Defending champion Joelle King got her 2020 Manchester Open campaign off to the perfect start with a straight-games victory over Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica at the National Squash Centre.
The Kiwi, who took victory at the PSA Silver event last year, showed that she is on happy stomping ground as she saw off the World No.59 in a quickfire 23 minutes in their first meeting on the PSA Tour.
The Latvian managed to put in some good points in the first two games, but it was not enough to stop the charge of King, who put in a confident performance to claim the 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 victory.
King will move into the second round, where she will face England’s Lucy Turmel after she upset the seedings by beating higher ranked Nada Abbas of Egypt.
“I think I got every bit of nerves I had in the system out,” said King.
“Sometimes it’s difficult when you’re playing a player that you haven’t seen that much. Personally, I haven’t seen Ineta play and she is quite a tricky opponent. Sometimes you have set players that you play against all the time and you have plans for them and then a spanner in the works, someone like her, then it’s nice to get over the line in three.
“The situation we are in at the moment it’s a little difficult, there’s a lot of changes and no practice in the morning is an adjustment for us. I just tried to hit my targets and play my game. I have done a lot of work over this period and sometimes you can be too excited to get it going, but it came right in the end.
“I spent lockdown in Bristol, I did try to fly home in July, but I was turned away at Heathrow airport which meant I was sticking around in England, which turned out to be a good thing, I got to spend a lot of time in one place and I really settled down and spent a lot of time working with Hadrian [Stiff] and I have a new fitness coach that I’ve started working with in Bristol.”
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)