Joelle King knocked out in second round
Joelle King has ended an excellent year on a sour note.
The New Zealand squash No 1 and world No 5 has been bundled out in the second round of the $US188,000 World Open in the Cayman Islands today, losing to 11th seed Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands in five games and becoming the highest seeded player to exit the tournament.
King started promisingly, winning the first game 11-8 before losing the second 3-11.
She regained the advantage by winning the third game 11-8, but Grinham, the former Australian representative, closed the match out in 54 minutes, winning the fourth game 11-8 and the decider 11-7.
Grinham, who at 34 is 10 years King's senior, will play the winner of the quarterfinal between world No 2 Raneem El Weleily of Egypt and India's Dipika Pallikal, while King heads home for a longer Christmas break than she'd have wanted.
It's a disappointing end to a good year that has seen her rise to a career-high world ranking of No 5, having reached the semifinals of the US Open, won the Macau Open, and lost the final of the China Open.
World No 1 Nicol David from Malaysia remains on track for a fifth successive World Open title, and seventh title in eight years.
She will play 10th seed Madeline Perry of Ireland in the quarterfinals.