Squash: King and Hawkes deflect pressure

Jaclyn Hawkes (pictured) and Joelle King are still standing at the Games. Photo / Greg Bowker
Jaclyn Hawkes (pictured) and Joelle King are still standing at the Games. Photo / Greg Bowker

They hold the key to any squash medal for New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games but Jaclyn Hawkes and Joelle King insist there is no pressure.

Just three New Zealand doubles combinations are still standing at Delhi, with the best prospect clearly the fourth seeded Hawkes and King, through to the women's semifinals.

After two easy pool wins, they faced a step up in class before emerging 11-4 9-11 11-4 quarterfinal winners over English pair Sarah Kippax and Tania Bailey overnight (NZT).

Next up today are second seeds Amelia Pittock and Lisa Camilleri of Australia, who have also been untroubled to this point.

Doubles squash has produced a handful of New Zealand medals at recent games but Hawkes stressed they weren't feeling any pressure to maintain that tradition.

"No pressure. We're already above our seeding so we're happy to be here and we're just going to do our best," she said, before adding.

"We're going for gold."

King said a drop off in concentration in the second set against Kippax and Bailey was a good wake-up call heading into the tournament business end.

"It was quite good for us to get some confidence for when it does become tough," she said.

"That was actually physically not too bad. It was more the concentration and mental side of it that we'll take from it really.

"We're pretty happy to be through to the semis. No pressure but we'll do the best we can for sure."

Before their semi, Hawkes and King will have to undergo the emotional whirlpool of playing against each other.

Both are through to the mixed doubles quarterfinals but, due to the quirk of the draw, only one will advance to the semifinals later tomorrow

Hawkes teamed with Campbell Grayson to beat Malaysians Sharon Wee and Ivan Yuen 10-11 11-3 while King and Martin Knight received a bye through to the final eight -- a welcome outcome considering the heavy workload being placed on the players.

The two New Zealand quarterfinal losses came early in the session overnight.

Seventh-seeded women Kylie Lindsay and Tamsyn Leevey lost 11-4 11-9 to third seeds Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro of England while men's pairing Knight and Grayson went down 11-9 11-10 to Australian fourth seeds Ryan Cuskelly and Cameron Pilley in a marathon match that stretched beyond an hour and a half.

- NZPA

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