Grinham and Dowling take the titles in Bega
We were treated to two very exciting matches with contrasting results on finals day at the 2020 Volkswagen Australian Open in Bega, NSW, Australia.
Rhys Dowling continued his solid run through the event to claim his first Australian Open and only his second PSA title, while former world number one Rachael Grinham battled through five games to claim her third Australian Open title.
Dowling took on fellow Northern Territorian Joseph White in a first Australian Open final for both men. Dowling took a head-to-head advantage into the final having never lost to his younger opponent and after a nervous start he looked to keep that record as he ran away with the first game. It was a similar story in the second and third games as White made a few errors from good positions and Dowling showed a bit more severity in his shots, finishing off the match strongly in straight games.
Top seed Rachael Grinham raced out to an early 9-4 lead in the first game of the Women’s final against fellow Queenslander Jessica Turnbull.
The world number 66 Turnbull was determined to fight her way into the match and she did so leveling it back up at 9-9. From there they traded game balls back and forth before Grinham eventually claimed a tense first game 15-13. The second was a similar story with Grinham building a 7-2 lead only to win it 11-9 in the end.
The third and fourth games had a different feel about them as Turnbull improved her accuracy to control the T and force the match to a fifth game. Grinham’s experience really showed in the fifth game and ultimately made the difference throughout the match as she played the crucial points well to claim her third Australian Open title 16 years after her first.
Semis : Jordan Till reports
We saw our first five game match of the tournament when  Joseph White and  Thomas Calvert took to the court. Calvert started very strongly playing his very best to claim the first game and open up a lead in the second before his opponent started to find his way into the match.
Ultimately, the lead was enough for the 3rd seed to take a very close second game but it seemed the momentum had shifted. White capitalised on this shift in the third and went on to run away with the last three games completing an impressive comeback from 2-0 down to win in 5 games 6-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (58m).
White will now meet  Rhys Dowling in what is a first Australian Open final for both men and an historic Northern Territory match up with both players growing up in Darwin.
Dowling caused an upset in his semi-final defeating the in-form  Nicholas Calvert in straight games. Dowling held an advantage throughout the first two games but it was a slightly different story in the third. A mixture of some long rallies, a few good winners from Calvert, and a few errors from Dowling led to the 2nd seed having game balls at 10-8. However, Dowling showed he was eager to finish the match hitting 3 winners in the next 4 rallies to claim an impressive victory 11-7, 11-7, 12-10 (39m).
The only previous winner of this event,  Rachael Grinham (in 2017) showed her class when she took on  Selena Shaikh in the first Women’s semi-final. Grinham was on top from the start using her variety of shots to outsmart her younger opponent and she never let up winning in straight games 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (20).
The second Women’s semi-final was billed as being a cracker of a match up with both  Jessica Turnbull and  Sarah Cardwell bringing good form and a history of close matches between them. On this occasion however, Queenslander Turnbull meant business and showed that from the outset.
The score line perhaps didn’t reflect some of the great rallies between these two but ultimately it was Turnbull’s day as she finished the match in straight games with a very impressive performance 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 (28m) earning a maiden Australian Open final berth in the process.
Watch the semis …
Quarter-Finals : Jordan Till reports
Day two of the 2020 Volkswagen Australian Open provided some exciting quarter final match ups in both the Men’s and Women’s draws at the Bega Squash Club in Bega, New South Wales, Australia.
The two unseeded players who provided upsets in round one showed that they deserved their respective places in the quarter finals as they really tested their higher seeded opponents, but ultimately it was a day for the seeds as the top four seeds in both draws made their way through to the semi finals.
The round one surprise in the Men’s draw 41 year old Peter Vaughan pushed  Thomas Calvert to four games but Calvert was too good in the end winning 11-6, 3-11, 11-2, 11-6 (40m). With that win Calvert has earned himself a semi final match up with the top seed Joseph White who again won through in straight games 11-6, 11-3, 2-0 ret. (22m).
Meanwhile in the Women’s draw unseeded Hannelize Human took the first game off  Selena Shaikh before the Victorian eventually finished off a very close second game and fought her way through to win 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7 (34m). Shaikh will now play top seed Rachael Grinham who survived a close first game to defeat 6th seed Jessica Osborne in straight games 12-10, 11-5, 11-5 (22m).
In their first meeting on the PSA tour  Rhys Dowling and  Rohan Toole had an up and down affair exchanging one sided games until Dowling eventually finished it off in four games 11-2, 5-11, 11-2, 11-5 (31m).
He will now meet  Nicholas Calvert in the semi finals who again overcame  Solayman Nowrozi 3-0 in a repeat result from the Gold Coast PSA Satellite semi final last month 11-9, 11-1, 14-12 (56m).
Probably the most anticipated match of the night was the last to start between  Sarah Cardwell and  Tamika Hunt. The pair met in the final of the Sandgate PSA Women’s Open exactly two weeks ago where Hunt claimed her first PSA title since 2017.
This rematch certainly didn’t disappoint as Cardwell took the first game before Hunt hit back to level it at 1-1.
The third and fourth games couldn’t have been any tighter but it was Cardwell who managed to reverse the result from two weeks ago, booking her place in the semi final 11-7, 7-11, 13-11, 13-11 (45m).
Cardwell will meet  Jessica Turnbull in the semi final after she maintained her unbeaten record over  Alex Haydon with another 3-0 win 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (24m).
Day ONE : Jordan Till reports
The 2020 Australian Open got underway today at the Bega Squash Centre in Bega, New South Wales, Australia. The event that was due to be held in August 2020 was postponed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a PSA Challenger Tour 10 event giving our PSA players a fantastic opportunity to get back on court, into tournaments and earning points to better their rankings.
Remashree Muniandy took on the winner of the recent Sandgate PSA Women’s event  Tamika Hunt. Muniandy put the pace on early to have game ball in the first but Hunt ended up proving too strong for her opponent, finishing it straight games 12-10, 11-4, 11-6 (23 mins). Hunt will go on to play  Sarah Cardwell for the third time in as many tournaments. The head-to-head record this year is 1-1. Solayman Nowrozi put Robert Palmer through his paces when the pair met to make it through to the next round. The rallies were long and brutal but it was Nowrozi who came out on top 11-3 11-5 11-4 (29mins). Nowrozi will go onto play  Nicholas Calvert in the quarter finals.
A first round upset occurred when Peter Vaughan took on fellow Victorian  Benjamin Ratcliffe. Vaughan got off to a fine start but his younger opponent worked hard to pull it back. In the end Vaughan finished on top in the longest match of the night 11-4, 11-8, 12-10 (31 mins). Vaughan will go on to play  Thomas Calvert.
Hannelize Human defeated  Kate Winters in a hard fought 3 games. Winters started the match strong, but it was Human who played the big points well to edge the first game. The more experienced Human continued the momentum through the next two games to take the match 11-9 11-5 11-6 (21 mins).