26 Nov 2018

Joelle King wins Hong Kong Open title

6:30 am on 26 November 2018

New Zealand's top squash player Joelle King has won the Hong Kong Open with victory over world champion Raneem El Welily of Egypt in the final.

Joelle King is the fourth New Zealand woman to win the prestigious Hong Kong title

Joelle King is the fourth New Zealand woman to win the prestigious Hong Kong title Photo: Steve Line/SquashPics.com

World number seven King beat the soon-to-be world number one 3-nil.

The win marks the Kiwi's first Platinum PSA title and also means that she has automatically qualified for the season-ending PSA World Tour finals.

The number five seed got off to a flying start to take the first game 11-4 in just nine minutes, with El Welily who takes over the world No.1 ranking this week looking sluggish in the beginning as she struggled to back up her epic five-game battle with compatriot Nouran Gohar yesterday.

Thirty-year-old King who has beaten reigning World Champion El Welily in their last two meetings continued to dominate and proved she was back to playing her best squash as she doubled her lead by taking the second, 12-10.

The third game saw El Welily push to get herself back into the match as she threw everything at King, however, the Kiwi managed to keep her composure, despite failing to convert five championship balls, with El Welily always finding a way back.

Eventually on her sixth championship ball, King was able to convert the third game 19-17 for an overall match time of 48 minutes to claim her first major title and become the first Kiwi PSA Platinum winner since 2003 when Carol Owens won the Tournament of Champions.

"I just kept thinking that it's the last match of the tournament - just leave it all out there," said the Waikato player "Raneem is such a tough competitor and she showed in the third why she is No.1. She just kept coming back at me and never let it go until the end.

"I guess if you've beaten a player before then it gives you a bit of confidence, but every day is a new day and she's not No.1 for no reason, so I knew she was never going to let it go. I'm just extremely happy to win my first platinum event ever.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet, but to be on a stage like this, with such great fans means a lot. I just want to go on from here and keep playing good squash."

The victory means King becomes the fourth New Zealand woman to win the prestigious title in Hong Kong. She joins Dame Susan Devoy, Leilani Rorani and Owens as winners.