Joelle King ousts Delia Arnold to book spot in SRAM Invitational semis
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
Joelle King of New Zealand emerged top in Group B after beating Malaysian number two Delia Arnold 14-12, 11-8, 11-9 in 39 minutes to book her place in the semi finals in the SRAM Women’s Squash Invitational Championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil today.
It was Joelle’s second straight win in as many games. Yesterday, Joelle dumped Egyptian world number nine Omneya Abdel Kawy 3-0 in her opening tie.
Today, the 30-year-old Delia, who is ranked World No 18, has herself to blame for her string of unforced errors despite taking a comfortable 9-4 lead in the opening game. Joelle changed her strategy and pace which caught Delia by surprise which saw her losing her grip allowing her opponent to inch her way back to draw level. It was point for point until 12-12 before the Kiwi won the opening game.
The world number nine Joelle made no mistake in the second game and raced to 7-2 lead before the Malaysian bounced back to narrow the gap to 4-7. Joelle went up 10-7 before she wrapped up at 11-8 to go 2-0 up.
in the third game, Delia started aggressively to take a 4-1 and 5-3 lead but Joelle fought back gallantly to level at 5-5. The pair next traded point for point up to 9-9, before a determined Joelle pushed through the last two points and ensured herself a place in the semi finals.
Joelle will take on world number ten Joshna Chinappa of India, who finished second in Group A, in the cross over semi finals on Saturday.
Joshna had earlier booked her place after outplaying former world number two Jenny Duncalf of England 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 in just 25 minutes.
Yesterday, Joshna suffered a 3-0 beating in the hands of local ace and favourite Nicol David, the world number four from Penang.
The other semi-finals will be between Nicol, champion of Group A, and Omneya, Group B runner-up.
Joelle was all praise for Delia.
“It may have been a 3-0 margin but it was tough all the way. Delia played some great shots and had the crowd support. There is a vast improvement in her performance since a year ago,” said the 27-year-old Joelle, who is expecting a tough match from Joshna in the semi-final.
On her match tomorrow against Joshna, the Kiwi said, “We have had some great matches in the past and it will be interesting to know who will prevail tomorrow.”
Meanwhile Delia reckons she peaked too fast in the beginning to lead 9-4 but couldn’t sustain the pace when her opponent changed the game plan.
“Though I lost both my matches against Omneya on Wednesday (2-3) and Joelle (3-0) today, I have no complains. I will fine tune my game in my coming matches,” said the Kuala Lumpur lass.
Delia will take on Jenny, both of whom who finished bottom in their respective groups, in the fifth placing playoff on Sunday.
Results Day 3:
Joelle King (NZL) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 14-12, 11-8, 11-9
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-7, 11-8, 11-3
Pictures courtesy of Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia