By ADAM CARROLL
FORMER Yamba squash star Cameron Pilley is developing a soft spot for Canada.
Pilley improved his world ranking from 40 to 35 this week after clinching the $12,000 Manitoba Open Squash Championship in Winnipeg, Canada. It was Pilley's second tournament victory in Canada ? he won the Talisman Energy Bankers Hall Pro Am in Calgary last year ? and was his eighth PSA Tour title. It was his biggest career title to date.
"He likes Canada," Pilley's mother, Sue, joked yesterday.
"He rang yesterday, it was so good to hear his voice. It had been nearly a month since we had heard from him.
"He sounded really happy and well. He just sounded great and was so happy with the result."
Pilley, the No.2 seed, defeated Canadian and No.4 seed Matthew Giuffr in the final 11-5 11-9 9-11 11-6 in 70 minutes. Pilley only dropped one game in the tournament.
The reigning New South Wales Open champion began his overseas tour last month.
He qualified for two tournaments in the United States ? the Windy City Open in Chicago and a tournament in Ohio.
"He came up against former world No.1s in both tournaments," Sue said.
"He said it is another step up all together.
"He really enjoyed it, it was a great experience."
Pilley left Canada for New York yesterday in a bid to qualify for next week's Tournament of Champions.
After New York the 22-year-old will head to England to contest tournaments in Europe before returning to the Australian Institute of Sport in Brisbane next month. He was ranked six in Australia as of January 1.