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Cam Pilley holds off Ryan Cuskelly to reach Australian Open final

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Cameron Pilley serves against Ryan Cuskelly
Cameron Pilley serves against Ryan Cuskelly

Kiwis Paul Coll and Joelle King reach Melbourne finals
By ROSS SOLLY – Squash Mad Reporter in Melbourne

Australia’s number one squash player Cameron Pilley powered into the final of the 2015 Australian Open courtesy of a hard fought win over compatriot and national number two Ryan Cuskelly in Melbourne yesterday.

Pilley came through in a tough five-game encounter to book his place in the final, his first on the PSA World Tour since 2012, where he will face training partner Paul Coll of New Zealand with the title on the line – with the chance to become the first Australian to win the event since Stewart Boswell in 2009.

“Ryan beat me in the nationals in December, and I knew if he played that well again today he’d beat me again,” said Pilley after his win.

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“I had to limit his options. There were patches where I restricted him to nothing, and other times he was too good for me.

“It would be pretty special with the return of the Australian Open to have an Australian win it. I went pretty close before, losing the fifth set to Stewart Boswell 11-9, so hopefully tomorrow will be different.”

Coll, who came into the Australian Open unseeded, defeated the fourth, fifth and seventh seeds en route to the semi-finals where he ended the run of dangerous Pakistani talent Nasir Iqbal, 7-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6.

“Words can’t describe how happy I am now,” he said.

“I didn’t even think I could do it, I’ve even had to change my flight home!

“I train a lot with Pilley, but I wouldn’t say I know his game because he’s pretty tricky – I just know it’s going to be tough.”

On the run: Annie Au works Rachael Grinham around the court in Melbourne
On the run: Annie Au works Rachael Grinham around the court in Melbourne

Rachael Grinham’s fairytale of a second Australian Open title ten years after her first was snuffed out in four games by Hong Kong’s Annie Au.

38-year-old Grinham won the opening game , but then Au took control to take the next three and move into Sunday’s final.

She’ll come up against former world number four, Joelle King, who has played better as the tournament progresses.

The New Zealander is playing in just her second tournament since a serious Achilles injury, and beat Malaysia’s Delia Arnold 14-12, 11-2, 11-7 to book her finals spot.

“Coming back from injury, it was a big hill to climb, so now I feel like everything else is a bonus,” she said.

I’m really enjoying myself on court, which I guess sometimes when you do something for a living you put too much pressure on yourself.

I think coming back and feeling free to express myself on there is something that’s really nice to feel.”

Australian Open 2015, Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, Melbourne:

Men’s Semi-final Results:
[1] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [3] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 (96m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt [5] Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 7-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 (65m)
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Final:
[1] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Paul Coll (NZL)

Women’s Semi-finals:
[1] Annie Au (HKG) bt [3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (44m)
[2] Joelle King (NZL) bt [4] Delia Arnold (MAS) 14-12, 11-2, 11-7 (37m)

Final:
[1] Annie Au (HKG) v [2] Joelle King (NZL)

Vicki Cardwell, Rachael Grinham, Cassie Thomas, Michelle Martin, Carol Owens.and Sarah Fitz-Gerald
Six world champions together at the Squash Australia Awards Dinner: Vicki Cardwell, Rachael Grinham, Cassie Thomas, Michelle Martin, Carol Owens.and Sarah Fitz-Gerald

 

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