A day after dethroning 2016 tournament champion Laura Massaro (England), New Zealand's Joelle King scored another big win at the 2017 US$100,000 J.P. Morgan China Open in Shanghai defeating eight-time World Champion Nicol David (Malaysia) in a hard fought five-game victory.
King, who had fallen victim to David in all ten of their past encounters stretching back to 2010, twice came from behind as she continued to showcase the form and fluidity on court that carried her to a 3-1 victory over Massaro, this time out muscling David in a high quality 66-minute encounter 8-11 11-8 4-11 11-7 11-5.
It was David who started brighter, finding her rhythm early on to take the opening game before King began to open up the court, varying length and pace to force David onto the defensive foot and level. It was a scenario that was repeated through the third and fourth games as the World No.11 fought back to force a decider and from then on she looked the stronger player, cementing a win that she's her take on genuine title credentials.
“It's been a while since I've played as well as this so I'm trying to enjoy the moment – to beat two legends of the game back-to-back is a great achievement,” said King.
“I had never beaten Nicol before and I was behind twice there. I'm pleased with the way I managed the mental side of the game and stayed tough in there and it's nice to finally get that win over her.
“But it's just pleasing to be playing some of my best squash. It's all well and good to get those two wins but there are two more matches to come to win the tournament and I'll need to refocus to make sure I'm at my best again tomorrow.”
Meanwhile fellow Kiwi Paul Coll has continued on his fine form. Coll defeated fourth seed Fares Dessouky (Egypt) 11-6 11-3 11-4 in 40 minutes and now plays Egyptian top seed Ali Farag for a spot in the final of the men’s China Open, also in Shanghai and also worth US$100,000.
Coll has just been confirmed this week as the third New Zealand male player to be ranked in the top 10. The other two players were Ross Norman and Stu Davenport.