New Zealand’s World No.10 Joelle King pulled off a huge upset as she defeated third seed and defending champ Camille Serme (France) in the second round of the US$165,000 US Open to secure a quarter-final berth.
King had previously displayed signs of getting back to her best, after rupturing her achilles three years ago, earlier in the season as she saw off Laura Massaro and Nicol David at the China Squash Open in September and showcased more of what she was capable of against Serme.
There was not much between the two players going into the match as previous encounters had seen both King and Serme win two each and it continued to be tight between the pair in their latest meeting, this time under the lights at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
It was a disciplined performance from both players with King taking the first game and forcing the Frenchwoman to adapt to keep her title defence alive before Serme, who easily dispatched tournament wildcard Haley Mendez in the previous round – took the next game to level the scores.
Serme then looked to have taken a hold of the match as she continued her response and took the next game 11-6 before King showcased her resilient attitude once more to fightback from 2-1 down and force the intense encounter to a deciding fifth.
Both players continued to play clean and precise shots with tension on court building as the match was forced to be decided on a tie-break after King squandered three match ball opportunities before keeping her composure to claim a quarter-final berth by an 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11 scoreline.
“Camille is a classy player and she has won some of the biggest tournaments and she’s defending champion here,” said King following the win.
“The main thing for me is that I’m trying to play at that level again so to come away with a win against her is huge for me so hopefully I can continue the form that I have started with this season and see where it takes me.
“It was one of those things where I was four in the world when I got injured and I guess a few people didn’t think I would be able to get back to that standard after such a major injury and I guess for a period there I didn’t think I was going to get back. I sort of got to a level and then I stagnated a little bit and you’re never sure after a major injury like that how it’s going to go.
“I’ve just tried this last training block to do everything as well as I could and give myself every chance and see where I end up and I’m really happy with how the season has started. To beat any of the top girls is no easy feat, they all never say never and they fight until the end as we saw in my match being 10-7 up and it went right down to the wire.
“It’s one of those matches that could go either way and it’s just a case of whichever player doesn’t make those mistakes and doesn’t get rattled by what the score is, is the person who comes out on top in those ones and today that was me.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing and the big thing for me is how I fought back from 2-1 down today.”
New Zealand men’s squash pro Paul Coll has been beaten in the second round of the US$165,000 US Squash Open in Philadelphia.
Coll had scored a big upset in the first round over world No.2 Karem Abdel Gawad (Egypt) however on this occasion it was another Egyptian Omar Mosaad who won 12-10 11-8 11-8 in 46 minutes over Coll.
Mosaad, currently ranked 31 in the world, but as high as No.3 last year was able to use his aggressive game to close out the points against the acrobatic Coll who featured some diving shot making in a number of rallies.
King will take on England’s Alison Waters in the quarters on Friday at 10am (NZ time) . The last time they played was just under a year ago in a tournament in Brooklyn where Waters came away the winner in four games. You can sign up to SquashTV and receive 50% off your first 3 months by using the code NZ50. Sign up here.
The tournament runs from 7-15 October, hosted at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Event page on PSA can be found here.
Women's Rnd 2
 Joelle King (NZL) bt.  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11 (66m)
Men's Rnd 2
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt. Paul Coll (NZL)12-10, 11-8, 11-8 (61m)