‘Camille is a classy player so that was huge’
By ELLIE MAWSON
New Zealand’s World No.10 Joelle King showed impressive poise and composure to come through a nerve-racking 66 minute battle with World No.3 Camille Serme that saw her end the Frenchwoman’s title defence during the second round of the 2017 U.S. Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management.
The 29-year-old scalped both Nicol David and Laura Massaro at her first event this season, September’s China Open, and kept up her giant-killing form to come from 2-1 down and prevail in an intense encounter that saw her showcase the kind of physical strength and skill that enabled her to rise as high as World No.4 in 2014 before suffering a long-term achilles injury.
Playing with patience and poise it was King who took the opening game 11-5, but Serme replied in style to take the next two games. Undeterred, King maintained her composure to come through a tense fourth game and then recovered from squandering four match balls in the fifth to seal the win 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11.
“Camille is a classy player and has won some of the biggest tournaments, including this one, so to come away with a win against her is huge for me,” said King.
“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 either.
“So the main thing for me is that I’m trying to play at that level again and hopefully I can continue the form that I have started with this season and see where it takes me. I’m happy with the way I’m playing and how I fought back from 2-1 down.”
She will now face England’s Alison Waters in the quarter-finals while Raneem El Welily and Nouran Gohar set up an all-Egyptian battle following wins over Tesni Evans of Wales and Joshna Chinappa of India.
World No.8 Waters overcame home hope Olivia Blatchford in five-games to claim her fifth U.S. Open quarter-final place.
The 24-year-old Blatchford, who defeated qualifier Madeline Perry in straight games in the opening round, got off to a strong start with her attacking play and she took a tight first game 11-9.
However, things soon began to unravel for Blatchford as she allowed errors to affect her play as Waters’ experience came to the forefront in the second game.
Blatchford regained her lead in the third by a narrow 11-9 margin before two vital errors at 9-8 up in the third cost her the chance to take the match and proved to be a gift for Waters as she took the fourth and fifth games to see out the win 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 in an hour.
Waters will now face New Zealand’s King in the quarter-finals on Thursday. “I’m just happy to be through,” said the 33-year-old. I was lucky to win that. I managed to get myself back in a position to win the fourth and I don’t think I played my best squash. Olivia played really well and took the game to me. I just used my experience in the end to push it to a fifth.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball as well as I would have liked but I got the win at the end of the day and I’m through.
“She was playing well, she was attacking well and moving around the middle well for me it was just a case of finding my length.”
Number two seed Raneem El Welily safely manoeuvred her way past Wales’ Tesni Evans to secure a quarter-final berth for the sixth consecutive year.
Two days earlier she was forced to come from 2-0 down against Canada’s Hollie Naughton, but El Welily looked far more confident as she beat World No.17 Evans in straight games in under half an hour.
El Welily said: “I’m really happy to be through. Tesni is a really tough opponent, we haven’t played much but I’ve always watched her play and she has got great hands and great skills and she’s, I’m sure, a future top ten player. I have all respect for her and I really enjoyed playing against her today.
Evans had the consolation of playing one of the most outstanding shots of the tournament, a spinning corkscrew lob that died in the back right corner.
Nouran Gohar secured a quarter-final berth after a fierce battle with India’s Joshna Chinappa.
In a display of both skill and frustration for both players on court, Chinappa pushed Gohar all the way as she rattled the Egyptian by taking the first game. Gohar made an unfamiliar error as she hit her shot straight into the tin to hand the Indian the lead and take the game by an 11-9 margin.
In the second, Gohar injected pace and power to level the scores. The 20-year-old maintained her hard-hitting style as the scoreline stayed tight between the pair with Gohar eventually taking the match 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 in just under an hour.
“I’m really pleased,” said the World No.5. “It was a battle physically but it was also mentally tough on the court today. Being 1-0 down I knew I would have to give it my all.
“I had to try to contain her a little bit and keep it tight because if you open the court with her then she is going to play a cross court or a boast. I just tried to keep my composure and I’m glad it worked.”
PSA World Series $165,000 Women’s US Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management 2017, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.
Second Round (Bottom Half):
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-2: 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11 (66m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-2: 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 (60m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-1: 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (57m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 (28m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Annie Au (HKG) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA