Egypt's Raneem El Weleily ends Annie Au's strong Hong Kong Open run
Local No 1 fails to reach final again as star Nicol David makes no mistake
Annie Au Wing-chi's impressive run in the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open ended on Saturday when she lost to Raneem El Weleily of Egypt in the semi-finals.
Playing in the glass court at the Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui, the home favourite was no match for the speedy Egyptian, who scored a quick-fire 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 victory in a mere 26 minutes.
"It's not as bad as the score suggests, but Annie definitely did not play as well as she did in the quarter-finals," El Weleily, the third seed, said.
"She seemed to be very tired and could not play her best game."
But Au admitted El Weleily was a class apart as the Egyptian took the initiative from the start. "She is a very aggressive player and I think I was a bit slow in responding to her attacking style," said Au. "She usually makes a lot of mistakes when she is attacking but it was not the case today.
"This is a good lesson as I have to learn how to handle these types of attacking players, never allow them to control the pace too easily."
Au, though, was satisfied with reaching the semi-finals after defeating second seed Laura Massaro a day earlier. She now hopes to return to the top 10 in the world rankings.
"It is a wonderful way to end 2013. I can now look forward with confidence to the new year and especially the Asian Games in Incheon," said Au, who's world ranking has dropped from a career high of sixth last year to the current 16th.
Top seed Nicol David, meanwhile, had to dig deep to reach her ninth consecutive final in Hong Kong.
The Malaysian had to come back from a game down before beating fourth seed Alison Waters, of England, 9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-7 in an hour-long battle.
David, who saved two game points in the second game before taking it on deuce, now faces El Weleily in a repeat of the 2011 final, which the world No 1 won easily.
In the men's event, Borja Golan of Spain, who beat top seed Ramy Ashour in the last eight, defeated third seed James Willstrop 3-0 to reach the final. He will meet fourth seed Nick Matthew of England, who defeated second seed Frenchman Gregory Gaultier 11-13, 11-4, 11-4, 8-11, 11-3 in an 87-minute tussle.