King pow­ers into last four at US Open

The Southland Times - - SPORT - AARON GOILE

Joelle King’s out­stand­ing start to the squash sea­son has con­tin­ued, with the the top-ranked Kiwi women’s player surg­ing into the US Open semi­fi­nals.

The world No 10 from Cam­bridge yes­ter­day beat English world No 8 Ali­son Wa­ters in the quar­ter­fi­nals 11-9 8-11 11-2 11-3, in an­other strong dis­play in Philadel­phia, in what is the first of the sea­son’s five PSA World Se­ries events.

King had ad­mit­ted to off-court per­sonal is­sues af­fect­ing her on­court ef­forts dur­ing a tough 2016 where she didn’t make it past the sec­ond round of any of the World Se­ries events, but the 29-year-old has bounced back in style, now pow­er­ing closer to­wards an elu­sive top-tier ti­tle.

Hav­ing opened with a straightgames win over Dutch qual­i­fier Milou van der Hei­j­den in the first round, then com­ing from 2-1 down to stun world No 2 French­woman Camille Serme in a five-game sec­ond-round ef­fort, 11th-seeded King then put 33-year-old eighth seeded Wa­ters away in a com­mand­ing fin­ish.

With long ral­lies a fea­ture early on, King nar­rowly pre­vailed in the first game, then at 10-3 down in the sec­ond she fought back, though Wa­ters was able to level it. But King then sud­denly headed out to a 9-0 ad­van­tage in the third, not do­ing any­thing spec­tac­u­lar, but with Wa­ters’ er­ror count help­ing. And from there the dam­age was done, with the Kiwi go­ing on to com­plete the job in 43 min­utes.

‘‘Ali­son and I have had some bat­tles over the years, to­day was my day,’’ King said. ‘‘I lost my way a lit­tle in the sec­ond, I just had to re-fo­cus and go back to play­ing my game, and it worked.’’

King’s con­fi­dence is now fly­ing high, as she seeks to make head­way to­wards her for­mer high mark of world No 4, hav­ing played catchup since her rup­tured achilles ten­don in 2014.

In the semi­fi­nals to­day (NZ time), King will face 28-year-old world No 3 Egyp­tian Ra­neem El Welily, who over­came com­pa­triot world No 5 Nouran Go­har 11-13 11-7 12-10 11-5.

The other semi­fi­nal will see world No 4 English­woman Laura Mas­saro take on world No 14 Egyp­tian Nour El Tayeb, who ousted fel­low coun­try­woman and world No 1 Nour El Sherbini.

Joelle King is in great form early in the new sea­son.

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