Joelle King recorded the biggest win of her career so far after scalping No.3 seed Jenny Duncalf in theDelaware Investments U.S. Open.
The quarter-finals, split over two days at Drexel University in Philadelphia, saw the Kiwi clinch the fifth-game winner against Englishwoman Duncalf, who has now failed to make a World Series semi-final since this event last year.
Both players were generous with the amount of shots hitting the tin, but it was the New Zealander who gained control after a shaky first game to dominate the proceedings. Errors crept back into King’s game in the fourth, as the prospect of a semi-final appearance loomed, and Duncalf seized the opportunity to force the fifth game. A refocused King leapt to a startling 5-0 lead in the deciding game, and her English opponent, despite a small reprieve, never closed the gap.
“There’s less pressure on you when you’re not the seeded players,” explained a delighted winner, “but I’ve been at this level for a while and been close to some big wins so the pressure was maybe from myself.
“I’m absolutely stoked to get through, it’s my first semi-final of a Gold event, let alone a World Series, I’m so pleased!”
Maiden semi-final appearances don’t get much tougher for King, as she will face Nicol David in the next round on Thursday. Having lost for the first time against her opponent Alison Waters in their previous contest, David made absolutely certain of her progression on this occasion. Playing like a woman scorned, David leapt to an 11-5 win in the first game with blisteringly quick retrieval and efficient front court play. In the second and third games, she dominated less but was always just a step above the level of Waters.
The Englishwoman led 9-8 in the third, but the dominant Malaysian upped the pace in the final rallies and put the contest to bed with some strong lengths and forced one final mistake from the racket of Waters to end the tie.
“She was always going to be up for it having beaten me last week,” said a relieved and delighted winner, “so I knew I had to start strong and fight for every point to stop her getting the feeling she had it again.
“I think I got used to playing on the court a bit quicker than her, but in the third she was finding her length better and becoming more comfortable, it was neck and neck so I was really pleased to finish it in three.”
The second lot of quarter-final clashes will take place tonight from 5pm local time (GMT-5) as Laura Massaro takes on Madeline Perry, followed by Raneem El Weleily versus Kasey Brown. Live coverage available on www.psasquashtv.com
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Alison Waters (ENG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (41m)
[Q] Joelle King (NZL) bt  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5 (42m)
Today – 17:00 (GMT-5)  Laura Massaro (ENG) vs  Madeline Perry (IRL)
Today – 17:00 (GMT-5)  Raneem El Weleily (EGY) vs Kasey Brown (AUS)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Camille Serme (FRA) 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (42mins)
[Q] Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Natalie Grinham (NED) 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 (53mins)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (33mins)
[Q] Joelle King (NZL) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 12-10, 11-6, 11-5 (39mins)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-2
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Kristen Lange (USA) 11-0, 11-3, 11-4 (19mins)
Kasey Brown (AUS) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (46mins)
 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-5
photo Getty Images