Thursday, September 21, 2023

Gina Kennedy jolts No.2 seed Joelle King to reach Detroit semi-finals

‘I have always looked up to Joelle and I’m embracing every minute of being able to play in these big events’
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

England’s Georgina Kennedy achieved the biggest win of her professional career when she beat No.2 seed Joelle King of New Zealand to reach the semi-finals of the DAC Pro Squash Classic at Detroit Athletic Club.

This was a huge upset as World No.8 King lost a close fifth game in a thrilling encounter lasting 65 minutes.

World No.51 Kennedy got off to a blistering start to win the opening two games 11-9, 11-3, but the experienced New Zealander wasn’t going down without a fight, and she fought back to take the next two games 11-6 11-8.

Kennedy was able to regroup and backed her judgement in a quality display to take the fifth game 11-9 to set up a semi-final clash with Belgium’s Tinne Gilis.

Kennedy said: “I am so happy to have scraped the win in the fifth against Joelle. I have absolutely loved my time so far in Detroit and I am really happy with how I have been playing this week.

“I was really excited to play Joelle as she is such an icon in the women’s game and has always been someone I look up to in terms of the way she plays and conducts herself on court.

“I knew when I was two love up that she was going to adapt to the conditions and change her game, and I think I got lucky to clinch it in the end! It was a really enjoyable match and I’m just embracing every moment of finally being able to compete in these big events!”

World No. 25 Gilis was able to get past fellow surprise quarter finalist Sivasangari Subramaniam from Malaysia in four games. The pair had never met before on the PSA World Tour, but it was the Belgian who proved to be strongest in the 48 minute affair, losing the first game 11-8 before fighting back to win the next three games 11-2 11-8 11-9 to advance to the semi-finals.

In the top half of the draw, it went to seeding as both Nouran Gohar and Olivia Clyne prevailed in their respective matches. No.1 seed Gohar was on top form as she beat Belgian Nele Gilis for the fifth time in three seasons.

Gohar had beaten Gilis 3-0 on the last three occasions and last night’s match followed the same pattern. The 41-minute win for Gohar sends her through to play home favourite Clyne in the semi-finals.

The last match of the evening saw Clyne take on Wales’ No.5 seed Tesni Evans and with the crowd hoping for a USA victory, that’s exactly what they got as Clyne delivered.

World No.11 Clyne managed to sneak a very tight first game 13-11 before losing the next two 11-7, 11-6. But the spirited American, with the home crowd behind her, battled back to secure the next two games 11-5 11-6.

PSA $61k 2021 Women’s DAC Pro Squash Classic, Detroit Athletic Club.

Quarter Finals:
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [6] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-2 (41m)
[4] Olivia Clyne (USA) bt [5] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 13-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (54m)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-1: 8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9 (48m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [2] Joelle King (NZL) 3-2: 11-9, 11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9 (65m)

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [4] Olivia Clyne (USA)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Georgina Kennedy (ENG)

Picture courtesy of PSA


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