Squash: King's inner mongrel

Joelle King became the second New Zealander in three years to win the Australian Open women's squash title when she beat defending champion Annie Au in yesterday's final at Clare, South Australia.

The sixth seed downed top seed Kasey Brown in yesterday's semifinals before accounting for Au, the second seed, in the final.

King, 20, beat Hong Kong's Au 11-6, 11-13, 14-12, 11-7 to match Shelley Kitchen's win in 2007.

Her power and speed proved the difference against Au, who relies more on placement than sheer force.

King saved five game balls in the crucial third game, stopping Au from taking a 2-1 lead.

"I think if I had won that third game the result would have been different," Au said. "But I lost concentration and she didn't give up - I think maybe she was more eager to win than me."

King said the win marked a big step forward in her career. "This is just huge for me and I'm just absolutely over the moon. I knew that if I could keep on top of her with my pace, I would be okay. But it's hard to do that against a class player like Annie.

"I don't know where that mongrel in me came from."

- NZPA

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