Annie Au reaches final of Cleveland Classic
Hongkonger takes on world No 1 Nicol David
Annie Au Wing-chi continued her promising start to 2014 after reaching the final of the Tub O’Towels Cleveland Classic in the United States.
A qualifier in the Women’s Squash Association Gold 50 tournament featuring the world’s best players, Au made all the way through after upsetting three top English players. She takes on world number one Nicol David of Malaysia in the final.
“The battle against David will be very tough but the result is not the most important,” said head coach Tony Choi Yuk-kwan. “This is her third tournament in a row in America and Au has proved she has regained the confidence that once pushed her to world number six.
“This is an encouraging sign and we hope she can capitalise on the opportunity as 2014 is an important year for us with the Asian Games in Incheon our top target.”
The 24-year-old beat world number seven Jenny Duncalf in three games in the opening round of the US$50,000 tournament and continued her giant-killing exploits by downing Laura Massaro, the world number two, also in three games.
This morning (Hong Kong time), she fought back from 2-1 down to beat world number four Alison Waters in the semi-finals in a gruelling five-game battle, including a closely contested rubber game when she won 12-10.
Au suffered a disappointing 2013 as her world ranking dropped to number 16 from her career high of sixth the year before.
But at the year-end Hong Kong Open she showed glimpses of her old form, making it to the last four in front of her home fans before losing to third seed Raneem El Weleily of Egypt.
After an extensive winter training camp, she set off for the United States where she made it to the main draw of the Tournament of Champions in New York, going through the qualifying rounds but losing to world number one David in the opening stage.
Last week, she reached the semi-finals in the Greenwich Open where she lost to another Malaysian star, Low Wee-wern, after five tough games.