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 courtesy of a comfortable 11-5 scoreline, but Serme replied in style to take the next two games and leave King staring down the barrel of defeat. Undeterred she 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, while in the Men’s draw Peru’s Diego Elias kept up his impressive early season form to defeat World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy.
The 20-year-old from Lima was agonisingly close to defeating World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad during his last event – the NetSuite Open – and continued to demonstrate experience beyond his age as he utilised all four corners of the court to come through 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 in 46 minutes.
“It’s was hard,” said Elias afterwards.
“With Karim during NetSuite I was 2-0 up and I got a bit tired. I had a tough match the day before and I think it was more in my head.
“This time when I was 2-0 up I had that in my mind and wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again. I’m feeling good this season.”
Elias will now face Omar Mosaad for a place in the last four after the former World No.3, back at the court where he reached his first ever World Series event final in 2015, downed the in-form Paul Coll while the other winners on day four inside Philadelphia’s Drexel University were Egyptian pairing Ali Farag and Fares Dessouky.
Results – Second Round (Bottom Half): Men’s 2017 U.S. Open
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-2: 12-10, 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-1 (64m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 4-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 (44m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (46m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-8 (61m)
Draw – Quarter-finals:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Diego Elias (PER) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Results – Second Round (Bottom Half): Women’s 2017 U.S. Open
 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)
Draw – Quarter-finals:
 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)
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse