.

And with the fourth perfectly poised at 6-6, King pulled away to wrap up the win, moving into the last eight where she will do battle with France’s Camille Serme.

“I think we’re the two tallest female players on the Tour, so it’s always tough trying to get the ball past each other,” said King.

“We’re also good friends off court, so it’s always nice just to come and play some good squash, where whoever plays the best squash on the day wins.

“I normally quite a high-intensity style of play and I think you could see today that I was quite tense in my movement. One of the things that [Coach] Hadrian [Stiff] has been working on a lot is to make me more relaxed but still stay aggressive.”

Meanwhile men’s eighth seed Paul Coll will play his quarter-final against world No.1 Gregory Gaultier (France) tomorrow morning NZ time. 

Result

[9] Joelle King (NZL) bt [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-1, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 (54m)


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