Friday, July 19, 2024

Rachael and Donna fly the flag for Aussie girls in Melbourne

Rachale Grinham reaches the quarter-finals of the Australian Open
Rachael Grinham reaches the quarter-finals of the Australian Open

Finitsis fights back from two games down to reach last eight with Pilley and Cuskelly
By ROSS SOLLY – Squash Mad Reporter in Melbourne


It took her five gruelling matches, but Australia’s Rachael Grinham is into the quarter finals of the Australian Open Squash in Melbourne.

Also through is Australia’s second-ranked female, Donna Urquhart, who will take on former world number four, Joelle King of New Zealand, in Friday’s quarter finals.

Four Australian men are through to the quarter-finals, headed by top seed Cameron Pilley and third seed, Ryan Cuskelly.

Grinham, seeded third in Melbourne, had to dig deep to beat South Africa’s Siyoli Waters 11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, as Siyoli is a form player at the moment,” Grinham said.

“I’ve been looking forward to it, hanging around for a week waiting to play. Win or lose I would have enjoyed it, but obviously I’m happy to have won it.”

Donna Urquhart has looked in good form over the open two rounds with two 3-0 wins, the latest against fellow Australian and Commonwealth Games doubles partner, Lisa Camilleri.

Urquhart will next take on second seed, Joelle King, who is playing her second tournament since a major Achilles injury.

“I feel like Lisa maybe let me off with a few unforced errors today,” Urquhart said.

“Joelle has been as high as number four in the world, and I still regard her as a top class player. I go out there tomorrow expecting that from her and nothing less.”

Joelle King (right) in action against Christine Nunn
Joelle King (right) in action against Christine Nunn


Also through to the quarter finals is tournament top seed, Annie Au of Hong Kong, and fourth seed Delia Arnold, of Malaysia.

In the men’s draw Pilley, Cuskelly, Rex Hedrick and Steve Finitsis are the Australians through to the quarters.

Second seed Nafizwan Adnan had to survive a five-set thriller against India’s Harinder Sandhu, with Hong Kong’s Leo Au and Nasir Iqbal also needing five sets to make the quarters.

Finitsis fought back from two games down to beat India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.The 32-year-old Finitsis, who has recently slipped to 80 in the world, produced a stunning recovery to beat India’s No.6 seed 7-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7.

Finitsis has had two five-set matches in a row to make day three, and he said: “I’m happy to get another win, especially after being two-love down.

“I just tried to fire myself up and be more aggressive. I won the third and then just had to hang in there. I guess I was lucky to get through.”


ROUND 2; MEN – Rex Hedrick [8] (AUS) def Evan Williams (NZL) 8-11 11-7 11-6 11-1; Nasir Iqbal [5] (PAK) def Farhan Zaman (PAK) 11-6 8-11 11-4 4-11 11-8; Steve Finitsis (AUS) def Mahesh Mangaonkar [6] (IND) 7-11 4-11 11-9 11-9 11-7; Paul Coll (NZL) def Greg Lobban [7] (SCO) 11-7 11-6 11-7; Cameron Pilley [1] (AUS) def Sanjay Singh Chal (MAS) 12-10 11-8 11-6; Leo Au [4] (HKG) def Zac Alexander (AUS) 7-11 11-3 5-11 11-9 11-1; Ryan Cuskelly [3] (AUS) def Tayyab Aslam (PAK) 11-9 11-7 11-7; Nafiizwan Adnan [2] (MAS) def Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND) 11-4 7-11 11-4 13-15 11-9.
WOMEN – Donna Urquhart [8] (AUS) def Lisa Camilleri (AUS) 11-8 11-5 11-4; Joelle King [2] (NZL) def Christine Nunn [13] (AUS) 1-11 11-5 11-1 11-1; Annie Au [1] (HKG) def Liu Tsz-Ling [11] (HKG) 11-7 11-6 11-6; Delia Arnold [4] (MAS) def Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 11-7 11-5 11-5; Rachael Grinham [3] (AUS) def Siyoli Waters [9] (RSA) 11-3 7-11 11-8 8-11 11-8; Line Hansen [5] (DEN) def Amanda Landers-Murphy [10] (NZL) 11-13 11-9 11-9 13-11; Joey Chan (HKG) def Rachel Arnold (MAS) 13-11 11-7 11-7; Joshana Chinappa [6] (IND) def Megan Craig [12](NZL) 5-11 11-6 11-6 11-8.


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