Leilani Joyce won her first major title of the year beating Carol Owens 3-0 in the final of the US$63,000 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open and then dedicated her victory to Richard Hawkes, the former Hong Kong judge who died a few weeks ago in New Zealand. Joyce, the world number one, had tears in her eyes as she remembered how it all began for her - learning the finer points of the game under Julie Hawkes, Richard's wife, a former Hong Kong champion, coach and long-standing and distinguished member of the local squash fraternity. 'I dedicate this win to the memory of Richard. It is because of the support that Julie and Richard gave, that helped me move from the top 20 to the top 10 in the world,' said Joyce after defeating Owens 9-7, 9-6, 9-0. 'I always used to come to Hong Kong at the beginning of the squash year to train for about two to three weeks under Julie. She is one of the few people I respect and who can reach me,' said Joyce. Hong Kong has not only been a training ground for the 27-year-old Maori. She also won the world doubles title here in 1997. Yesterday she added the Hong Kong Open title, the first women's event in a long time, to her list of victories that seemed to have come to a halt since last year's record five titles, which included the British Open. 'It will be a wonderful feeling to leave Hong Kong as the champion. I was running on happy energy from beating Sarah [Fitz-Gerald] in the semi-finals. But it is never easy against Carol [Owens]. It might have looked easy from a spectator's point of view, but it's never over till it's over. 'I was in a similar position in the World Open last year when I led Carol 2-0 before she came back to win the next three games,' said Joyce. But this time, she left no room for a comeback. Joyce looked sharp and full of energy as she took control of the match from the very outset. Owens, the Australian who will take up New Zealand citizenship on September 1, tried vainly to find a way past her composed opponent but failed miserably and in the end just caved in, losing the third game in five minutes. At her post-match interview, Owens sat slumped in her chair, for once lost for words. 'It is like sitting in a funeral parlour. There is not much to say,' said Owens, self-deprecatingly. 'I needed to win the first game to help me mentally but she was just too good.' Owens, the reigning world champion and world number two, said the tough five-game thriller Joyce had in the semi-finals against Fitz-Gerald had helped her. 'It helps to have a hard game before a final. I didn't have the edge going into the final. I couldn't play long rallies and I was going for stupid shots.' Owens had booked her berth in the final with an easy 9-5, 9-0, 9-1 win over England's Fiona Geaves. After that match, Owens said she wanted to conserve her energy for the final. Owens' impatience at setting up the rallies cost her the world number one slot, for if she had won, she would have reached the pinnacle for the first time in her career. 'It didn't cross my mind,' said the 30-year-old Owens. She hardly had time to ponder, for she was facing a motivated opponent. 'I felt Sarah [Fitz-Gerald] was my biggest hurdle in this tournament. But I still had to end it against Carol today. I'm pleased . . . this win was particularly special to me because of Richard and Julie,' added Joyce.