Hong Kong lose to Kuwait in opening match of Asian Team Championships
Hosts have setback in tough pool D tie, meaning a likely clash with powerful Malaysia in quarter-finals
Hong Kong's men left themselves a difficult task after losing 2-1 to Kuwait in their opening match at the Asian Team Championships yesterday.
They play Taiwan and China in their two remaining matches in pool D on Thursday at the Hong Kong Squash Centre, both of which they are likely to win.
But this would still see them probably finish behind the Kuwaitis and qualify as the second team into the quarter-finals where they expect to meet powerful Malaysia.
"It will be tough against the Malaysians but it doesn't mean we have no chance at all," said Max Lee Ho-yin, the Hong Kong number one who lost in the deciding match to Abdullah al-Muzayen in five games.
"I need to recover well in the next two days before we start in the last eight and, hopefully, we can have a good match."
Against Muzayen, the individual silver medallist at the last Asian Championships, Lee gave his best on court, but still fell short after a gruelling 76-minute match, losing 11-13, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7.
Yip Tsz-fung was beaten by Ali Alramezi 3-0 (12-10, 15-13, 11-3) in the opening tie before Leo Au Chun-ming levelled the overall score with a 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-8) win over Ammar Altamimi.
"Yip still needs more international exposure and should have done better in the opening match," said head coach Tony Choi Yuk-kwan.
In the women's event, Hong Kong beat Pakistan and China, both 3-0. Today they take on group favourites and defending champions India for top place in pool B.
"We are definitely the underdogs as we are missing our top player Annie Au Wing-chi, who is injured," said Choi.
"On the positive side, we now have nothing to lose against the Indians and it will be a good test for the girls."
In pool A, favourites Malaysia cruised to a 3-0 win over South Korea. World number one Nicol David was in searing form with her effortless 11-5, 11-4, 11-1 win over Song Sun-mi, while their number two player Low Wee Wern also saw off Park Eun-ok 11-9, 11-7, 11-3.