Sport

Squash pin-up makes her point

Australia's Donna Urquhart is proving her talent with the racquet is more than a match for her stunning beauty.

The 25-year-old pin-up girl of world squash stormed into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Canberra yesterday after disposing of former World No.1 Rachael Grinham.

Donna Urquhart plays a shot during her match against Rachael Grinham.
Donna Urquhart plays a shot during her match against Rachael Grinham. Photo: Colleen Petch

Urquhart admitted she was worried about her squash ability being overlooked after posing in a bikini for Alpha magazine in 2009.

''I didn't think it would kinda go viral as it did,'' she said.

A shot of Donna Urquhart from Alpha magazine.
A shot of Donna Urquhart from Alpha magazine. 

''I have always - first and foremost - wanted to be known for my squash.

''Doing that was a way to put squash in the public eye and get people interested in the sport.''

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The world No.18 believes the media attention caused her to be seen in a different light.

''Personally, I felt like, 'Oh, that's what people know me for now','' she said.

''It wasn't disappointing but I have worked to improve my ranking so people realise that I'm a good squash player, too.''

With six WSA titles to her name already, Urquhart is only just hitting career-best form which could spell danger for the other players on tour.

''I think I am playing at my peak. I'm starting to really put my game together under my new coach [Anthony Ricketts] and it's coming into practice on court,'' she said.

Urquhart played three dominant games to beat Grinham 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4. The Brisbane-based AIS athlete hit some masterful strokes and at 174 centimetres tall, used her long arms and legs to handle every shot her opponent fired.

However, Urquhart is not talking up her chances of taking out a maiden Australian Open despite beating one of the tournament favourites.

''I know Rach well, she's my training partner and she's an inspiration to me,'' she said.

''[The first two games were] a little bit quick. I couldn't believe it was happening like that.

''I felt in control and I was in front just by volleying and getting up high on the T.

''She made a few errors as well, but I think I was making it hard for her because I was in front on the court.

''But I was surprised to find myself two-love up - I've never even got more than one game off her in a tournament match. Tomorrow is another day and I have to play a different girl who has a different style.

''It would be a dream come true to take it out, you have no idea.''

Urquhart will meet England's world No.4 Laura Massaro the National Convention Centre at 2.45pm tomorrow for a place in tomorrow's semi-finals.

In other matches, 10th-seeded Australian Kasey Brown came from a game down to defeat Kiwi world No.9 Joelle King. American world No.26 Amanda Sobhy is also through to the quarter-finals after upsetting English third seed Jenny Duncalf.

She will play Indian Dipika Pallikal, who beat Frenchwoman Camille Serme.

Reigning champion and world No.1 Nicol David crushed fellow Malaysian Low Wee Wern 11-4, 11-1, 11-6 to advance. Ireland's Madeline Perry, the 2010 champion, also progressed with an 11-8, 13-11, 11-2 victory over England's Emma Beddoes.