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Pilley eyes Australian Open squash title
11:31 AEST Mon Aug 6 2012
Cameron Pilley
Cameron Pilley is eyeing up his first Australian Open squash title after twice finishing second.

Two-time runner-up Cameron Pilley is full of confidence heading into next week's Australian Open squash championships in Canberra.

Pilley has been training the house down during an off-season spent at his European base at The Hague in the Netherlands.

The 29-year-old has been working alongside Dutch No.1 LJ Anjema and fellow Australian Steve Finitsis and said he was feeling in top shape ahead of his national championship.

"I had a great off-season of training and I will have had two weeks in Australia sharpening up before Canberra," he said.

Pilley had possibly the most disappointing 12 months of his career last season as a combination of bad draws and poor results resulted in a fall of six places on the world rankings to No.20.

"I had a look at my past seasons and, you know, I hadn't really had a bad season in my whole career, so last year was my worst results-wise," he said.

"I drew the short straw with the draw in quite a few tournaments, which was very annoying, but there were a couple of other losses that I wasn't really happy with."

Pilley will meet a qualifier in the first round in Canberra and then might have to play a trio of Egyptians, Omar Abdel Aziz, third seed Omar Mosaad and top seed Ramy Ashour, if he wants to make a third Australian Open final.

"I don't mind playing Egyptians - I have a decent record against them," he said.

"If it goes according to seedings, Omar Mosaad in the quarter-finals will be my big match as he's third seed and I'm fifth seed.

"But it's the first tournament of the season for a lot of the guys and some will be ironing the wrinkles out.

"I generally play well in the first tournament, but there are some players who play great practice matches in training but find their first competitive match a different kettle of fish.

"It should be an interesting tournament."

The Australian Open begins on the all-glass court at Canberra's Royal Theatre next Monday.