US SQUASH

King Tops World Champion El Welily in Cleveland Classic Final

(l-r): Tub O’ Towels’ Jon Outcalt and Richard Schmidt, Joelle King, Raneem El Welily and Chemical Bank’s Jamie Lynch (image: Andrew Dawson Photography)

Competing in her first Cleveland Classic in four years, New Zealand’s Joelle King upset world champion Raneem El Welily to claim her first PSA title since 2016 Monday night at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Ohio.

King spent majority of 2014 and 2015 on the sidelines following a severe Achilles injury, but has been resurgent in the past two season, returning to the world’s top ten and a strong fall of 2017 that saw the world No. 9 reach the Macau Open final, U.S. Open semifinals and Carol Weymuller final.

King met Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy in the semifinals after the Harvard graduate upset two seed and world No. 7 Sarah-Jane Perry in the quarterfinals. King would go on to defeat Sobhy in three games, but gave her opponent credit in what was just her second PSA tournament after her own ten-month Achilles injury layoff.

“I think Amanda did a fantastic job in only her second tournament back after her injury,” King said after the semifinals.

In the final, King recorded just her second career victory against world No. 2 El Welily in their fourteenth career match up. After defeating El Welily for the first time in four games at the Carol Wemuller this fall, King went one better in the Cleveland final, winning 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 after thirty-five minutes.

The $50,000 Cleveland Classic title is King’s eleventh career PSA title, and third career U.S. Pro Series title.

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