Waikato's Joelle King has again reigned supreme at the national squash championships, sealing a title three-peat.
The 23-year-old Cambridge player successfully defended the Mitchell Rose Bowl in New Plymouth yesterday, working hard to beat Auckland's Jaclyn Hawkes in the final.
The world No 13 had not dropped a set before the decider.
However, facing Hawkes, the national No 2 and world No 19, the defending champion from Hamilton Squash Club had to slug it out, eventually winning 11-3, 8-11, 16-14, 11-5.
The duo, who paired to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi two years ago, also met in the three previous national finals, with King yesterday extending her title-winning run.
King, who this year won the North Island contest for a fourth time, made light work of her opening two matches on Friday, crushing Elizabeth Cook 11-1, 11-0, 11-3 before downing Waikato's Alana Sincock 11-1, 11-6, 11-6.
On Saturday, she thrashed Rebecca Barnett 11-1, 11-0, 11-3 and then defeated Canterbury's Megan Craig 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 in the semifinals.
Waikato's Kylie Lindsay finished third at the tournament.
Lindsay lost 7-11, 2-11, 11-9, 2-11 to Hawkes in the semifinals before beating Craig 11-1, 11-7, 11-3 in the playoff for third and fourth.
In the men's competition, second seed Campbell Grayson triumphed, with the Aucklander earning the Riddiford Gold Cup for the second time.
The world No 51 beat fellow Aucklander and world No 46 Martin Knight, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, reversing the result of last year's decider.
Both men won their Friday matches and quarterfinals 3-0, before both going to four sets in the semifinals.
Grayson came back to beat Wellington's Evan Williams 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5, while Knight also dropped the first game but recovered against Central's Kashif Shuja, winning 9-11, 11-0, 11-7, 11-4.
The national teams competition will be held at the Kawaroa Park Squash Club venue today and tomorrow. Waikato's women's team hope to lift the K A. Mackwell Cup for a fifth successive time, while the Wellington men are chasing three M C Day Cup victories in a row.
- Waikato Times