Steve Jancetic / AAP News
The Commonwealth Games debutant has made a winning start to her Birmingham campaign.
Australian squash player Jess Turnbull travelled halfway around the world to make her Commonwealth Games debut with a win over a Maltese opponent she plays against most weeks.
Turnbull opened her Birmingham Games account with a 3-1 round of 32 women’s singles win over Brisbane-based Colette Sultana, who is representing Malta, to continue Australia’s impressive start to the competition.
But it was an early exit for Australian flag-bearer Rachael Grinham, who went down to fellow Aussie Donna Lobban, leaving Australia with two representatives in the last 16 of the women’s singles.
“I’m stoked for it to be my first Games and to get on there and get a win,” said Turnbull, who followed through on her pre-Games vow to take the court with her hair dyed green and gold.
“I was a bit shaky, so the competitive side of me is not 100 per cent happy, but the emotional side couldn’t be happier to get a win on the board.”
Turnbull started impressively to take the firs t game 11-4, but dropped the second after failing to recover from an early 0-6 hole.
The third and fourth games were tight affairs, Sultana getting within a couple of points late in each game before Turnbull closed out the win.
“It was tricky. She lives and plays in Brisbane, we’re very familiar, not only do we play in tournaments, we play in our weekly competition quite regularly,” Turnbull said.
“We know each other’s games really well, so she’s really hard to play.”
It will be the opposite in her round of 16 match against local hope Lucy Turmel, someone she has never played against.
In the men’s singles, Australian Rhys Dowling couldn’t back up his first up win, going down to Malaysia’s world No.54 Chee Wern Yuen 3-1.
But the Aussie was far from disgraced.
After losing the first game 11-9, Dowling took the second by the same margin, but he couldn’t maintain the rage to bow out in the round of 32 match.
Grinham, at the tail-end of an illustrious career, claimed the opening game in the all -Australian round of 64 clash, but Lobban – the world No.32 from Yamba – came home strong to take the next three games.
Lobban will play the winner of the match between Emily Whitlock and Anahat Singh in the last 16.