King kicks off year with title

Cambridge's Joelle King won her first WSA Tour title in more than a year with an epic victory in the final of the Greenwich Open in New York yesterday.

The world No 5 defeated world No 6 Low Wee Wern of Malaysia in a tussle which lasted 96 minutes - the longest match of King's career.

The 25-year-old second seed prevailed 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8 to claim her seventh WSA title and with it the $US35,000 ($NZ42,500) prizemoney on offer for the Silver-graded event.

Having taken the first game, King was then given a scare by third seed Wee Wern, who took the next two games and had a match ball in the fourth, only for King to fight out of the tricky situation. With the fifth game level at 8-8, the Kiwi then managed to pull away with a couple of excellent shot choices and, with her first match ball, she immediately converted the opportunity.

King, who had lost four of her past five encounters with Wee Wern, finished as runner-up at the tournament in 2011 and 2012 and was this time helped by the withdrawal of French top seed Camille Serme (world No 8).

But the Waikato woman was made to work hard for her win after accounting for Egypt's Nour El Tayeb (world No 27) in straight games in the first round. King then scraped past England's Sarah-Jane Perry (world No 17) in five games in the quarterfinals, before also needing five to get past USA's Amanda Sobhy (world No 18) in the semis.

King now heads to Ohio for the Gold-graded Cleveland Classic tournament from February 2-5, where she is the sixth seed.

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