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Cam Pilley pushes through in Australian Open renaissance

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Cam Pilley in action in the first round
Cam Pilley in action in the first round

Top Aussies delighted to be back in Melbourne for tournament revival
By ROSS SOLLY in Melbourne

Australian squash fans have waited three years for their premiere tournament to return, and they weren’t let down on the opening day of the Australian Open at the Melbourne Sport and Aquatic Centre.

And, while the Australian men gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about, it was a tougher day at the office for the women, with some notable exceptions.

Men’s top seed, Cameron Pilley, had an 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 win over Welshman Joel Makin.

Pilley said: “I haven’t played a tournament since May, the British Open, so I was always going to be a bit edgy, a bit nervous.

“If you think about being the top seed you put a bit of pressure on yourself that you don’t need, but a little bit of pressure is not a bad thing.

“It’s in the back of my mind. I’ve been close before, but I’ve never been the number one seed. It’s a tough event with some tough players.”

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Australian third seed, Ryan Cuskelly, carried on the form that won him last weekend’s Victorian Open with an 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 win over New Zealand’s Lance Beddoes.

“It was pretty hard to get going again after just two days’ rest,” Cuskelly said.

“I’m still feeling a bit flat after last week. I’ve had a lot of matches, and this is my fourth tournament in a row. But I feel better this week than I did last week.”

There were several five-set winners on the opening day of the main draw, including New Zealand’s Evan Williams 11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 win over England’s Robert Downer.

Australia’s Steve Finitsis was also made to work hard for his 11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 win over New Zealand veteran, Kashif Shuja.

In the women’s draw, top seeds Annie Au, Joelle King and Rachael Grinham had the day off, but there were good wins for Malaysia’s Arnold sisters, Rachel and Delia, New Zealand pair Megan Craig and Amanda Landers-Murphy, and Denmark’s Line Hansen.

Of the Australians, Donna Urquhart had an 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 win over New Zealand’s Danielle Fourie, and will next play fellow Australian Lisa Camilleri, who showed no signs of the injury that has plagued her this year with an 8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7 win over Malaysia’s Vanessa Raj.

“This is one of the biggest events I’ve played for a long time, I was a little bit shaky out there actually,” Camilleri said.

“I’ve just had five months off with my hip, but every match I play it’s getting a little better.”

Christine Nunn in action in Melbourne
Christine Nunn in action in Melbourne

There was also a straight-games win for Australia’s Christine Nunn, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5, over fellow Australian Stephanie Wighton.

She’ll take on Joelle King in one of the matches of the day on Thursday.

“There all tough matches here,” Nunn said. “She’ll be well rested for tomorrow. I’ve never played her before, so I’m really excited.

“I haven’t played a lot of the top 20 players before, it’s all part of the experience. There’s lots to learn from those girls.”

Australian Open 2015, Melbourne.
Women’s First Round:
Jessica Turnbull vs Liu Tez-Ling 7-11 6-11 3-11
Megan Craig vs Selina Shaikh 11-2 11-5 11-0
Alexia Clonda vs Joshana Chinappa 6-11 6-11 3-11
Joey Chan vs Teh Min Jie 11-7 11-3 11-5
Rachel Arnold vs Cheyna Tucker 11-9 11-9 11-5
Siyoli Waters vs Sachika Ingale 12-10 11-8 11-9
Delia Arnold vs Moana Gray 11-3 11-1 11-3
Alexandra Fuller vs Sarah Cardwell 9-11 11-6 11-3 9-11 11-9
Amanda Landers-Murphy vs Jasmine Chan 11-3 11-3 11-4
Reyna Pacheco vs Line Hansen 1-11 5-11 3-11
Donna Urquhart vs Danielle Fourie 11-6 12-10 11-4
Lisa Camilleri vs Vanessa Raj 8-11 13-11 11-6 11-7
Christine Nunn vs Stephanie Wighton 11-4 11-5 11-5.

Men’s first round:
Cameron Pilley vs Joel Makin 11-5 11-4 11-5
Sanjay Singh Chai vs Jonathan Maloney 11-2 11-5 11-9
Evan Williams vs Robert Downer 11-2 9-11 11-6 9-11 11-8
Kush Kumar vs Rex Hedrick 11-9 3-11 6-11 3-11
Manesh Mangaonkar vs Rhys Dowling 11-4 9-11 11-0 11-9
Steven Finitsis vs Kashif Shuja 11-6 4-11 11-6 8-11 11-6
Tayyab Aslam vs Sean Conroy 10-12 11-7 11-7 8-11 11-3
Lance Beddoes vs Ryan Cuskelly 6-11 10-12 5-11
Leo Au vs Jaymie Haycocks 11-8 11-5 8-11 11-7
Zac Alexander vs Mike Corren 11-8 11-8 8-11 11-9
Paul Coll vs Joshua Masters 11-13 11-4 12-10 11-6
Matthew Hopkins vs Greg Lobban 4-11 7-11 5-11
Nasir Iqbal vs Valentino Bon Jovi Bong 11-5 11-7 11-8
Farhan Zaman vs Douglas Kempsell 11-7 4-11 11-8 11-6
Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu vs Joshua Larkin 11-8 6-11 11-3 11-9
Chris van der Salm vs Nafiizwan Adnan 7-11 11-8 6-11 8-11

Qualifying finals:
Robert Downer (ENG) bt Thomas Calvert (AUS) 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 (31m)
Chris van der Salm (NZL) bt Darcy Evans (AUS) 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (45m)
Joshua Masters (ENG) bt Manuel Wanner (SUI) 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
Mike Corren (AUS) bt Ben Grindrod (NZL) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (31m)
Kush Kumar (IND) bt Martin Svec (CZE) 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (36m)
Sean Conroy (IRL) bt Lewis Doughty (ENG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (31m)
Rhys Dowling (AUS) bt Alex Noakes (ENG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (28m)
Kashif Shuja (NZL) bt Adrian Ostbye (NOR) 11-5, 13-11, 11-7 (30m)

1st qualifying round:
Robert Downer (ENG) bt Omar Bahgat (EGY) 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-3 (54m)
Thomas Calvert (AUS) bt Tyler Hawkins (AUS) 11-4, 11-1, 11-1 (17m)
Darcy Evans (AUS) bt Daniel Wright (AUS) 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (40m)
Chris van der Salm (NZL) bt Courtney West (AUS) 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 (32m)
Manuel Wanner (SUI) bt Connor Sheen (ENG) 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (28m)
Joshua Masters (ENG) bt Ondrej Uherka (CZE) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (32m)
Mike Corren (AUS) bt Steven Liu (MAC) 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (19m)
Ben Grindrod (NZL) bt Mithran Selvaratnam (MAS) 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7 (55m)
Kush Kumar (IND) bt Jason Holmes (AUS) 11-4, 11-2, 11-7 (19m)
Martin Svec (CZE) bt Alex Eustace (AUS) 11-4, 11-1, 11-6 (21m)
Lewis Doughty (ENG) bt Matt Bridle (AUS) 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (25m)
Sean Conroy (IRL) bt Jesse Keegan (AUS) 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (20m)
Rhys Dowling (AUS) bt TJ French (AUS) 11-5, 11-2, 11-5 (21m)
Alex Noakes (ENG) bt Joel Luca (AUS) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (26m)
Adrian Ostbye (NOR) bt Rohan Toole (AUS) 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 (63m)
Kashif Shuja (NZL) bt Caillin Austin (AUS) 12-10, 14-12, 11-5 (24m) 

Pictures from Squash Australia 

 

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