For the second consecutive tournament New Zealand squash player Joelle King has defeated the current world champion, this time to make the final of the World Series US$250,000 Windy City Open in Chicago.
The win by King over Raneem El Welily of Egypt puts the Kiwi into her first ever World Series final and continues her run of good form which saw her win the title in Cleveland just over a week ago where she beat the Egyptian world No.2 in the final.
On this occasion, King took 60 minutes to account for the Ell Welily who was the three-time Chicago champion in five games 7-11, 11-7 11-7, 7-11 12-10.
"Raneem and I have been playing together since we were 13-years-old," said King following her huge win. "She has always been better than all of us and we were always chasing her. I think we bring out the best in each other, we have got quite contrasting styles and it seems to make for some good squash. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the crowd was amazing and I just felt really good. I think each match I've got better and I'm looking forward to tomorrow," said King who will face the tournament seventh seed, but current world No.3 Nour El Tayeb of Egypt for the title.
"I'm like a fine wine, I get better with age! I'm enjoying my squash. At the start of last year it was kind of a turning point for me. I was looking down the barrel of either giving it up or throwing myself out there and it seems to be paying off."
The day before King had taken out American Amanda Sobhy in the Quarter Finals. It was King's 200th win on the PSA tour.
A good start from King saw her stay in front for the majority of the match to take the first two games as she took her shots early to put Sobhy on the back foot. In the third game, Sobhy showed great spirit to get herself back into the match, leveling the scores at 8-8 and then saving one match ball to take the third. However, King proved too much in the fourth as she extended her lead and looked sharp on court to take the match 11-8, 11-7, 13-15, 11-6 in 44 minutes
"I knew that she (Sobhy) was going to be really hungry to come out here and beat me. We played last week, and I won in three but she's just getting bigger and better each week so I had to regain my focus and come back and play my game in the fourth. Sobhs and I are really good friends and she was one of the first people to message me and be there for me when I got injured so it was nice that I was able to offer the same sort of advice and help guide her through the process," said 29-year-old King.
The Kiwi has been in solid form so far this year having reached the quarter-finals of the world series event in Saudi Arabia, the second round of the world series tournament in New York and winning the title at the Cleveland US$50,000 event.