Stay tuned for daily updates on the 2016 Australian Open…
In the meantime, see below for last year’s Australian Open updates!
Kiwis steal the show on Finals Day (10/8/2015)
Unseeded Paul Coll has caused a massive upset by beating top seeded Australian and training partner, Cameron Pilley, as New Zealand stole the show on finals day at the Australian Squash Open in Melbourne.
Coll and former world number four, Joelle King, made it a winning double for New Zealand, with second seed King also upsetting the top seed, Hong Kong’s Annie Au, in the women’s final, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9. So convinced was 23-year-old Coll that he couldn’t win the Australian Open, he booked a flight back to New Zealand for Saturday afternoon.
His 11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5 victory is also the first time a New Zealander has won the Australian men’s title.
“I never even imagined being here,” Coll said. “There was massive butterflies before I even started, as soon as I walked in here I saw the crowd, I knew it was something special. “But I had nothing to lose, my coach just told me to relax, I’d already done well, so I played with a bit of freedom tonight.”
Pilley, who lost his only other Australian Open final in five games, recently invited Coll to train with him in The Netherlands. Coll said he hopes the training relationship will continue. “He’s a great guy, and we have some great training sessions together,” Coll said. “We get on well, I hope he keeps on with me, he’s a really experienced player and I can still learn a hell of a lot from him.”
It was an emotional Joelle King who claimed the women’s title, in just her second tournament back after a serious Achilles injury. “As soon as I finished the match I got quite emotional,” King said. “You just remember all the work you’ve done leading up to that moment. It’s been a long ride.”
King is setting her sights on climbing back up the world rankings, after slipping into the 50’s since her injury.
She believes her win in Melbourne shows getting back to number four is achievable. “Definitely, there’s no reason why not,” she said. “Anything is possible, especially when I think back to where I was eight or nine months ago, and where I am now. “I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement, I’m still not exactly where I want to be – so look out top ten!”
Pilley into Final (9/8/2015)
Australia’s Cameron Pilley will take on his New Zealand training partner, Paul Coll, in Sunday’s final of the Australian Open squash in Melbourne. Pilley beat fellow Australian, Ryan Cuskelly, over five sets 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, to move into Sunday’s final. “He beat me in the nationals in December, and I knew if he played that well again today he’d beat me again,” Pilley said. “I had to limit his options. There were patches where I restricted him to nothing, and other times he was too good for me.”
An Australian has not won an Open title since Stewart Boswell’s victory in 2009, but Pilley is looking forward to the challenge. “It would be pretty special with the return of the Australian Open to have an Australian win it,” Pilley said. “I went pretty close before, losing the fifth set to Stewart Boswell 11-9, so hopefully tomorrow will be different. “It will be a little weird playing Paul, given we train together so much.”
Paul Coll came into the Australian Open unseeded, but has claimed several big scalps on his way to the final, including the fourth, fifth and seventh seeds. He beat Pakistan fifth seed, Nasir Iqbal, 7-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, and credited much of his improvement in form to training in The Netherlands with Cameron Pilley. “Words can’t describe how happy I am now,” he said. “I didn’t even think I could do it, I’ve had to change my flight home because I’m supposed to be leaving in an hour from now. “I train a lot with Pilley, but I wouldn’t say I know his game because he’s pretty tricky. And I played Ryan last week – I just know it’s going to be tough.”
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.”
Aussies Closer to Title (8/8/2015)
Ten years after winning her only Australian Open squash title, evergreen Rachael Grinham is just one win away from playing in another final.
38-year-old Grinham could not have been more impressive in beating seventh seed Joey Chan, of Hong Kong, in straight games 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre. The tournament third seed will now play another Hong Kong player, to seed Annie Au, in Saturday’s semi-final.
In the men’s draw, Australia is guaranteed a player in Sunday’s final with top seed Cameron Pilley and third seed Ryan Cuskelly to face off in one of Saturday’s semi-finals.
Grinham said she didn’t expect to get this far in the tournament. “I’ve had a few issues in the months leading up to this, so on a personal level I came here not having any expectations how I was going to play,” she said. “But I’ve managed to pick up my form a bit, I’ve been getting a bit more confidence.
“To be fair this wasn’t one of Joey’s better days. I’m not the fittest, I haven’t plated that many matches, I had to take every opportunity that was there.”
Both Cuskelly and Pilley are chasing their first ever Australian titles, with Pilley beating fellow Australian Rex Hedrick 5-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 in the quarter finals. And Cuskelly had to see off determined fellow Australian, Steve Finitsis, who had his third consecutive five-game marathon at the Open. 28-year-old Cuskelly eventually triumphed 11-7, 10-12, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6.
“That was my first five game match for two weeks, so it was pretty tough,” Cuskelly said. “He played really well and attacked, and I was a bit defensive tonight. I have to work on that for the next round, because I want to be aggressive but I was a bit defensive, so lesson learned. “I won the first a little easier so I thought he might slow down, but he came out firing.”
In Saturday’s other semi-finals, two New Zealanders will have a chance to make Sunday’s finals. Former world number four Joelle King will continue her comeback from serious injury when she takes on Malaysia’s Delia Arnold.
King beat Australia’s Donna Urquhart in four games to make the semi, while in the men’s draw fellow New Zealander Paul Coll will take on Pakistani fifth seed, Nasir Iqbal. Coll is the only unseeded player left in both the men’s and women’s draw of the tournament.
Gritty Grinham through to Quarters (7/8/2015)
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 quarterfinals, 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.”
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 has had two five-set matches in a row to make day three, the latest against Indian sixth seed Mahesh Mangaonkar 7-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7. “I’m happy to get another win, especially after being two-love down,” Finitsis said. “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.”
Top Class Squash on Opening Day of Australian Open (6/8/2015)
Australian squash fans have waited three years for their premier 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.“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.”
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, 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.”
There was also a straight sets 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. “They’re 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.”
Melbourne’s Sarah Cardwell was a first round casualty losing in 61 minutes to South African Alexandra Fuller 3-2.
Less than one month to go (6/7/2015)
Interview with Squash & Racquetball Victoria’s CEO, Fiona Young on how preparations are going for the 2015 Australian Open..
Player Interview – Paul Coll (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Evan Williams (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Megan Craig (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Sarah Cardwell (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Greg Lobban (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Rachael Grinham (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Line Hanson (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Donna Urquhart (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Sachika Ingale (6/7/2015)
Player Interview – Siyoli Waters (6/7/2015)
Craig Warms Up Nicely for Australian Open (15/6/2015)
Annie Gets Her Home Run (31/5/2015)
Joelle on Comeback Trail (1/5/15)