Joelle King bows out after 'horrible' semi loss
"It was bloody horrible."
That was Joelle King's blunt assessment of her women's squash semifinal loss to top seed Nicol David at the Commonwealth Games today.
King had some brief moments of hope early in the second and third sets but couldn't capitalise in Glasgow, going down 11-6 11-8 11-5 in 39 minutes.
The 25-year-old from Cambridge will play-off for bronze tomorrow against the loser of the latter semifinal today between the English duo of Laura Massaro and Alison Waters.
King was guilty of too many errors to apply real pressure on the world number one.
"Nicol didn't really give me a lot to work with out there," she said.
"I sort of had a few opportunities here and there in the match where I felt I had a bit of a roll on, and then she just came back at me even harder.
"She's always so good coming from behind, and I guess if you take your foot off the pedal for a little bit, she's such a good player that she'll keep coming back at you and steamroll her way through.
"So really disappointed with that, but obviously there's another match tomorrow. I've got to not get too down on myself and get ready."
David's class was quickly evident in the first set that she won in nine minutes.
The Malaysian tested King with a number of testing drop shots that gained her a handful of points.
King had a few quality moments of her own as well but a couple of unforced errors proved costly and let the defending champion close out the set.
The Kiwi world No 3 and third seed raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, controlling the front of the court and having David struggling to reach some well-judged drop shots off both forehand and backhand.
But a couple of stroke calls against her opened the door for David to take the second in 14 minutes.
King again grabbed an early lead in the third set as a rare mistake from David saw her practise the backhand again with a mixture of surprise and remonstration.
But David's blinding court speed allows her to get shots that would otherwise be winners, and that combined with a few more inaccurate shots from King spelt the end of her gold medal hopes.
"That's something I pride myself on, not making too many errors," King said.
"But someone like Nicol who retrieves so well and comes back at you with interest, puts that pressure on you to go lower and lower - and that's what happened today."
King said the 30-year-old David, the dominant figure in women's squash for a decade, was beatable.
"But you've got to play your best squash to beat her, and obviously I didn't do that today."
Her plan ahead of the bronze medal match was "to talk about a few things that did go well - cos there were a few things that did go well - and try and fix the things didn't."
King won gold in the women's doubles and silver in the mixed doubles at the 2010 Games in Delhi and will also contest those events next week in Glasgow.