Squash: Pullouts boost doubles hopes

Joelle King. Photo / Supplied
Joelle King. Photo / Supplied

A spate of injuries has thrust the New Zealand squash combination of Joelle King and Jaclyn Hawkes into a strong position to challenge for a Commonwealth Games women's doubles medal.

The pair were untroubled in winning their opening match as the Games doubles competition got under way today, spending just eight minutes 10 seconds on the tournament show court in beating Guernsey's Zephanie Curgenven and Issey Norman-Ross 11-1 11-1.

It was a second romp today for King, who earlier teamed with Martin Knight to beat Kenyan mixed doubles pairing Hartaj Bains and Safina Madhani of Kenya 11-2 11-3.

In other New Zealand results, women Tamsyn Leevey and Kylie Lindsay beat Kate Cadigan and Jeannine Cowie of Jersey 11-3 11-3 while Knight and Campbell Grayson were pushed in winning a men's match 11-7 10-11 11-3.

But it is women's doubles fourth seeds King and Hawkes - both ranked among the world's top-20 singles players - who harbour New Zealand's best medal prospects after the second and third-seeded teams were both struck down in the last two days.

England's Alison Waters had to pull out of her third-ranked pairing with Jenny Duncalf after tearing her Achilles while playing for the singles bronze. She has been replaced by Laura Massaro.

And the Indian second seeds have withdrawn altogether after Dipika Pallikal went down with sickness, promoting the seeding of all teams below them by one.

"We're seeing a chance open up here," says Hawkes.

"I think we've got every reason to believe we can do well. Obviously we wanted to go through to the singles finals or the third and fourth playoff but once we were knocked out (both in the quarterfinals) we decided to throw everything at this."

The tournament top seeds are Australians Donna Urquhart and Kasey Brown.

New Zealand face a stiffer pool match tomorrow against Scottish sixth seeds Lisa Aitken and Frania Gillen-Buchert, with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals.

Other New Zealand doubles combinations in Delhi are women Tamsyn Leevey and Kylie Lindsay and the men's combination of Knight and Campbell Grayson.

- NZPA

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