A good second day for Kiwi world No.4 Joelle King at the PSA World Series Finals in Dubai.
King defeated Nouran Gohar the world No.6 ranked player from Egypt in straight games to have a one-win, one-loss record with one round robin match remaining.
The Waikato 29-year-old is making her debut at the World Series Finals which features the world’s top eight ranked men’s and women’s players. She took the opening game 11-8 and looked to have secured a comfortable victory after controlling the tempo to build up four match balls in the second.
However some top hard-hitting from Gohar enabled the 20-year-old Egyptian to force a tie-break, where she even held a game ball of her own, but a composed King kept her head to finally convert on her sixth match ball, wrapping up an 11-8, 14-12 victory in 26 minutes.
“Nouran’s much younger than me but I’ve never actually beaten her before, so it’s nice to come away with a 2-0 win, especially in the pools because it is pretty crucial,” said King who will now play her third Eyptian in a row (she lost to world No. 1 Nour El Sherbini in her first match) with a clash against world No.3 Nour El Tayeb.
“I think me and Nour are now tied at one [win] all, so everything to play for tomorrow. I think we’ve just got used to it [playing Egyptian players]. They’ve been so dominant for the last few years that I’ve been on tour and they play exciting squash, so I guess with a player like me who is more traditional, sometimes it makes for exciting squash, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m probably more of an attritional player and I like to rely a bit more on my physicality, so this [best of three] is a completely different game, you have to be more attacking and I’m enjoying trying something different.”
After the Dubai tournament King will return to New Zealand for the first time since prior to the Commonwealth Games to play in the New Zealand National Championships at Henderson Squash Club 15-17 June.